Straight-up honest? I love the Lord and his Word. But it’s taken me all week—okay, more like thirty years—to get excited about this passage.
Why the struggle? Not because I’m a daughter instead of a son. I know God’s truths are for all his children.
Is it all those negative words? Despise, resent, rebuke? Not really. Love and delight are in there too.
No, what made me bristle is a word that’s used twice: discipline.
The main point of the proverb. Something I need but almost never want.
Then God showed me that his discipline is another word for his love.
A term of endearment meant for us all. Right from the start, God expresses his deep and abiding affection for us. Listen, “my child” (CEV). This is for you, “dear friend” (MSG).
When we’ve failed in some way—big or small—our Heavenly Father promises we won’t be neglected or abandoned or forgotten. He is with us and loves us. Always.
…do not despise…
Imagine the Lord holding your hand, tugging you close, whispering these words in your ear. “Don’t sulk” (MSG), he says gently. Don’t “shrink” (AMP) or “turn away” (CEV).
He knows us so well. Correction is never fun. Pulling away is a natural instinct. But God wants us close by his side, so he can show us why this process—this painful, humbling, often difficult process—is for our ultimate good.
Lee Ann, who chose this week’s passage, confessed, “These verses mean a lot to me because I’ve needed his discipline so often.”
We’re right there with you, sister.
…the Lord’s discipline,…
If his “chastening” (ASV) isn’t a spanking, a time out, or an assignment to write the same sentence 500 times on a blackboard, then what does God’s kind of discipline look like?
Sometimes it looks like Wait. Sometimes it looks like No. Most of the time it looks like “training” (NIRV) or “instruction” (CEB) or “teaching” (WYC). God the Father kneeling beside us, showing us how to live according to his will.
Discipline isn’t something negative. It’s something positive.
Knowledge. Education. Wisdom. Good stuff.
Yes, it means we need to stop marching solely to the beat of our own drum. That’s the hard part. But staying close to him and experiencing “his loving correction” (MSG)? That’s the satisfying part.
…and do not resent his rebuke,…
Sulking is usually short-lived, but resentment can last a lifetime. That’s why God cautions us not to become “bitter” (CEV) or “impatient” (AMP) or “angry” (ERV). Such things grow inside us like malignant cells, slowly destroying our joy.
His “correction” (CEB) is meant to serve as a “warning” (GW). Think of the back-up camera systems in vehicles that alert the driver, “Stop! There’s something behind you.” When God corrects us, that’s what he’s doing. Keeping us from hurting ourselves and others. Making sure we’re safe—physically, emotionally, spiritually.
So, beloved, “do not give up when He tells you what you must do” (NLV). Instead, picture him holding you, guiding you, loving you. The best parent, on his or her best day, cannot come close to what our Heavenly Father does for us all day, every day.
…because the Lord disciplines those he loves,…
There it is: the reason why God “reproves” (ESV) and “corrects” (AMP) and “trains” (NIRV) his children, no matter how mature we may think we are. It’s “proof of his love” (TLB). It assures us we belong to him.
When a toddler is mastering a new skill—say, eating with a spoon—the whole messy process could be avoided if Mom just continued spooning in each mouthful. But that’s not the loving thing to do.
The loving thing is to give a child the right tools, then eat with her, side by side. Show her by example. Patiently correct the way she holds the spoon. Let her try again and again. Make certain she doesn’t spoon in too much at once. Chase after the spoon when she flings it across the kitchen.
For those of us who are prone to flinging spoons out of sheer frustration, here’s good news: God is still in the kitchen, waiting to teach us. He never gives up. He never lets go. He never stops delighting in his children.
Bonnie also chose this as her favorite passage. “I love knowing that He ‘delights’ in me, and ‘corrects’ by allowing me to make those mistakes that instruct and draw me closer to Him.”
…as a father the son he delights in.
Years ago, when I was trying to help our son with his homework, I finally ran out of patience and said more loudly than I meant to, “Do you know why I’m pushing so hard?”
Matt’s little shoulders drooped. “Because you want me to get a good grade.”
“No, sweetie.” I hugged him, then whispered into the curve of his ear, “Because I love you.”
So the truth. God doesn’t care about our grades. He cares about us.
When God parks us in a waiting room, or nudges us to make amends, or pinches our conscience until our attitude improves, we’ll remember that “a father’s delight is behind all this” (MSG), and we are the Lord’s “pride and joy” (VOICE).
I’m (finally) excited about this passage. How about you?
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12
Now it’s your turn
- What does God’s discipline look like to you?
I’m eager to hear your take on this. It means so much when you take a moment to Post a Comment below.
Can’t believe the joy of Palm Sunday is right around the corner! “They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” (John 12:13).
Your sister, Liz
P.S. If Billings, Montana or Columbus, Ohio is where you call home, consider joining me this spring for the Women of Faith Survival to Revival Tour 2014. I would love to have the honor of encouraging you in person!