Tuesday, April 25, 2006

He Chastens Those He Has Called

[Welcome to the first post with some meat on its bones concerning God as He is revealed, through Scripture, as our Father. I know some of you were expecting this yesterday, but I didn't want to rush it. So today we will deal with God chastening and tomorrow I'll be bringing to you something along the lines of finding comfort in Our Father's arms. Stay tuned.]

People like to say that there is no black or white, that only shades of grey truly exist when it comes to morality. And whether or not you agree with this statement, are you really going to teach a child that? A child’s mind isn’t able to comprehend things like that, if you let a child play by themselves in the street one day and not another how is the child supposed to understand? Obviously when children are small they need to have clear boundaries laid out. They need to be taught the difference between right and wrong, otherwise how will they learn to discern truth from a fictitious lie? If you don’t show them the truth how are they supposed to be able to accept it?

Likewise our Father lovingly chastens and rebukes us so that we will understand what He views as right and wrong, holy and evil.

Would a father say, “Son, here is my gun. It is loaded and the safety is off. Have fun.” No! A loving father would more likely say something like, “Son, this is highly dangerous, and because I love you I am not going to allow you to play with it. Because I value your life I am not going to let you do something so wreck less.” And then the father would put it somewhere out of reach and locked up, and should the child find and gain access to the gun I would imagine the father would have quite the discussion with his son, once again explaining why he can’t play with the gun as well as setting up some sort of system for any further disobedience.

Similarly I believe this is, in part, why God gave the Israelites the law while they were in the wilderness. You can’t expect your children to grow up and live lives that bring them into safety, and bring you glory, without laying out some rules. Without correction and a clear set of rules children will stray into often deadly paths. It is a parent’s duty to their children to make the path the child is to walk as clear as possible. And when the child strays it is a parent’s duty to hasten them back to the right path.

This concept of chastening and correction is shown through out Scripture. Surely if nothing we did mattered, if people like Neale Donald Walsch are correct in their assumptions, if there is no right or wrong...well, then why would God care what we did or how we did it? If we all were going to end up in heaven despite everything we did in our lives, if we are going to receive paradise in payment for disobedience, why then would Christ speak of being the only way to the Father and entering through the narrow gate? If the Father didn’t care what we did, why would He give His children a clear directive for how they were to live their lives? Love those who persecute you, pray for the lost, etc. If our God truly was a God who is far off and disinterested in our lives, why would He offer salvation through the sacrifice of His Son? It is because He loves us and because He will be glorified that He corrects us, that He gives us the paths for our lives and calls us to walk them.

He calls to those He loves and offers them an opportunity to be in the presence of the One who loves them, who created them, and who will forgive them if only they would accept. He sends storms, whales, anything necessary to have us turn back to Him. He will humble those He loves so that they might be proud in His glory. He chastens us as our Father because it is His right to do so as He has created us.

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? (Romans 9:20-21)

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

And it is His desire to welcome us home, to pull us to His chest in loving embrace when we repent of our sin as shown in Luke 15:20-24:

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:20-24, emphasis mine)

He longs for us to turn to Him, to submit to His guidance and to His chastening, to agree and say “Yes, Lord. Thy will be done,” because it is in these moments that He is able to show us mercy, grace, and His glory. How many of us, when we finally took that truth to heart, fell to our knees crying out “Abba, Father! How I have sinned against you, forgive me!” And how many of us got a glimpse of His glorious mercy as we turned back to Him?

He calls us, and chastens us because it is in those that obey, in those that love Him because He first loved them, it is in those that understand the glorious gift He has blessed us with that He is most glorified. It is when we hasten to Him and His teachings that we can know He is delighted in us. Because we follow despite what the world thinks, He is glorified when we choose Him over the world. Just as a parent would rejoice because their child has turned from the temptations they face because they have been raised to do so.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:19)

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. (Proverbs 23:24)

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