Have you ever been a guest to someone? Perhaps you stayed in someone’s home for a short period and were a “house guest.” Maybe someone invited you to their home for dinner so you were a “dinner guest.” Being a guest means you are spending a brief period somewhere different, a place or an occasion that is not your own. When you go to another person’s home for dinner, do you tell them what they need to serve? Do you criticize the way they set the table? When you stay as a house guest visiting someone, do you rearrange their furniture? Do you call up the cable company and change the cable subscription?
Considering these questions probably resulted in some laughs. Most people would never think of doing these things, because you know you are a guest. You know that you are only temporarily spending time there. You know it’s not your home; it’s not your place to change the way things run.
Now consider being God’s guest. Do you know that you are God’s guest? Yes, God’s guest. God created us and we are only here a short time. Verse 5 says, “You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to You; at best, each of us is but a breath” (NLT). Yes, life is but a breath. James wrote, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (4:14 NLT). As God’s guest, do you act like a guest? Do you realize you are “a traveler passing through” this place? Do you thank your gracious Host? Or have you become a rude guest who has decided you will hunker down and change the order of things?
“Hear my prayer, O LORD! Listen to my cries for help! Don’t ignore my tears. For I am Your guest–a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me.” – Psalm 39:12 [NLT]
I do not like the taste of grapefruit; however, I read many articles claiming that it would be beneficial for my health so I decided to start drinking grapefruit juice daily. The problem is that I cannot stand the taste. The first time I had some of the juice, I could not even force it down; it made me sick just tasting a sip of the juice. But I knew that it would be beneficial to me so I continued to drink it daily and still have a glass every morning.
Something that leaves a bitter taste in most mouths is discipline. People don’t generally like to be disciplined. Who wants to get a write-up at work for being late? What child wants to be grounded? Yet discipline can help us to grow as well as to correct our behavior. Discipline is for a reason. Discipline is for our best. Yet we have become a society against discipline. People are able to buy themselves out of a punishment. Children are un-grounded thirty minutes later because a parent “feels bad,” doesn’t want the child to get a complex or doesn’t feel like taking the time to enforce the punishment.
It is no different when it comes to the Lord’s discipline. We do not like discipline. We complain about our circumstances. There are situations we go through that are to help us to be holy as God has called us to be as His children, and we don’t recognize the discipline or don’t wish to accept the discipline. Proverbs 3:11-12 states: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (NIV). God loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to be living in sin. He set you apart for a reason. You can choose to ignore or you can choose to submit. Submission will lead you toward the goodness, to holiness, to life.
Read Psalm 39 and see how David reacts to discipline.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, 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. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
– Hebrews 12: 7-11 [NIV]