December 27 – Family life includes discipline

Read Amos 3:1-4:13

Hebrews 12:6 gives us a general principle of how our heavenly Father interacts with those He calls His own:

“…the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

That principle expressed in the New Testament is restated and illustrated in the Old.  In fact, you read in Amos 3:2 of God’s sovereign selection of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Of all of the families on the face of the earth, He chose them.  What He says in the next breath should not catch us by surprise.  On the basis of His intimate relationship with them, He points out, “therefore I will punish you for all your sins” (3:2b).

Have you ever wondered why godless people seem to “get away with” all kinds of evil?  First of all, it is important to note, that no one “gets away with” anything.  Without the grace offered to us in Christ, each person will reap what he/she has sown (Gal. 6:7).  Even if it seems that God has failed to bring punishment to a person who is not His child, that is only temporary.  Judgment will one day come.  But this apparent lack of discipline may also be the result of the fact that the person is not yet a child of God.  Picture it this way…if you observe a child doing something wrong in public, chances are your response will be different if the child is yours!

Keep in mind, the judgment of Assyrian exile they were about to experience was being added on top of other disciplinary methods He had already attempted.  He had caused them to hunger, withheld rain, destroyed their harvest, and sent plagues.  Still they had not returned to Him.  Through this final act, He was seeking to lovingly catch the attention of those He loved in order that they might turn back to Him.

Has the Lord been using His discipline in your life in order to catch your attention?  That discipline is not always a direct punishment for sin.  Sometimes it is adversity that is designed to strengthen your dependence upon and develop your intimacy with Him.  Rather than angrily rejecting such difficulties, embrace them as loving gifts from Him.

Steve Kern

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