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“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “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. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather healed”
Hebrews 12:5-13 NKJV
In the English law, an illegitimate child is termed “nullius filius.” Latin, a son of nobody. The KJV uses the old English word, “bastard”. (tell my story)
Illegitimate children are usually abandoned by their father. The care of them is left to the mother, and the father endeavors to avoid all responsibility, and usually to be concealed and unknown. His own child he does not wish to recognize; he neither provides for him; nor instructs him; nor governs him; nor disciplines him. A father, who is worthy of the name, will do all these things. It is the duty of a father to chasten his children.
So the writer of Hebrews says it is with Christians. God has not cast these persecuted and afflicted believers off. In every way God demonstrates toward us the character of a Father. And if it should be that we went through this life without any occurrence that would indicate the care and attention of a loving Father designed to correct our faults, it would show that we never had been His children, but were cast off and wholly disregarded. This is a beautiful argument; and we should receive every affliction as full proof that we are not forgotten by the Almighty God who condescends to sustain to us good character, and to demonstrate toward us the watchful care of a Father.
The term here “chasten” is translated in the most general sense. It means “to bring forth blood” by whatever means necessary
And scourges every son whom he receives: scourges denotes the highest degree of chastening, even with the sharpest punishment, wherein God proceeds with all and every son or daughter, no exceptions, whom he hath adopted and received.
“And you have forgotten this message of chastening” the writer of Hebrews tells them. This message of chastening and afflictions has been lost in the false love gospel. God is producing obedient and righteous children, not spoiled disobedient and rebellious brats. Affliction is good and pure and has a purpose of refining.
Afflictions, should be regarded as chastening and not as small matters, for these reasons:
(1) The fact that they are sent by God. Whatever He does is of importance, and is worthy of the profound attention of His people.
(2) they are sent for some important purpose, and should be regarded, therefore, with attentive concern.
Psalm 94:12 ESV
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law,
Rev 3:19 NKJV
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Men “despise” them when:
(1) we treat them with affect or unconcern;
(2) when we fail to receive them as divine admonitions, and regard them as without any intelligent design; and,
(3) when we receive them with “expressions” of contempt, and speak of them and of the care and providence of God with scorn.
It should be a matter of deep concern when we are afflicted in any manner, not to treat the matter lightly, but to derive from our trials all the lessons which they are adapted to produce in our lives.
Romans 5:3-5 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
The great aim of all discipline: The earthly parent trains his son, or her daughter, for earthly occupations. These last a little while. God trains us for an eternal end: ‘that we should be partakers of His holiness.’
The writer of Hebrews confirms this in the following verse, “Pursue peace with all people and holiness without which no man shall see God”
1 Peter 1:15-16 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy inall your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
God is transforming His people into a holy people, peculiar and set apart for His purposes. A man can be kind, gentle, meek, disciplined and full of self-control,, he can do a ton of good works and service; but cannot be holy without the Holy Spirit. It is through this process of refining that He is making me more like Him so that we may walk in the light as He is in the Light. This is the ultimate goal of chastening, to be more like Jesus.
If I fail in becoming holy, whatever else I have accomplished, I fail in everything. I may have made myself rich, cultured, learned, famous, refined, prosperous; but if I have not at least begun to be like God in purity, in will, in heart, then my whole career has missed the purpose for which I was made, and for which all the discipline of life has been lavished upon me.
Fail there, and, wherever you succeed, you are a failure. Succeed there, and, wherever you fail, you are a success.
That is the intention of our afflictions. They will refine us; and they will blow us into the secret place of the Most High. I am sure that among you all there are some who can thankfully attest that they were brought nearer to God by sorrow than by prosperity.
Paul’s thorn was to keep him humble and reliant upon His Lord.
King David talked much about affliction’s purpose:
Psalm 119:50, 67, 71, 75 (50) “This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. (67) Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep your word. (71) It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. (75) I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”
But the affliction that is meant to bring us nearer to Him may be in vain. The same circumstances may produce opposite effects. I have watched people who have been made hard, and sullen, and bitter through sorrow and affliction, blame God and turn from their only source of help.
Some are driven by the affliction to their knees, and some are driven to their destruction. Spurgeon said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages”
Take care that you do not waste our times of affliction; that you do not let the precious gifts of disappointment, pain, loss, loneliness, ill-health, or similar afflictions that come into your daily life to mar you instead of mending you. See that they draw you nearer to God, and not that they drive you farther from Him.
