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The Chastening of the Lord

(Hebrews 12:1-11)

Lesson 13 -- third quarter 1997
August 24, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

I am so tired!
"Nevertheless afterward...."

Whether it's driving all day or writing for several hours or incessantly tweaking my programming project or riding bike around town or power walking for seven minutes or loading a moving van for the second time in a morning or reading a book too long--I get so tired sometimes. How shall I deal with tiredness? Sleeping helps. Changing activities also helps.

Whether it's exchanging email with a mocker or refereeing interpersonal disputes or facing the crooked business man or fleeing my pursuers or wrestling with insubordination--I get so tired sometimes. How shall I deal with the weariness and faintness of mind that comes from contrary folks? Sleeping helps. Changing activities also helps. But now I speak in a spiritual sense.

Sleeping. Spiritual rest is so vital. This rest comes from ceasing my efforts to do all the work myself. In this context, Jesus specifically invites "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:28,29). While reading the Scriptures isn't sleep as we normally think of it, it is another way to rest. Praying is one more method of rest for you to test (just don't let it become literal sleep!). So, my friend, learn to rest.

Changing activities. Refocus your attention. Don't get distracted by people, perplexities and problems. Today's lesson instructs us to be "looking unto Jesus" and to "consider Him." When you get distracted by your suffering, remember all He went through for you. In the midst of the trying situation, learn to see Him as He responded to His earthly tests. Ask Him to help you see the person before you, not as a threat to be knocked down but as a need to be met.

The child was being rebellious and obnoxious, screaming and stomping. His vigorous self-will clashed with the authority of his mother. And neither of them was very happy...until after she spanked him firmly and lovingly. Yes, you've seen it happen; perhaps even experienced it. What peace and submission reigns after discipline properly administered!

The Lord deals with me as a parent, for He is my Father. What are the benefits I reap from His correction and chastisement?

Security. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth"! What peace and sense of safety and belonging we can derive from the fact that God rebukes us--He is dealing with us "as with sons." Even the scourgings of the Lord can assure me of my acceptance before Him (7)!

Profit. God doesn't punish me just because I ticked Him off. God doesn't punish me because He needs to reassure Himself and remind me of His authority and power over me. Nope. God chastens me for my profit, that I might be a partaker of His holiness (10).

So, Lord, while the chastening presently seems grievous, help me to look ahead to the "peaceable fruit of righteousness" it will yield.

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