Thursday, March 8, 2012

Discipline and Vengeance

 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD,
        and whom you teach out of your law,
    to give him rest from days of trouble,
        until a pit is dug for the wicked.
    For the LORD will not forsake his people;
        he will not abandon his heritage;
    for justice will return to the righteous,
        and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Psalm 94:12-15

This psalm shows the difference in the vengeance of the Lord and the discipline of the Lord.  I guess this is somewhat of a continuation of yesterday's post.  I needed a word of encouragement, and God so graciously gave it to me in the next chapter!  (Don't you love reading the Bible?)  In the first part of the chapter the psalmist says, "O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth!  Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve! O LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?  (verses 1-3).
How in the world can we tell the difference in a person who claims to know the Lord but doesn't, and one who claims to know the Lord and does?  Unfortunately, we may get burned before the evidence shines forth, but there is one sure-fire way to tell, I believe, and it is this:  What is that person's response to God's punishment?  Is he resentful toward God, angry that he was found out, apt to justify his wrongdoing?  Does he shake his fist at God, or excuse himself as the victim rather than the perpetrator?  Does he become bitter in the process?  He may call himself a Christian, but if God's judgment does not produce "a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11b), it is very questionable whether that person truly has had the life-changing experience of being redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  His lie will eventually catch up with him!

On the other hand, as difficult as it may be, a proper response to discipline is a healthy sign that one is a true believer.  The psalmist says that it is a blessing.  The writer of Hebrews said that it is evidence that God loves us, that He is treating us as His children, that it is for our good, and that by it we share in His holiness. (Hebrews 12:5-11)  One who is a true Christ follower, even though he may have strayed and sinned terribly, will grow by the discipline of the Lord.  He will change his ways.  He will learn from his mistakes.  My oldest daughter fought discipline tooth and nail, but once she received it, she became a different person.  The difficult, unhappy little urchin suddenly became a happy, compliant child.  I believe that's what happens in the life of a person of true faith.  God's discipline brings out the true character of a man or woman.

As a result of this encouragement from God's Word, I say with the psalmist, "In all my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul."  (Psalm 94:19)  Isn't it a delight to know that God has it all in hand.  The wicked will not get away with their wickedness, even though they may claim the name of Christ, and the man of God will undergo the discipline of the Lord and therefore grow by it. 



good post. i think those who have been disciplined by the Lord and truly learned from it, know exactly what you mean. i do.

Heather's Blog-o-rama

I've never really thought of it that way!!! Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

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