Psalm 94:12 “Blessed is the man that you chastise and instruct from your law O Lord”
Have you ever felt beat up by the Word of God? I have. Should I have? Although it is not the heart of desire of God in any way, I think that it’s inevitable that we will sometimes feel beat up by the Word. That is not God’s doing. It is not His will. It has to do with our level of maturity and our fear or approach to discipline.
I have always thought that God’s sense of humor was revealed in the verse Proverbs 23:13 “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.”
When I read this verse it reminds me of when my children were little and I would have to discipline them. I would be calm. I had a plan to take them into our bedroom for a time out, a talk, and possibly discipline in some form. I would gently and lovingly instruct them in right and wrong behavior. “The rod” is words of chastisement more than it’s a tool for physical discipline. They would on some occasions get an appropriate spanking, but words usually took care of it. We’d then talk and finish with “big hugs” and a fresh start. It was usually a very positive experience but – leading up to that moment, you would have thought they were going to die by their pleading not to be disciplined.
God’s method of disciplining us is through His Word. Since He is a Spirit and we must worship Him in Spirit and in truth, He speaks to us through His Word. Because we are physically adults and He leads us by His Spirit, God will lead us to His Word to speak to us. Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” God will not force us to do anything. If we refuse to let God speak to, correct, instruct, and discipline us through the Word, that’s our choice and frankly – our loss. But we will miss out on the very thing that helps us transform into His image and produce better fruit within our lives. But, His intent is not to hurt us or condemn us or make us feel guilty. His Word is to cleanse us, wash us, bring forgiveness and help us live out lives that represent the Christ life. As you grow and mature, you can move from the place where you feel condemned by it even though He is not condemning you, to a place where you embrace God’s correction knowing that it is refining you into a better person. God calls His words of chastisement and discipline words of exhortation!
Hebrews 12:5-6 “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “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.”
Sometimes when we hear the word chastening, we think of a spanking or beating. This has wrongly been interpreted over the years by many religions teachers as “God makes bad things happen to us as a form of chastening when we sin and do bad things.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. God sees you as washed in the blood of Jesus. He sees you as spotless. He loves you and wants to help you. Your sins have been forgiven. He wants to help you.
The Greek definition of the words rebuke and chastening imply “to point on what is false or untrue with the intent to correct.” It also means to “prick your heart showing you are wrong with the intention of helping you get it right.” Chastening helps us recognize and learn godly behavior from ungodly behavior and teaches and instructs us how to walk godly. Even if we fail over and over – which we do, God’s grace will be there to help us work to get it right. God isn’t interested in beating us up nor is He trying to lay guilt trips on us. He is interested in helping us learn how to cooperate with His will because that cooperation transforms us and helps draw the very blessing Jesus provided into our lives.
I remember when I was a three month old Christian. I had given my life to the Lord but knew little to nothing about the Bible. I had many behaviors that were absolutely wrong according to God’s Word. The problem was, I didn’t know God’s Word. As I was sitting in church one Sunday, the Pastor was preaching a sermon taking us through the Word that touched on all these behaviors. It convicted my heart. I learned right there and then what I should change. The Word of God chastened me. I was happy to make the changes. Some came easily and some I had to work harder at. God wasn’t made at me. He just wanted to help me. A short time after that, a guy at work said, “Hey Burt, How come I never hear you swear anymore or see you drink anymore? You used to swear and get drunk all the time. What’s going on with you?
I had changed. Some weren’t comfortable with it and others – especially my bosses liked it. I suddenly began to be looked at for promotion in my job. Chastening hurt when I first realized that I had sinful or negative behaviors, but over the years, I have grown to appreciate God’s Word showing me His better way! As today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “Blessed is the man that you chastise and instruct from your law O Lord.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.