THE POSITIVE SIDE OF DISCIPLINE - Part 2
As we consider this next installment, I was trying to
think of individuals in the scriptures who passed through circumstances that
caused them either to continue in God’s ways or pursue their own solutions. In
the Old Testament stories we often see God using situations to enlighten people
for their own good. God’s positive discipline does that.
The verse I wish to focus
on is found in Hebrews 12:11 which says; “No discipline seems pleasant at the
time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those who have been trained by it”.
If we read the account of Joseph in
the end of the book of Genesis. Here we
find a young man other then being somewhat immature is not really needing
discipline or correction in his life for his behavior. As a young man he is
sold into slavery by his older brothers who are jealous of him. Subsequently he
is transported to Egypt
and sold to an officer named Potiphar who was a
captain of the guard in Pharoah’s court. He rose to a
position of responsibility in Potiphar’s home and was successful in all he did. Through unfair
accusations from Potiphar’s wife he ended up in jail
and there once again acquitted himself as a man who God prospered in all he did.
Eventually through his ability to interpret dreams, Joseph caught the eye of Pharoah and was promoted to a powerful position in the
government of Egypt.
Eventually his brothers were sent to Egypt
as a famine was taking place in his homeland in what we know as Israel today.
Because of Joseph’s God given ability and foresight Egypt became
the source of food in that area of the world. Joseph eventually revealed his
identity to his brothers and was able to express his true forgiveness for the their unkind actions. Fundamentally what we learn from
Joseph is that God’s path probably seemed wrong to him during the difficult
periods but ultimately God’s purposes were fulfilled, relationships were
restored and the life of the God’s chosen people was preserved. What if Joseph
had rejected God’s discipline? What we see in Joseph is a realization that God
was in it all along. It is succinctly encapsulated in Genesis 50:19-20 where
Joseph says to his brothers “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You
intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now
being done, the saving of many lives”. Joseph understood God’s discipline in
his life had purpose.
In another account found in 1 Samuel we read of the
first King of Israel. Saul was an impressive man and in 1 Samuel 9 it describes
him that he was a “head taller” then other Israelites, truly what people
expected in a king from a physical point of view. When he became king there
were clear instructions given to him and the Jewish nation by Samuel who was a
judge and prophet in Israel.
The instructions were to “fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your
heart; consider what great things he has done for you”. In one of his first
battles he acted impulsively by offering sacrifices before Samuel had arrived
to intercede on their behalf. The rebuke from Samuel was clear and he told him
he had acted foolishly because he had not kept the command of the Lord. On
another occasion Saul was to have destroyed his enemy completely but instead he
plundered them keeping livestock and the best of the
loot. He rationalized that these things would be kept to honor and sacrifice to
God. Added to this he kept the enemies king alive;
when Samuel arrived on the scene he prophesied that the kingdom would be taken
from him. Saul did not not
learn his lesson and Samuel said in 1 Samuel 15:22b “To obey is better than
sacrifice”. In verse 23 he says “rebellion is like the sin of divination” (Divination is seeking to know what to do in a way that
ignores the word and counsel of God.) The rest of Saul’s life was spent in
paranoia, jealousy and he even began to consult witches. Instead of learning
from his mistakes, his life journey ended in tragedy. So what can we learn...to
recognize, identify and to act upon God’s guidance and discipline in our lives.
Pastor David Jones