HOW DOES GOD DISCIPLINE?

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HOW DOES GOD DISCIPLINE?

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12

Discipline is a bitter pill to swallow. No one likes to be disciplined. Especially not by someone who knows you quite like this.

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” Psalm 139:1-4

Yet, everyone accepts that they will be disciplined by God more than they will be blessed by God. When something bad happens, try telling someone that it happened because God is upset with them. You will find that more often than not, they will be more ready to accept your line of reasoning than if you went to them when things were good and told them that that was God blessing them. And if you check the translations of what is most likely to be Paul’s quotation of this verse in Hebrews, it doesn’t help either.

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:5-6

In fact, The Amplified Bible makes God sound like a psychopathic child abuser.

“For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.” Hebrews 12:6 [AMPC]

So right now, cynics and preachers and believers of ‘do good, get good; do bad, get bad’ and rejoicing in unison with the devil in claiming that our Father is nothing more than a glorified bully. Now if that is the case, then how is it possible that we are to

“…not despise or shrink from the chastening of the Lord [His correction by punishment or by subjection to suffering or trial]; neither be weary of or impatient about or loathe or abhor His reproof,” Proverbs 3:11 [AMPC]

How can we not shrink from His chastening and scourging? How can we not be discouraged by His rebuke? Well beloved, this is why.

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]
All the punishment, all the smiting, all the wounds and bruises for our transgressions, guilt and iniquities, all the chastisement for our peace and well-being fell on Jesus. That is why we no longer need to be afraid of our Father’s discipline, we no longer need to shrink from His chastening, we no longer need to fear His correction or punishment by subjection to suffering or trial; because it was all borne by Jesus.

Think of it this way.

Two brothers were playing in their father’s room. While they were horsing around, the younger tipped over and broke their father’s prized Ming vase. Now the father comes in and sees the pieces on the floor. He picks up his cane and duly gives the older a good wallop, even though he knows it was the younger who did it, because he made the older responsible for the younger. Now, as the younger was standing there watching his older brother get punished for what is essentially his sin, do you think he will be perverse enough to do it again, just so that he could get his older brother into trouble?

And so it is for us. When we behold Jesus, and what He went through for us on the cross, bearing all the punishment that was rightfully ours, how can we do anything else but to want to walk on the straight and narrow? How can we do anything else but heed Jesus’ advice on how to live our life in a manner that is pleasing to God?

The Chinese have a saying, ‘kill one to scare a thousand.’ But for our Father, what He did to Jesus was not to scare a thousand into submission; it was to save millions upon millions into eternal life. And that is how our Father disciplines.

Sure, our Father will withhold things from you that will abuse you, even if it looks good to you on the outside. Wouldn’t you do that for you own son? But He will surely not smite you. For why would He? He has already punished all your sins on Jesus, and by so doing,

“…now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,” Ephesians 2:13-14

So that is how our Father punishes all whom He receives, all whom He welcomes to His heart and cherishes, through the redeeming work of Jesus. That is how our Father disciplines.

“For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” John 3:17 [AMPC]

Beloved, remember that through the apostle Paul, our Father left us this advice.

“Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 [AMPC]

So if our Father told you not to do it, will He? Beloved child of God, our Father will not irritate you or provoke you. He will not exasperate you or make you resentful. But He will rear you tenderly, He will nourish you (Ephesians 6:4 [YLT]) and lead you by the hand in the way of the Master (Ephesians 6:4 [MSG]). And never forget, whichever path He leads you,

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 [AMPC]

And along the way,

“He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
He refreshes and restores my life (my self);” Psalm 23:2-3 [AMPC]

And when things go bad,

“Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.” Psalm 23:4-5 [AMPC]

That is why we have the confidence that

“Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.” Psalm 23:6 [AMPC]

For, “The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.” Psalm 23:1 [AMPC]

Beloved, our Father does not guide you in His ways through pain and punishment; all that has been settled in the body of Jesus, once for all. For us who believe, our Father’s discipline is gentle and kind. His rod and His staff are not there to whip you into shape. They are there to comfort and protect you. Ours is a nurturing Father. So do not shrink away from His discipline but rest in His guidance.

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