Friday, August 05, 2016

The Vision (8.5.16): The Chastening of the Lord

Image:  Zinnia, North Garden, Virginia, July 2016

Note:  The devotion below is taken from the sermon notes from last Sunday morning’s sermon on Hebrews 12:4-11.

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

In Hebrews 12:5-6 we have an example of Scripture within Scripture.  The inspired author cites Proverbs 3:11-12.

The citation begins, “My son….” (v. 5).  The setting in Proverbs is a father’s instruction of his son, the king’s instruction of the prince.  Here the words have greater spiritual weight.  The Father is God the Father.  The son is the blood-bought child of God.

“despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint….”

This the first of eight times that a variation on the word “chasten” appears in our passage (vv. 4-11).  Sometimes it appears as the verb “to chasten” (once translated as “to correct” in v. 9).  In others it is the noun “chastisement” or “chastening.”

What does chastening mean?  First, it is not merely punishment.  We might call it the intentional infliction of suffering with the goal or end of spiritual improvement.  Though taken from a Hebrew original in the Proverbs, the Greek term used in v. 5 is paidea.  In Greek this usually refers to the training or instruction or education or guidance of a child.   The term also came to refer to the education of the ideal citizen.

Chastening is a school of affliction in which we are enrolled in order to be made more Christ-like.

When we come under the shadow of afflictions which God might allow for our chastening we are not to question the Lord, to fight against the Lord, to slander the Lord, to despise the Lord, but to see it as his perfect will which he has sovereingly orchestrated for our good.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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