As I have aged, I realized the great blessing of being disciplined. When younger, the word discipline was a cruel one we tried to avoid. No one likes discipline. We do not usually request or desire discipline. Discipline is punishing someone to correct poor behavior or disobedience. Discipline trains people to be obedient people.
The Bible tells us that anyone God disciplines is “blessed” or “joyful.” The world looks at the discipline of the Lord as wrath and usually describe it as harsh and unreasonable. As a child of God, hopefully you understand that God disciplines us as a father disciplines a child. It is for our own good. Discipline helps us to grow. Discipline protects and teaches us. Discipline is a blessing.
Today, thank the Lord for His instruction. Thank Him for His discipline. Thank Him for seeking the best for you. Thank Him for His love. Praise Him for He alone is good, and He alone deserves all honor, glory, and praise. I pray that you are joyfully disciplined.
“Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.” – Psalm 94:12 [NLT]
“Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good. So obey the commands of the LORD your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him.” – Deuteronomy 8:5-6 [NLT]
Moses was told to take off his sandals for he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:5). Joshua was told to take off his sandals for he was standing on holy ground (Joshua 5:15). Holy means set apart or sacred. One of my favorite passages references Isaiah’s commission. Isaiah sees the Lord sitting on His throne and He is in complete awe and reverence as he hears the words, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.” He knows he is unclean. He knows he is undeserving.
It is important to approach God with fear and awe. The fear is not the fear we consider when we typically speak of fear. When Proverbs 1 speaks of the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom, it doesn’t mean we are frightened as we are when watching a horror movie. Fearing God means that you have a fear of disobeying and displeasing God which would result in judgment and a disconnection from Him. It is about reverence and submission. God is holy and exalted above all. It is approaching with humility.
Yes, the blood of Jesus has cleansed us and when we repent we are forgiven of our sins. Yes, the veil has been torn and we can approach God once again. But it is important that we still approach God with fear and awe. The song says you have a friend in Jesus, and you do, but that is to be treasured not stomped on. When you approach God in prayer, in church, wherever—don’t take it for granted. Focus on Him. Remember He is holy and you too are to be holy. May your heart be filled with a passion and desire to worship, to truly worship Him, with all that you have and all that you are, each and every day.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ’Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’” – Isaiah 6:1-5 [NIV]
God wants to be your God. Isn’t that awesome? God offers us the greatest blessing—Himself! How great is our God? How blessed are we?
In the Old Testament we read about the Tabernacle. It was God’s way of creating a way for His presence to dwell on earth in the midst of His people. Later Solomon built the Temple and God’s glory went into the Temple. Disobedience caused God’s glory to depart from the Temple (see Ezekiel 10), but God had other plans.
In John 1, we read that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (ESV). Once again God sent up a tent. The Tabernacle was back. Jesus walked the earth. After Jesus was crucified and rose again, He sent us the Advocate, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit—to dwell within us. We became the temple. And one day Revelation promises that God’s glory will fill the entire earth. He wants to be your God. How awesome is that?
“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” – Genesis 17:7-8 [NIV]
Elijah came on the scene with no introduction and announced the Word of God. He told the people there would be no rain, upholding what was said in Deuteronomy 28:24 for those in disobedience. Ravens brought him food and when the brook dried up, he went to the widow of Zarephath and God provided.
Elijah then had a showdown with the prophets of Baal. As Elijah watched, the prophets could not get Baal to produce fire. Elijah poured 12 jars of water in a trench and God produced fire that drank up all of the water and burned the surrounding stones. It was an amazing display of God’s power, but then Elijah ran in fear and hid himself in a cave.
God approached Elijah and asked him – What are you doing here? There was incredible wind, an earthquake and fire but God was not in any of them. Then came a gentle whisper. Elijah was reminded of God’s greatness. There are moments when we need to be reminded of God’s greatness – when fear and doubt creep in and try to discourage us. Today, ask yourself how great is our God? How great is our God! Step out of the cave.
“When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” – 1 Kings 19:13 [NIV]
Saul did not follow what the Lord had commanded. Samuel told Saul that the kingdom would be taken from him as a result of his disobedience. Saul was hoping that he could get his status to change and as Samuel turned to leave, he reached out and grabbed at Samuel’s robe which ended up tearing. Samuel then told Saul that God doesn’t lie and He will not change His mind. He is not human!
We are all self-centered to a degree. When we are born we have a long period of time where it is all about self gratification. Then we go through a “me phase.” The toys are “mine.” We get older but things do not change where we are suddenly all focused elsewhere and not on self. When there is a group photo taken of your class, your family, your team—who do you look for on that photo? You look for you. In the same way, as you read a book, you have YOUR own perspective that you have while reading. We relate to books about things that we are interested in—things that mean something to us. If I was given a book on auto mechanics or a book on crocheting, I would not even open the book. I would donate it to the library and never see it again.
There is a danger when we consider God as a human. Yes Jesus walked the earth as a human; however, we need to be cautious when we are reading Scripture and when we were going about life, that we do not consider God as a human. There is a tendency to want to consider Him like us. If we can make Him like us—we can change His mind to do what we want Him to do for us.
“And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!” – 1 Samuel 15:29 [NLT]
Saul was awaiting the arrival of Samuel so that he could consult with the Lord for battle. Samuel was late in arriving so Saul decided to take things into his own hands. His men were starting to get antsy so he felt he needed to do something. Instead of waiting for Samuel to present to the Lord the burnt offering, Saul offered it up. This was not something he was supposed to do – he disobeyed the Lord’s commands.
When Samuel arrived later, he asked what Saul had done. Saul painted a portrait of some of his men leaving and said he felt “compelled” to offer the burnt offering. Compelled means “forced.” He broke the Lord’s command (disobedience) so as to present a sacrifice to seek the Lord’s favor. Saul did not understand that God desires obedience over sacrifice. We should do both; however, if you are not obeying then is your heart really in the sacrifice?
Obedience is not a word we enjoy. It requires that we follow commands. There are some commands that are to protect us, to help us, etc. There are some commands that we are given to guide us in treating the Lord God as holy. Today is a good day to remember that God is holy. We serve a holy God. Our God desires obedience before sacrifice.
“He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, ‘Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’ And Saul offered up the burnt offering.” – 1 Samuel 13:8-9 [NLT]
It is great to be passionate and focused on something. It is good to work hard at whatever you do as if working for the Lord (Colossians 3:17). But as Todd Adkins says, it “doesn’t matter how hard you work if you’re working on the wrong things.” The question is—are you working on the wrong things?
To answer that question, we need to have an understanding of God’s will. We need to understand our purpose in life. We also need to have a good understanding of God’s Word. So how do we understand God’s will and word and our purpose? We need to look to Him who has the answers. I cannot tell you your purpose—only God can direct your path. I cannot tell you God’s will for your life—only God through the Holy Spirit can provide the enlightenment you need. I can help you understand some Bible passages—only you can take them as your own and do something with it.
Sometimes working at the wrong things means SIN, that horrible three-letter word. It might sound bad that some people work so hard at sinning, but when you get caught lying to someone, you will find yourself lying to more and more people in an attempt to not let the first lie get uncovered. That is working hard at the wrong things. An affair, a lie, a theft—can all lead us down a road we should never travel. Today, examine your current situation. Focus on Him- His will, His word, and His purpose for your life. Keep the passion on working for the Lord, not working on the wrong things.
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” – Jeremiah 2:13 [NIV]