For many of us, we have been enduring the hardships of social distancing and mandatory self-isolation for several weeks now. We are struggling against loneliness, persevering against boredom, and attempting to quell the growing frustration inside. The verses today talk about discipline, suffering, and correction the Lord ordains for the moral and spiritual nurturing of His children, and that it is always designed for their good. So how then can we look at this unique time in our lives in a favorable light not a negative one? It can start by simply asking God, “What do You want to teach me during this time, and how can I most benefit from it?” The other thing to remember is – don’t despise the Lord’s discipline and don’t resent His correction, (Proverbs 3:11-12) and you will come out on the other side of this as a more positive, hopeful, and encouraged person.
The Writer of this proverb was pretty blunt…if you’re opposed to God’s correction in your life, you’re dumb! We know that God disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12), but until we can realize it’s for our benefit not detriment…we’ll continue to rebel against His correction. Proverbs 9:9 says, ” Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” Greater wisdom and understanding can only be found in the “education” of God’s discipline.
When God disciplines us we have two courses of action. We can either refuse it, thinking it’s only punishment. Or we can accept it, viewing it as positive correction for our good. Jeremiah talked about God disciplining him like an unruly calf, which if you’ve ever worked with livestock…you know what Jeremiah is talking about! You want the herd to follow the safe path, but suddenly they decide they’d rather go the opposite way…straight into danger. They are turning away from what they see as punishment (they’re being told where to go), and not accepting the discipline as what’s best for them. (they are unaware of the peril ahead)
Maybe you were the child that all your parents had to do was look at you sternly and you stopped misbehaving. Or maybe it took much more effort from your parents before it finally sunk in that what you were doing was wrong. Parents correct their children out of the love they have for them, not because they want to be mean, but because they want only the best for them. Our Heavenly Father does the same for us. Deuteronomy 8:5 says, “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.” When we can view difficulties in our life as loving correction from God rather than just punishment…our entire spiritual perspective and faith will be impacted and increased.
The Amplified Bible pens the above Scripture this way, ” If you will turn (repent) and give heed to My reproof, behold, I (Wisdom) will pour out My Spirit upon you. I will make My words known to you.” This admonishment then is two-pronged. First, we must stop and agree with God we’re going down the wrong path. Now our stubborn carnal nature will usually reject this idea at first…that’s because nobody likes to be told they’re wrong! But it’s the second part of this Scripture that’s even more important. For if we do turn back to God, He promises not only a renewed relationship with Him, but an outpouring of His Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding…that we may know Him more intimately.
Accepting or rejecting counsel depends on our mind-set. If we respect and trust the person, we listen…for we know the wise words coming from them may sting, but they are sincerely wanting to only mold us into a better person. But what if that rebuke comes from someone we barely know, will we be as eager to listen? This is why it’s so important to build bridges of trust with someone before you attempt to correct or chasten them. When we know that person has only our best interests at heart…we’ll be more prone to listen and change.
Discipline is earnest correction which leads to education. As parents, we always wish our kids wouldn’t have to learn things the hard way. So training and instruction is for their benefit, not us just trying to be mean. The same goes for our Heavenly Father. We learn much from adversity…we discover just how strong we are, and are able to realize the true depth of God’s love and mercy for us . Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Remember that our loving and ever watchful Heavenly Father is wanting only the best for us when hardships head our way.
I can still remember one of my Nursing Supervisors in college. She would stand outside the patient’s room with you asking a million questions about the procedure you were about to carry out. Did you have everything you needed and were you well versed in what you were about to do. But right before you both walked into the room she’d say, “I will only stop you if you are potentially going to hurt the patient.” It was always said in a quiet, soft voice, but boy did it pack a wallop! Luckily, she never said a word during any of my procedures, and I gained a wealth of knowledge from that uncompromising woman. The Lord is the same way, His discipline is to educate us, not hurt us. It’s only when we reject and turn away from His correction that we suffer.
You love your children don’t you? You want only the best for them, and for them to avoid as many pitfalls and sadness you had to learn the hard way growing up. So why should it be any different with our Heavenly Father? Proverbs 3:12 says, ” The Lord disciplines those He loves.” You are a cherished child of God when He admonishes you over something not right in your life. For He also wants only the best for you. When God shows you something out of kilter…get serious… don’t ignore or get angry at God…admit you need a moral re-orientation of your mind and heart, and repent.
House Rules…if you have children, you probably maintained order under your roof with these. With House Rules in place, you could admonish, educate, and guide your children in the right way…not as a tyrant, but as a loving parent wanting only the best for your kids. Our Heavenly Father wants only the very best for us…and sometimes He needs to use the same tactics. But if we sincerely and seriously undergo a moral reorientation of our soul ,acknowledging the error of our ways…and turn to God – those House Rules will suddenly make total sense.