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]
Proverbs 10:17 says, “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray” (ESV). Another translation speaks about the one who “heeds discipline” as opposed to the one who “ignores correction.” This verse basically says two things: The person who accepts discipline (correction) will be on the path of life. The person who fights again correction will go astray. Some translations even mention these people leading others astray as well.
No one likes to be told they are doing something wrong. No one likes to face the music and accept correction. But we need to do this to develop into who God created us to be—to grow in character and wisdom. Only with correction are we able to confront our faults and change. Only with discipline are we able to have the opportunity for more, not only for our own lives but to lead by example for others as well.
Many times we like to avoid discipline. From childhood on up, it is a way of life for us. Oftentimes we grumble when our parents punish us. We throw a fit when we lose privileges. We get upset when we are punished. Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid” (NIV). That sounds kind of harsh. If we hate correction (discipline) we are stupid? The actual word for stupid means brutish and it relates to the word burn or kindle. It represents a life that has no opportunity to be more, a life that can never become as originally designed. My friends, God’s discipline is helpful. God’s discipline should be welcomed and praised. God’s discipline helps us to continue on the path to life. God’s discipline helps us to lead a godly life to point others to Jesus rather than leading astray. God’s discipline refines us.
One of the hardest things for me to do as a parent is to call my kids (and my dogs) to account. When they do something to not meet expectations, it hurts me to have to hold them accountable. Nonetheless it has to be done. I love them and I want the best for them. They aren’t too keen on facing the consequences, but they come to understand it is for their own good.
God calls us to account too. He says that those He loves He corrects, He guides and prods. And why? It is “so that they’ll live at their best.” He wants the best for you. The best. Not second best. Not an okay life. Not a good life. THE BEST. So you will be prodded. You will be corrected. You will be guided. All because He loves you and wants the best for you.
Let us thank God that He calls us to account. Let us praise Him for His correction. Let us thank Him that He wants only the best for us. Now “up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!”
“The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!” – Revelation 3:19 [MSG]
Rules. Instructions. Decrees. Commands. Regulations. Directives. Orders. Laws. Statutes. Stipulations. Guidelines. Directions. Requirements. Ordinances. Mandates. What words that bring us joy! Not usually. Many people skip over instructions. Some people try to figure out a way to break the rules or twist the laws. Some people barely like to make the requirements. Ordinances really do not include me. But in Psalm 19, David speaks about God’s Commandments “bringing joy to the heart.”
David says many things in today’s verses. He uses the words: perfect, trustworthy, right, and clear. I love this description. There’s no twisting His commands. There’s no way to barely follow. There’s no chance that it doesn’t include me. We typically think of rules as a negative—as a way to restrict us from doing what we would like, but look at how David describes the instructions of the Lord. They REVIVE THE SOUL. They MAKE WISE THE SIMPLE. They BRING JOY TO THE HEART.
Finally, he says they are clear—they GIVE INSIGHT FOR LIVING and they BRING JOY TO THE HEART. We look at so many self-help books and watch so many videos on how to do things. But everything is right here for us—and the Lord’s instructions are CLEAR. Why do we make it so complicated? Today, consider what the Lord’s instructions mean to you. When you start seeing the reason the Lord gave them to us, you will start to have this JOY that David spoke about in this psalm. You will start to say, “He loves me THAT much” and “He cares for me THAT much” – and it will bring joy to your heart. As your love grows, you will start to find joy in all of the Lord’s commands. You will even enjoy reading Leviticus.
“The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living.” – Psalm 19:7-8 [NLT]
In Judges 7, the Israelites were battling the Midianites. If you read closely, you will note a few things. “Each man stood at his position and watched” – no one was moving forward. Everyone was watching and ready for the Lord’s instruction. They then blew their horns as the Lord had instructed and the Lord brought victory without them going forward into battle.
We are told to be prepared. We are to be prepared for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24). We are to be prepared to give an answer to others (1 Peter 3). We are to be prepared. In Judges 7, the Israelites were dressed for battle. They were ready to fight. But something happened so the fight wasn’t like what one would expect. The Lord acted in such a way that they simply needed to be prepared and blow the horns.
