Discipline is not fun but is necessary for fun to endure.
I’m not crazy.
If you think about it, though the action of discipline is not fun in of itself but it is the framework for joy and continual joy to successfully grow. When someone is disciplined, they are taught the difference between right and wrong. When a person that knows the difference between what is right or wrong, then they can avoid the wrong actions so that they and those around them can continue to live a life of joy. For example, to hit someone randomly is wrong because hitting someone not only brings pain but can quickly grow into more serious actions of fighting, anger, and ultimately killing. If you see the progression of the conflict, you realize that joy cannot thrive in the midst of that and relationships are slowly being broken with ever increasing move of anger. So when someone hits another and they are disciplined, the ultimate goal is actually not to punish but to teach what is wrong so that they don’t continue to engage in it for the purpose of preserving peace and joy!
But what if we were to not listen?
What if we choose to continue in our sin?
You know what is a scary form of discipline that God can do in the midst of people that will not listen? It’s when God chooses to give you exactly what you want! You may be wondering how that can be such a scary thing but what if I were to tell you that God gave you exactly everything you wanted without question? It may sound like a good deal but wait just one second! What if I were to tell you that a parent would give absolutely everything the child wanted!
If a child wanted a jar full of cookies, done!
If a child wanted to drive a car, done!
If a child wanted to walk off onto the street, done!
If the child wanted to take other children’s toys, done!
What do you think will be the end result of that type of parenting? It would not only create an adult that is entitled, selfish, without patience, and ultimately unable to have healthy and genuine relationships with other people! Looking back at it, I am glad that God says no to my requests sometimes because there are times where I don’t know what I want and what is good for me!
The LORD will eventually let Israel have the idols that they wanted despite the warnings and they reaped from those actions judgement because sometimes God has to let you have what you want so that you can realize the truth of the foolishness of your desires. In verse thirty-seven, God states,
“Then he will say, ‘Where are their gods, the rock in which they took refuge, who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you; let them be your protection!’”
After all the investment on these idols, the idols not only failed to deliver on what they offered but the price the Israelites paid was not worth it! The idols that the Israelites invested in did not give what they wanted and eventually left them empty but the LORD in the midst of this brokenness will bring them life that comes with His presence if they repent.
The purpose of the discipline of God is not judgment but joy and specifically the joy that comes from a sustained relationship with Him. In verse thirty-nine, the Lord says that he wounds and heals and that is what true love is! A true friend is one that is willing to rebuke but with rebuke that comes with fellowship to bring restoration and healing. God rebukes us and disciplines us so that he can separate us from the things that corrupt us which that process of separation can be painful but like any good medicine, it will taste bad in the moment but heal us in the process.
Today, if the Lord is disciplining us directly or indirectly through the people around us, let us stay humble enough to not close our ears and give attitude but listen and contemplate as to what the real purpose of it all is!