Chastening

“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” (Job 5:17)

One of the fascinating paradoxes of Scripture (and of human life) is the oft-repeated principle that true parental love requires appropriate chastening, and chastening rightly received generates blessing and happiness. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24).

This is effective child psychology, assuming that the chastening is remedial rather than vindictive and is applied in love rather than anger. But the main teaching of such passages goes beyond parental child-training methods to the grand theme of God’s spiritual training of His children for eternity.

This thought is often expressed in the Psalms (94:12, etc.), but it is especially clear in the Proverbs. “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

The classic passage on this theme is Hebrews 12:5-11, which begins by quoting the above verses in Proverbs, and eventually concludes as follows: “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).

We are “sons and daughters” of “the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18), and it is essential that we be properly trained for our glorious future as “kings and priests unto God” (Revelation 1:6). We must learn to behave in ways appropriate to our high calling as children of the King, and this requires the divine rod at appropriate times. In His closing words to the last of the seven churches, Christ reminds us again: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19). HMM


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