The LORD Disciplines His Children…

discipline (1-4-18)

Please click to read Deuteronomy 8:2-18:
oh what a passage, oh what golden bars of Truth for us!

Here are some thoughts on this powerful passage,
especially what it teaches about God disciplining His children:

Verse 2: “Remember how the Lord your God led you
all the way in the wilderness these forty years…”

God leads! He leads us, He is out in front of us, clearing the beautiful narrow path through the jungle of this world. The LORD is present, loved ones—He doesn’t just send us commands via email, from a safe/protected nest in the sky while we toil in the trenches. He is in the trench with us, leading us Himself in His commands and His example! Everything He tells us to do as His children He has done Himself perfectly as our Savior—YES! THAT is the character of God!

God also leads us IN the wilderness (& sometimes INTO it)!
Our trials aren’t described as a wilderness because the LORD isn’t there,
yet because of the sinfulness in us and around us
it is so difficult for us to trust/see by faith
that He is with us in our suffering, in our trials.

  • When we are scared of a pitch-black room in our house,
    the room is the same as it was when it was brightly lit—
    nothing has changed except our ability to see/detect the details of the room.
  • And so we are scared, and we imagine what MIGHT be in the room now,
    we imagine what could happen outside of our control/vision
    and we are frightened (like in cartoons—the shadow of an approaching creature
    is often more scary than the actual creature itself).

Thus the painful times of life are so difficult, are a wilderness.
Our illusion of control is gone,
fog has surrounded our ability to understand & see the details around us.
Perhaps much has changed in our lives during the wilderness,
but the only thing that eternally matters—
the presence and promises and power of God Almighty
through the death & resurrection of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ—
has NOT changed!

He is there, loved ones, in our wilderness,
just as He was with His undeserving people so long ago in the book of Deuteronomy. Though our feelings seem dry and our faith seems empty,
in His strength we can continue to act as if He is with us…because He is.
In His strength, on His Word, through His Son & Holy Spirit,
we can navigate the room in the dark
because of what He has taught us when it was bright.

Oh but why does He ALLOW us to go through the wilderness at all?

Verses 2b-5: “…to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart,
[our desires, emotions, will, choices]
whether or not you would keep his commands.

He humbled you,
causing you to hunger
and then feeding you with manna,
which neither you nor your ancestors had known,
to teach you that man does not live on bread alone
but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son,
so the Lord your God disciplines you.”

Like pain that flares up even after a limb is healed,
so are we as Christians still susceptible
to pride & arrogance & self-satisfaction & idolatry
even after we are spiritually reborn thru repentance & faith in the Lord Jesus.

As long as we are on this side of eternity,
we will always have a tendency to get “too big for our britches (pants).”

And so it is the commitment and dedication of the LORD, our loving Father,
to humble us, to use wilderness times to
deflate the balloon of our self-confidence time & time again
in order to replace it with a firm & solid & strong God-confidence,
to show US what is really in our hearts—
a sinful desire to be in charge of our lives in our own ways—
so that we will constantly fix our eyes on our crucified and risen Savior
and lean on the price He paid for us.

What else does He want to teach us
during these wilderness times of loving discipline?

To obey & revere Him…

Verse 6: “Observe the commands of the Lord your God,
walking in obedience to him and revering him…”

Don’t just acknowledge the Trinity—the Father, Son & Holy Spirit—

  • Spend more time studying His character
    than you do studying your favorite celebrity!
  • Spend more time discussing the statistics of His eternal records
    what He has done & will do!—
    than you do discussing the statistics of athletes.
  • Spend more time studying His book the Bible,
    don’t spend your time studying so-called self-help gurus
    who want to help you achieve your dreams/potential.

Oh let us cry out to Him for grace & faith to truly revere Him
to learn to treat Him with respect and reverence and awe,
not only cheering for Him but also being in total silence before Him,
awe-struck and at a loss for words.

Our Father uses wilderness times to teach us this!

Let us not only come into His presence in a casual and flippant way,
indirectly acknowledging His presence every once in a while
as we multi-task with so many other activities.

Our Father uses wilderness times to teach us this!

Let’s learn to revere Him & give Him our undivided attention
just as we want others to do to us.
Let’s not kick up our muddy shoes on His coffee table,
but come in & take off our shoes as a sign of respect,
for in His presence it is holy ground!

Our Father uses wilderness times to teach us this!

Verses 6-9: God is leading His people thru the wilderness
to a good land of milk & honey…
but not of this world, loved ones.

His end-goal for us is not money but maturity…
not just earthly happiness but eternal holiness,

His destination for us
is not a mountain of finance
but a mound of fruit—

spiritual fruit that lasts, doesn’t spoil,
that spreads His fame, not ours,
that beautifies His Kingdom, not ours,
that makes our lives harder in the short-run
so that it is easier in the long-run for non-Christians to look at us and see Him.

Verse 10: When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God
for the good land he has given you.”

He leads us thru dry/thirsty seasons to help us enjoy & appreciate
the Living Waters of His presence & promises,
to transform us to actually praise Him out of delight, not just duty…

This passage concludes by telling us another reason
why our Father leads us into difficult times,
why He doesn’t just make every day a Friday on earth:

Because our sinful pride is prone
to forget Him &
give credit to ourselves…

Verses 11-18: Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God,
failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.

12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied,
when you build fine houses and settle down,

13 and when your herds and flocks grow large
and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,

14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God,
who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness,
that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions.
He brought you water out of hard rock.

16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness,
something your ancestors had never known,
to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you.

17 You may say to yourself,
“My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”

18 But remember the Lord your God,
for it is he who gives you the ability
to produce wealth, and so confirms
his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”

God is leading us to HEAVEN, which is not of this world,
but He is leading us there through the wilderness places that are of this world…
through the most barren and horrific and dry wilderness places
in order to

  • prepare our character, our souls,
  • refine us and prune us to enter into our eternal home…
  • transform us to treat Him as our Father not as our atm…
  • put us in our proper place (humility) as He sits in His proper place:
    the Throne of glory.

Both His destination and His route for getting us there are good…
because HE is good…
That is God as our loving Father…

father-son-hug (1-4-18)