Be prepared. Understand that there will be times when you will need to do more work than others. There are moments when God wants you to do the work and there are times when He wants you prepared to watch Him work a miracle or do a great work. So keep watching and keep yourself prepared. Expect God to move. You may be amazed by what you see.
“Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.” – Judges 7:21-22 [NLT]
When you consider the phrase “they are your life” you might be able to substitute the word “they” for many different things. Someone might say “spouse” or “kids.” Others might say “career” or “education.” Some people would say “money” or “fitness.” Today’s verse is speaking of words that were spoken—words that were given to the Israelites to obey. With obedience came long life.
We do not like the word “obedience.” It does not always appear to be fun and it is not always easy. It might require going against the grain. It might require losing some friends or having to decline some invitations. It does not always look appealing, yet the commands we are given are ALWAYS given for our benefit. Here the text promises a long life.
Today’s verse applies to us just as it did to the Israelites. The words God has for us – the promises, the commands – they are not empty words. We can build our lives around them and we will “enjoy a long life.” The life we enjoy is an eternal life with Jesus Christ. What a beautiful promise!
“These instructions are not empty words–they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River.” – Deuteronomy 32:47 [NLT]
In Exodus 12, the people are given instructions: “be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in hand” (v. 11 NLT). They were getting dressed for travel. These people were slaves, slaves that were not allowed to leave due to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. But God was preparing the Israelites for the Lord’s Passover. God promised that they would soon be leaving.
Getting dressed for travel was an act of faith, trusting that God truly was going to do as He said. Are you dressed for travel? Are you prepared to do whatever God has called you to do? Are you believing the promises of God? The Word of God?
We might not need to have sandals on and a walking stick in hand, but we should always be prepared to walk in faith. Trusting God—trusting His Word, His character, His promises—that’s faith. Believing Him. And the only way you can believe Him is to know Who He is and what He promises. That requires prayer. That requires reading His Word. So are your sandals on? Are you ready?
“These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the LORD’s Passover.” – Exodus 12:11 [NLT]
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’”– Matthew 2:13-15 [NIV]
Joseph was told to “Get up” in 2:13 and we read a verse later, “So he got up.” We don’t read of excuses. We don’t read of Joseph doing anything else other than obeying the word of God. Again in verse 20, he is told to “Get up.” Once again in verse 21, it says, “He got up.” Again there is no discussion about Joseph making excuses or doing anything else other than obeying the word of God.
Joseph is a great example of a man who walked in faithful obedience. After a visit from an angel, he married Mary despite considering the possibility of sending her away quietly because of her pregnancy. Now we see him not once, but twice, relocating at the snap of a finger.
Is God calling you to “Get up”? Is God pointing you in a particular direction? If so, is your response to follow? Are you sitting and constructing a list of excuses and other alternatives? Are you dragging your feet? Today, consider what God is calling you to do right now. It might not be something simple or something welcomed—but perhaps there’s something God is working out within His big picture of life that we cannot grasp.
I had just dropped my two children off to the bus stop and was walking the dog for our daily adventure. I was enjoying the warm sun and the fresh air. I looked ahead to see another group of children gathered together at a second bus stop. They entered the bus and as the bus pulled away and the group of remaining parents walked away, I noticed a man and a young boy.
The young boy was probably four years old, and he looked at his father with glowing eyes. I was too far away to hear what he said to his dad, but I knew by their actions, that the son had just challenged his dad to a race. And they were off. I could hear the laughter as they both ran down the path. The father was sure to not run at full speed so that he could keep a watchful eye on his son, and keep his son enjoying the race. They ran together till they reached their home. It was such a small moment that I witnessed during my morning trip, but it was such a special time– and probably not only for myself.
God tells us to be mindful of how we interact with other people. When it comes to parenting, we are not supposed to raise our children to be filled with anger and bitterness. We are to raise our children in the Lord. We are to be ready to offer grace and love. We are freely to give and sacrifice. God has gave us such great examples of how we can be a good parent, and a good friend, child, sibling, teacher, etc. We simply need to love like Him, to show grace like Him, to sacrifice like Him. We simply must seek Him.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
– Ephesians 6:4 [NASB]