Part VII – God’s Chastening
This is long overdue. Because of the huge gap between Part V and Part VI and now Part VII, I think I will go ahead and finish things up today, which means that the last three parts will be posted in pretty quick succession, otherwise, Parts VIII and IX might never get up! Please, though, take time to think about each one. The breaking points are intentional.
In Part VI we saw the daughter’s departure from God. We saw her whoredoms, her idolatry, the way in which she sold herself to others, not requiring payment from them, but paying them with the very gifts that God had given her. Now, we see God’s response.
God is a jealous God. He has every right to be. He created us. He brought spiritual life to His child, in this case the daughter, He adopted her, redeemed her with His own blood. He will not be pacified until she has been returned to Him and their relationship restored.
This is one of the many beauties of our God. He is just, righteous and holy, but He is also the ‘Lover of my soul’, as the songwriter said. Though He must chasten, He does it with the intent of drawing us back to Himself. In fact, according to Hebrews 12:6, He chastens us, because He loves us. Disciplining children is not a task we look forward to, but if that child is to grow into a mature, responsible, wise adult then it must be done. Proverbs tells us that the man who does not correct his children, hates them (See Proverbs 13:24). God, on the other hand, proves His never-ending love through the patient chastening of His children.
Ezekiel 16:35-59 describes the judgement of God against Israel. The way in which He will cause the daughter’s lovers to turn against her. How He will cause her high places to be torn down and cause all of her beauty and jewels to be stripped away, until she is once again naked and uncovered. He will do this, until she once again remembers the days of her youth and what God had done for her.
Sometimes God has to do this in our lives as well. He has to strip away the things that He has given us, the successes that we have had, the riches that He has given, even our sense of our own spirituality in order for us to remember the work that He did, and that it is His beauty that is upon us, not our own.
There is a way to avoid chastening. It is by returning voluntarily. When we look at the sins of the King’s Daughter against the King, it is tempting to think we have never done anything so horrible, but even my Sunday School class of 7-12 year-olds willingly admits that at sometime they have put something before God. We are easily drawn into idolatry, at times not even realizing it has happened. It is important to examine our lives: Have we begun to wander away? Have we begun to feel the hand of His chastening? In Isaiah 30:15, God said to Israel, “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” Don’t let this be your story.
Up Next: Part VIII – The Everlasting Covenant.