“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, ‘My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him—for whom the Lord loves, He chastens and scourges every son whom he receives’.”
As a loving parent, when He does it He always said “Now, I’m doing this for your own good.”
The mere mention of the word sends shivers up the spine of some folks—particularly if they were physically abused as a child or have been/are in an abusive relationship even now. Why is that? Simply because it sounds like corporal punish—i.e., a physical infliction of pain by someone else, usually in a fit of rage.
But, dear Pilgrim, such is never the case with our Heavenly Father.
The main part of today’s Manna is taken from one of Solomon’s proverbs in Prov. 3:11-12. The Hebrew word used there for “chastening” is “muwar,” which also means “correction, reproof, warning, instruction, rebuke, reprove, reform, etc.” Thus, it’s clear it’s an intentional, corrective measure that seeks a change-of-behavior in the recipient.
It’s interesting the anonymous author of Hebrews also adds the word “scourges” (Grk. “mastigoo”—“to flog, whip, plague, etc.”) to his use of the verse, for Solomon never uses any form of the word; instead, he uses “correct” (Heb. “yakach”), which means “to argue with, convict, plead with, reason together with, etc.”
Thus, it would seem the Hebrews’ author’s take on Solomon’s words was more intensive and inflictive than originally intended. But, we should not see them as in opposition to each other—for the intent of both was God’s intervention for the purpose of repentance and restoration.
Likewise, it’s clear that both men of God exhort those being chastened to “not despise or faint” when such discipline is being meted out. The Hebrew word “ma ‘ac” is used by Solomon for “despise” and also means “to spurn, cast away, condemn, disdain, loathe, etc.,” while the Greek word “oligoreo” is used in our Manna and basically means “to have little regard for, disesteem, devalue, etc.”
And, we should give particular emphasis to the words “for whom the Lord loves”—for that’s the reason for His Divine “remedial training.” Later on in vv.7-11 we read how the Heavenly Father doesn’t discipline someone else’s children (vv.7-8) and never does it “for His pleasure” like earthly fathers (v.10a); instead, it’s always “for our profit” (v.10b) and helps us to better become “parttakers of His Holiness” (v.10c), which then “yields in us the peaceable fruit of Righteousness” (v.11). Hallelujah!
So, dear Pilgrim, if you’re going through a particularly difficult time right now, ask the Lord to show you if it’s an attack by the evil one or a part of God’s chastening in your life. Regardless of the reason, the result will be the same—for both should drive us closer to God’s Heart, not further away.