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The Chastening of the Lord

The Chastening of the Lord

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Published by dlee7067
The Bible teaches that chastens his children. How? Why? How do we know when it is being done? How do we handle it?
The Bible teaches that chastens his children. How? Why? How do we know when it is being done? How do we handle it?

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Published by: dlee7067 on Mar 14, 2009
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05/24/2012

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The Chastening of the Lord
People often have a misconception about God. They cannot imagine that God would ever  bring upon us trials and tribulations, punish us for our sins, or do anything in this life but bring us good, good as we measure it. God is love; God is grace; and, the very idea thatGod would ever send upon us anything but that which is most pleasant is abhorrent totheir way of thinking.There is no doubt that when one looks at the big picture that God only does what is bestfor us for our eternal welfare. Loving parents are like that with their children. All thatthey do in regard to their children is for the child’s welfare. Does that mean, however,that all they do is pleasant from the child’s point of view?How about a child that wants to run into the road and will not listen until you spank him?How about forcing a child to go to school as a youngster when tears and fears abound inhim and it breaks your heart that you cannot allow him to stay home with you? Yes, parents often have to do things with and to their children that are unpleasant to both parent and child.Are we not God’s children? How is it we would think that God would not send us someunpleasantness in our life for our own good in order to correct us and make for us a pleasant and happy future? What if you were to allow that child who does not want to goto school to stay home? The child will be happy for the time being but how about in thefuture?Hebrews 12:5-11 use to be a little hard for me to understand and that is probably truewith most people who read and study the Bible. What is the chastening of the Lord?How does God do that? How can I recognize it when it is occurring? Questions justnaturally come to mind.To refresh your memory of this passage I quote it here:“(5) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, donot despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked byHim; (6) For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom Hereceives.’(7) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son isthere whom a father does not chasten? (8) But if you are without chastening, of which allhave become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (9) Furthermore, we havehad human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much morereadily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (10) For they indeed for a fewdays chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakersof His holiness. (11) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous;nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”There are some points that are readily apparent when one reads the passage despite thequestions.(1)Verse 5 makes it clear that this chastening is a rebuking from God, for we are not to be “discouraged when you are rebuked by Him”.
 
(2)It is something to be endured (verse 7), “If you endure chastening, God deals withyou as with sons”. When one “endures” a thing it generally means the thing beingendured is unpleasant.(3)It is a correction (verse 9), “we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?”(4)It is for our profit (verse 10), “he for our profit” chastens us.(5) It is painful (verse 11), “no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful”.(6)“It yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (verse 11).The question remains as to how God chastens us and why in a more specific sense. I donot claim to have all the answers but I do think the book of Amos sheds some light on thesubject.All students of the Old Testament are aware of how time after time after time God’s people would become unfaithful to Him and how He would punish them. However, wasit just always a matter of punishment for punishment’s sake? No, not always.“Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against thewhole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt” (Amos 3:1). God speaking,obviously, but then note what He says in chapter 4:6, “’Also I gave you cleanness of teethin all your cities, And lack of bread in all your places; Yet you have not returned toMe,’ Says the LORD.”Take a look at another passage, verses 7-8 (same chapter): “’I also withheld rain fromyou, When there were still three months to the harvest. … Yet you have not returned toMe,’ Says the LORD.”Or how about verse 9: “’I blasted you with blight and mildew. When your gardensincreased, Your vineyards, Your fig trees, And your olive trees, The locust devouredthem; Yet you have not returned to Me,’ Says the LORD.”I think the reader will get the idea but if you desire to read more of the same then goahead and read verses 10 and 11.It becomes clear that the purpose of these troubles, trials, and tribulations was in order that the children of Israel (God’s children) repent and return to Him. Why would wethink it strange if God was found to still be working today in the same manner in order toget people to repent - that is through trials, tribulations, and troubles?
 
One could say that was on a national scale in Amos' time and did not involve individualaction. There is truth to that but I doubt the man who lacked bread in his house (verse 6),suffered from drought (verses 7-8), suffered from blight and mildew and locusts (verse9), was thinking much on a national level. His problems were personal - no food, nowater.And, besides, how does a nation repent unless the people who comprise that nation repenton an individual basis? There can be no national repentance without individualsrepenting.There will be in life trials and troubles. No one can say when such occurs that thatspecific instance is God’s chastening. But, it may be. Hebrews 12 teaches beyond doubtthat if you are a child of God you will be chastened. God’s desire is that we are alwaysrepenting of sin in our life and that we are always becoming closer to Him and more andmore what He would have us be.I think Albert Barnes, the commentator, put it best when he made the followingcomments on the Hebrew passages: “And as there is in the life of every child of Godsomething that deserves correction, it happens that it is universally true that “whom theLord loveth he chasteneth.”
 Would any of us disagree with that? I think not.
He further says: “It should be a matter of deep concern when we are afflicted in anymanner, not to treat the matter lightly, but to derive from our trials all the lessons whichthey are adapted to produce on the mind.”
 Whether it is illness, financial set back, or whatever negative thing it be that comes intoour life we ought to be brought closer to God by it, repent if need be, live morespiritually, and live for eternity. It may or may not be God’s chastening but we need tolearn our dependence upon Him. We are not going to get out of this life alive. What isleft if not God? He knows that. He thus chastens us as needed. Why? For our good and because He loves us desiring only the eternal best for us.“despise not thou the chastening of the Lord”(KJV)See the book of Haggai for more on how the Lord chastens his people. See the TEV  version, chapter 1 and 2:17.See also, same version, Amos 4:6-12. Also Isaiah 9:13 (TEV)

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