“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it”
(Hebrews 12:10, 11 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Today is probably not going to be one of your favorite devotions. It most likely will not be one you print out and stick on the refrigerator, but let’s tackle it together anyway.
Why do bad things happen? There is no easy answer. Is it God’s discipline, the devil’s deception? Or the result of living in a degenerate fallen world? Each one of these is a viable option. Today we’re going to look at the one that makes us cringe…but remember, we’re girlfriends and we can tackle the tough questions together.
King David experienced God’s discipline when he disobeyed God and counted his fighting men when he knew it was not something that he should do (1 Chronicles 21:1). As soon as the last man was numbered, David knew that he had displeased God and asked for forgiveness. God did forgive David, but David also had to suffer the consequences—the discipline of God.
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Take your choice: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the LORD—days of plague in the land with the angel of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel’.” (1 Chronicles 21:11-12).
This reminds me of the time my son was about ten years old and got caught for telling a fib. My husband gave him two choices for his punishment.
“OK Steven, you can have seven days without Nintendo and television or five swats with the paddle.”
Steven thought about that for a moment and replied, “Who’s going to give me the swats?”
Incredulous, I looked up and said, “Does it matter?”
My husband burst out laughing and said, “You bet it matters.”
I guess momma had a soft touch when it came to the paddle. (By the way, Steven chose the paddle…administered by dad).
We don’t usually get to choose our discipline with God, but be assured my friend, “whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.”
When Miriam gossiped about her brother Moses, and tried to usurp his authority, God struck her with leprosy and halted the progress of Israel’s journey to the Promised Land for three days (Numbers 12:1-15).
When Saul disobeyed and made himself a priest, God took his kingdom away (1 Samuel 13:13).
When Ananias and Sapphira lied about the amount of offering they had given the church, God struck them dead (Acts 5:1-10).
The writer of Hebrews explains: “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10, 11).
No good parent disciplines a child without explaining why. And so it is with our Heavenly Father. He’s a good parent—the best. He will always make it clear.
Dear Father, I don’t like discipline. I didn’t like it as a kid and I don’t really like it as an adult. However, I do know that just as I disciplined my child because I love him, You discipline me because You love me. Help me to recognize Your discipline when it occurs, receive it with a grateful heart, and change what needs to be changed.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Describe a time when you had to discipline your child. How did you feel?
How do you think God feels when He has to discipline His children?
Let’s share our answers to this one on Facebook. Click over and let’s compare.
When is a time that you have been disciplined by God?
What changes did you make in your life?
More from the Girlfriends
Brand new this year, I have an app available on iTunes called Praying Wives. With this app for Apple devices you’ll get a scripture and a prayer for your husband for 365 days. You’ll be equipped and empowered to begin the daily habit of covering your husband in prayer from head-to-toe each day. These prayers will strengthen your marriage, deepen your personal prayer life, and cover your husband from head to toe—in ways that will lift not only his spirit, but yours as well. Also, check out the book, Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe. He’ll thank you for it!