The Christian walk does not render us insensible to suffering, it does two things:
(1) it enables us to bear the pain without complaining; and,
(2) it turns the affliction into a blessing.
The effect is seen in a pure life, and in a more entirely being devoted to God. We are not to look for the fruits of affliction while we are suffering, but “afterward.” It yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. The chastening of the Lord is a tree that bears good fruit, and we do not expect the fruit to form and ripen at once. It may be long maturing, but it will be rich when it is ripe. It frequently requires a long time before all the results of affliction appear – as it requires months to form and ripen fruit.
When those fruits are ripened, they are:
(1) fruits of “righteousness.” They make us more holy, more dead to sin and the world, and more alive to God. And they are
(2) “peaceable.” They produce peace, calmness, submission in the soul. They make the heart more tranquil in its confidence in God, and more disposed to the promotion of peace.
Watch how people are reacting to this time of affliction. It reveals whom they trust. There is worse affliction coming and if you do not settle this now; the worse will destroy you. In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, he was facing “light” persecution from some priests and the Lord spoke a stern word to him:
Jeremiah 12: 5 “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein you trust, they weary you, how will you do in the swelling of the Jordan?”
Prepare now for greater affliction.
Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous,…. These words anticipate an objection, taken from the grief and sorrow that comes by afflictions; and therefore how should they be for profit and advantage? The apostle answers, by granting that no affliction “seems” to be joyous, though they really are, when viewed through the lens of faith; for they are tokens of the love of God and Christ; are evidences of our Sonship.
Nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby: who are “trained” up and instructed in the school of afflictions. Many useful lessons of faith and hope, patience and experience, humility, self-denial; and resignation of will, are learned: and to such afflictions yield “the fruit of peace”.
Early years of ministry were very difficult, panic attacks, multiple ER visits, constant health and stomach issues, paxil withdrawal symptoms, “Are you OK?” NO!
v. 13 “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather healed”
The meaning is, that these Hebrews were to remove all obstacles out of the way, so that they need not stumble and fail in this time of affliction, or worse go back to Judaism because following Christ brought them too much affliction.
Paul told the Corinthian church the same thing- “strengthen your hands”:
2 Cor 4:16-17 “Therefore we do not lose heart. (strengthen your hands) Even though the outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
Prov 24:10 :”If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
Those that get through affliction have the mindset of “This world is not my home”
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”
What weight/obstacles do you need to remove in order to not stumble when you are afflicted? At Bible study yesterday I talked about preparation is before the affliction comes. You cannot prepare in the midst of affliction, you will be destroyed.
We are on a pilgrimage to a heavenly home. Will you enjoy even the most difficult sections of the journey?
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.” Psalms 84:5-6
The valley of Baca, otherwise known as “the valley of Weeping” was an arid valley in which Israel had to go through in order to go up to the temple and worship God; not a very “fun” portion of their journey. Yet, David speaks of provision (digging a spring or well) in this valley. There are joys of a journey which make men forget the discomforts of the road. To the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet. In this valley of Baca there are a few things to know– it is frequented often. In order to go and worship, you must go through this valley. Try as you might to avoid a difficult portion of road; you cannot. It is unpleasant and toilsome; yet healthful, safe and profitable. The only way to build godly character is by refinement. Avoid the Potter’s hands and you will be unfit for His use and take no part in His inheritance as His child.
Psalm 66:10-12 , O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.
11 You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. 12 You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to [b]rich fulfillment.
The purpose of discipline and affliction is refinement to be made holy and pure and to bring out the rich fruit of peace and joy in our lives.
Examine the evidence of your affliction.
Am I being afflicted during a wrong I have done? Or am I being afflicted with the whole body? Individual Christianity is godless Christianity. The above is talking about general affliction. God will use people and circumstances, whatever HE needs to produce the fruit of righteousness.
Ask: what can I Iearn from this affliction? What moral or character lessons is God producing in me? Be honest with yourself. Do not be the man that looks in the mirror and walks away forgetting what he looks like.
Do not grumble and complain. Let God have His way in you and let the affliction do its work.
God does not tempt/test us with evil. He did not put you in the middle of Sodom.
Read Oswald Chambers
If we are called Hid children, then we must endure His chastening with joy. It means He loves me.
Embrace affliction as obedient children knowing He is doing a good work in us for His glory.
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