Heeding God’s Discipline

“Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with unceasing complaint in his bones; So that his life loathes bread, And his soul favorite food. His flesh wastes away from sight, And his bones which were not seen stick out. Then his soul draws near to the pit, And his life to those who bring death. If there is an angel as mediator for him, One out of a thousand, To remind a man what is right for him, Then let him be gracious to him, and say, ‘Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom’; Let his flesh become fresher than in youth, Let him return to the days of his youthful vigor; Then he will pray to God, and He will accept him, That he may see His face with joy, And He may restore His righteousness to man. He will sing to men and say, ‘I have sinned and perverted what is right, And it is not proper for me. He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, And my life shall see the light.’ Behold, God does all these things oftentimes with men, To bring back his soul from the pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life.” (Job 33:19-30).

It is amazing to see how the devil gets a foothold in the lives of men and women. One of the primary ways, as we see in the above passage, is as a result of sin. Look, if you will, at what the passage says: “Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with unceasing complaint in his bones … He will sing to men and say, ‘I have sinned and perverted what is right …”

This man had sinned, and, because of his sin, was being chastened by God with pain. At least one thing was for sure — God loved that man. “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12). The pain was a form of God’s discipline, upon a child who had done wrong, but whom God loved deeply!

How many of us are weak and frail today because of sin? Let us not be quick to think that we have not sinned, because, with sin, comes deception. In other words, today you may be experiencing the chastening power of God on account of your sin — bitterness and unforgiveness will produce this kind of judgment. However, you may be thinking, “But I have not sinned!” That is a dangerous mistake to make.

The man or woman who is quick to say, “I have not sinned,” is probably guilty of sin! We all sin, in fact, in many ways. Were someone to come up to me and say, “I think you sinned,” my response would give me away. If I responded with humility, I would have to accept the fact that I do have that tendency. The first thing I would do would be to examine my heart. (It is not a bad thing to do that, you know. It helps us draw closer to God, who is our source of strength).

Deep inside, however, I might react defensively. What a tell-tale sign that I do indeed have a problem! If we react defensively, we certainly have sinned, because we are trying to defend our own rights, which Christians are not supposed to do. Instead, as Christians, we are supposed to defend the rights of God.

There is a clear difference between the two. The first arises as a result of our relationship with God, the second arises out of a defensive, fearful, attitude, that is afraid to “lose” something which we desperately want to hold on to, because, without it, we would feel insecure. That defensive response is a clear, 100%, proof-positive assurance that we have allowed a “foothold” to get into us. In other words, as the man in the book of Job said, “I have sinned and perverted what is right”.

Even though we are all sinners and fail at times, I believe it is the latter response (the defensive one) that brings “the judgment of God” upon a person. However, if, like David, we come to God and say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting,” (Psalm 139:23-24), I believe we will be quickly on our way to complete restoration.

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 16:2)

“Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin'”? (Proverbs 20:9)

Questions: How do I react when someone approaches me about my own sin? Do I have a teachable heart, which is open to correction? If so, I will be greatly rewarded for it. Instead of God having to use severe pain to be able to “speak” to me, He will be able to use another person, who can then lead me in the way that I am supposed to go.