Monday, May 4, 2009

How does God Discipline?

20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 So David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD. 22 And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.” 23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. (II Samuel 6:20-23)

In our housechurch gathering yesterday, the question was asked, "How does God discipline His children these days?" There are those churchmen who refute the notion that God uses calamities as a means of disciplining His children. Yet, the plain reading of Scripture points to these events as being, from time-to-time, used by God as an expression of His Fatherly displeasure. In this instance, it was childlessness for Michal, in the case of Miriam it was leprosy (equated by God with spitting in the face), in the case of David it was the death of the child that was the result of David's adultery.

I have heard it said that such events are Old Testament only, and the God of the New Testament does not deal with His people in the same way these days. Yet, God says of Himself, "I am the Lord and I change not." Elsewhere it says of Jesus Christ, that He is the same "yesterday, today and forever."

The Bible is one seamless Word, and the God of the Bible is One Eternal God. God behaves today as He has always behaved, and His Fatherly grace and displeasure is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

So, how does God discipline His children these days? The answer is simple, the same as He has always done. Read the Bible, count the ways God disciplines, and see if there are not those in our churches who are experiencing such rebukes from the Lord. Why does He discipline us in such manner? Because our hearts are hard, and we need severe discipline to be turned towards our Holy, Heavenly Father. When our will is crossed, and the hardness of our hearts is reduced to tears, and we can find no other comfort in earthly things, it is then that we call upon the Name of the Lord with the kind of desperation that God looks for in us; the kind of desperation that will wait upon the good hand of the Lord.


Steve from the Alice said...

Couldn't agree with you more. I am afraid that much of the weakness in individual Christian lives, including my own, not to mention the general condition of the Church and many if not most congregations is that we believe that we know more than God, and that the beginning of knowledge comes from somewhere else other than the Fear of the Lord.

I will be blogging on this matter shortly, but can and does the grace of God operate apart from the continuous application of His law. I heard it stated yesterday, in the context on communion, as we stood to drink the cup together, words to the effect, "Let us drink with thanksgiving in the knowledge that now, under the New Covenant, we are now no longer under the requirements of the law." I nearly couldn't drink--the speaker should know better, most people don't, and therein my friend, is the rub.


Bridge said...

The Law, itself, is a gracious gift from God. The Lord is a healthy, blessing-filled way to live. Our capacity to live in the light of God's Law is hindered by our own hearts. It is not the Law that is evil, but rather the sinful hearts of rebellious men and women. God graciously gave His son to deal with sin, and then graciously gave His Holy Spirit to be the indwelling teacher to teach us His Lawful ways.

The New Covenant is the good news of Jesus Christ, and His gracious gifts to make us Law-keepers, as God has always intended us to be.