September 9 – Lament – A Trip to the Father’s Woodshed

Read Lamentations 2:1-22

Did you know a ping-pong paddle serves two purposes? You might not. The primary purpose, of course, is to play ping-pong.

But I will always remember a secondary purpose:  It was a great instrument for discipline in our family when I was a boy. My father rarely spanked us, but when he did, he often used a ping pong paddle. More than 60 years have passed, and I still remember that paddle.

I remember, however, far more than the instrument of punishment that he chose. I remember the look of sorrow in his eyes when he knew that my brother or I had disobeyed him. The tears in his eyes served as lasting reminders of how much he loved us.

Because of the love and discipline of my own father, it has not been hard for me to grasp the discipline of my Heavenly Father. “We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness”  (Hebrews 12:9-10 – NIV).

God’s desire for his children is that we reflect His holy character before others.  The Apostle Peter wrote, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the holy one who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (Peter 1:14–15). When we stubbornly go our way instead of God’s way, our loving Father in heaven brings discipline into our lives.

In Lamentations 2, Jeremiah describes the evidences of discipline God brought to His people long ago because of their sinful behavior. They lost strength and vitality (vv. 3-4), experienced personal anguish (v.5), felt abandoned and empty (vv.6-8) and encountered total humiliation and loss of worth (vv. 9-16) … all because of their sin.

God is merciful and patient with us, but He will not allow us to ignore His warnings and produce havoc in our own lives and the lives of those around us.   Perhaps you are encountering the discipline of a Father who loves you today. He wants your undivided loyalty to Him and longs for you to repent.

Whom will you serve today? The Lord of glory or the fleeting pleasures of sin? The choice is yours to make, and the consequences are lasting.

Bob Fetterhoff

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