Week 8: The New Testament and Children Cont’d
Day 3: When God Spanks Us, Part 2, Hebrews 12:5-11
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:9-10)
Ever hear someone say, “Kids are so disrespectful these days.” Ever notice that the statement is generally followed by, “If I had done that, my parents would have…” Correction breeds respect. Notice I said “correction” not punishment. When we learn that our parents will consistently correct us for wrongdoing, we begin to respect their word, their position over us, and who they are. Here, the writer of Hebrews is saying, if we reverence our parents for their correction, shouldn’t we likewise submit ourselves to God? Our parents might ground us or give us natural consequences or even spank us, but with God it is a matter of life or death. He is very patient. He begs and corrects and chastens, but eventually He has to say, “That’s it.”
God sets the example of the motivation that is to be behind discipline. Here the Bible says that parents chasten us “after their own pleasure”, which means “as it seems good”. This isn’t a picture of a parent getting all giddy because they get to discipline their kid. This describes the parent who disciplines when it seems appropriate to them. The problem is, we’re all human and sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes we discipline when we shouldn’t, and sometimes we don’t discipline when we should. God isn’t like that.
First of all, God’s discipline is based on His desire to see us profit from that discipline. He doesn’t discipline us so that we’ll stop doing something annoying. He disciplines us so that we will learn what is right and, therefore, will have a better life and a closer walk with Him.
Secondly, God doesn’t base His discipline on whim, but on His holiness. No one will ever find a better, or more perfect standard than that.
The chastening of the Lord, though not enjoyable, is precious.
The chastening of parents is precious because it is designed to teach us how to respond to the chastening of the Lord.
Consider the orphan and the fatherless: If a child has never had a father or mother to lovingly correct them, who will teach them how to respond to God’s correction?
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