“Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.” (Job 5:17-18, NKJV)
I don’t know that I am all that happy when God corrects me. I mean, if we are being honest, we would rather walk the smooth road where everything is without trouble or real effort. It is the way we are. We don’t like correction.
Now chastisement or correction is defined as, “reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint” (2). God does not want you to beat your children. Beating your child amounts to abuse and may result in criminal charges. When God corrects us, He never abuses us. If you are abusing your children, you need to seek help immediately.
Paul went on to quote Proverbs 3:11, 12:
“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. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, 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? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11, NKJV)
To try to understand this, let’s consider a few things:
- God corrects us because He loves us. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” The word chasten means, “tutorage, i.e. education or training; by implication, disciplinary correction”(1). The paideia (pahee-di’-ah), the child, was under constant training to one day enter adult life. He received this instruction because his human father loved him and wanted him to be able to enter adult life successfully.
- God only corrects His children. “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons (and daughters!).” I cannot correct my neighbors children (though sometimes I sure would like too!). I can only correct my children. Like God, I want them to grow up fully equip for adult life. So it is with Him. And, if you are enduring correction, it is because you belong to Him – and because He loves you!
- Like our human fathers, God does not correct “the neighbors” children. “But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” Correction proves (to us) that we are indeed His children.
- God corrects us for our profit. “Our human fathers chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.” Our human fathers did as seemed best to them. Some corrected us in love, some in anger. (In fact, if you grew up with a father who wasn’t a Christian or claimed to be one, but wasn’t, chances are you were abused). To my great shame, I must admit that I verbally abused my children for years by yelling them. I have no excuse and have apologized and sought their forgiveness. And they have forgiven me. Yet, I still struggle with anger (and with much regret). I no longer yell at those I love (sometimes I still struggle with others though). I have made progress, by the grace of God. Yet I have a long way to go, and by the grace of God I will arrive.
- We read in Job, “…happy is the man whom God corrects.” Yet Paul said, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful.” Happy can be defined as “blessed.” This corresponds to Gods love for us. “Blessings” are often overlooked until we endure; then, we realize what a blessing being corrected is. I did not understand my human father when he said’ “This hurt’s me more than it hurt’s you,” until I had children. Then I understood. And while our Heavenly Father corrects us because He loves us, I am sure He takes no pleasure in it as well. Correction is painful, yet in it we can have joy.
- There is always a glorious end result of correction: “…afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God in all his dealings with us is right and just. Righteousness is defined as, “the character or quality of being right or just”(3). The enemy of our faith would try to convince us otherwise. But the truth is, God corrects us because He loves us. Satan would have us focus on the circumstance. God want us to focus on Him and His word. Only then can we begin to understand the correction of the Lord.
God often corrects us from His word (2 Timothy 3:16). And sometimes He corrects us with physical suffering. Sometimes we understand; sometimes we don’t. There are many questions. Why do the righteous suffer? Why does it seem that those who are the closest to Him suffer more than those who don’t? Why do some suffer so severely while others do not? I don’t have the answers to these questions. And the Lord tells us why we often don’t understand His dealings with us:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV).
I have learned two things:
- God loves me. I know this, not because of my circumstance, but from His word. And He cannot lie.
- His dealings with me are always motivated by His love (even when it seems otherwise and I don’t understand) and are intended for my good.
He does not want me to grow up a spoiled brat; rather He wants me to mature as an adult son.
If you have walked away from Him because you have suffered and do not understand why, He is the only one who can heal and comfort you:
“Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1, NKJV)
Think about it…
(1) NT:3809 paideia (pahee-di’-ah); from NT:3811; tutorage, i.e. education or training; by implication, disciplinary correction. Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
(2) OT:4148 muwcar (moo-sawr’); from OT:3256; properly, chastisement; figuratively, reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
(3) dikaiosune (dik-ah-yos-oo’-nay) is “the character or quality of being right or just.” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)