12 Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge.
Does discipline have a negative connotation in your ear?
Because this topic is not touched very often in churches, it has become increasingly more and more difficult to know the difference between the Lord’s discipline and the wrath of God! Therefore, we must learn to tell the difference because we are told on the one hand to apply our hearts to the Lords discipline, while on the other hand, that we are not children of wrath.
As children of discernment we want to understand the things that we are experiencing in our life. That means knowing the difference between the trials and temptations of Satan, the discipline of the Lord, and the mighty wrath of God.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.“
The Lord does not discipline to no effect: His discipline avails great things in the hearts of those who love knowledge. It brings about correction and righteousness in the lives of His children.
“A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”
We have all witnessed the difference between a wise and foolish children- the wise children accept the counsel of their fathers because they know the love and insight their fathers have for them. Foolish children run headstrong into things, scoffing at the rebuke of their fathers and ignoring their wise counsel.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 reveals to us that God has given us a new heart and a new mind; He has caused His word to live and dwell within us. Let the wise children of God earnestly desire the discipline of God and grow in maturity and wisdom towards Him.
I’m afraid that this correlation continues to fade in our modern world as many children do not have wise fathers to offer them the loving counsel they so desperately need.
However, it is not so with our Father in Heaven. He is both loving and wise and His discipline, though often times stern, does not break His children, but guides them. The discipline of the Lord causes you to grow in wisdom and understanding towards righteousness and strengthens you to resist sin and its pitfalls.
“When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life. To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.”
The commandments of God have been given to lead us in the ways of life- the living Word welling up inside us like a living spring. In all good ways we have the counsel and command of the Holy Spirit to bring light unto our path. Therefore, the discipline of the Lord is like a fathers firm hand outstretched to restrain us from going down the way of evil and rejecting His commandments that lead to life.
Here the difference between the discipline of the Lord and the trials and temptations of the Devil are distinguished and made evident: our Fathers discipline restrains us from evil and guides us into obedience towards His commandments. The temptations of Satan deceive us into rebelling against the Fathers outstretched hand and cause us to go down the path of evil.
Satan’s temptations may be sly and covert, but the Fathers discipline is firm and true. He does not hide His ways from His children, from those who learn to honor their Father.
Just as the Psalmist has said, “I will not die, but live, and tell of the works of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death! Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD” (Psalm 118:17-18).
The Lord’s discipline does not hand us over unto death, but causes us to live and tell of His works: it opens to us the gates of righteousness, which are Christ, that we may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord!
To restrain us from paths that lead unto condemnation…
1ST CORINTHIANS 11:31-32
“31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along withthe world.“
Satan has deceived many in this generation into believing that they should not judge or have any discernment whatsoever. Therefore, the hand of the Lord may be seen disciplining His children in our generation because we have not judged and corrected ourselves.
A wise child will receive the discipline of our Father in Heaven because His discipline saves us, but woe to that rebellious child who scorns the discipline of the Father and does not accept His restraint! That child’s path will lead to condemnation!
“So the helpless has hope, And unrighteousness must shut its mouth. “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.“
There’s no partiality with God: let each man, helpless as he may be, rejoice because the reproof of the Lord has befallen him and caused him to straighten up his ways!
“But to the wicked God says, “What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take My covenant in your mouth? “For you hate discipline, And you cast My words behind you. “When you see a thief, you are pleased with him, And you associate with adulterers.”
Interwoven into the covenant that God has made in Christ Jesus is His hand of discipline.
This passage speaks with love to warn the weary and urge the rebellious child to lift his face to the Lord’s discipline: do not hate the discipline of the Lord and cast His words behind you in your delight of sin and communion with darkness!
I cannot expound on this, or articulate the meaning of God’s word on this subject better than the revelation contained in His scriptures already. Therefore, I will merely put forth this question to my readers: do you believe the above passage and accept its warning?
“18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.“
What does the Lord counsel us to do regarding His discipline and reproof?
“therefore, be zealous and repent!” (v19).
Having the wisdom to identify the Lord’s discipline in our life is only the starting point: we are to zealously seek it and repent when we find it! Let our hearts and minds discern and humbly respond to the discipline of the Lord!
If the discipline of the Lord leads to life and righteousness, then what does God’s wrath accomplish?
“36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
The first thing we should begin to notice is that God addresses His discipline to His children, but says that His wrath abides on those who do not believe upon His Son.
“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.“
Furthermore God says that His wrath is revealed from heaven against all forms of evil because He has manifested Himself to the world without excuse and they still suppressed the Truth. His wrath is not random, or unjust, but is poured out upon those who are without excuse.
In vv25-27 God says that He has given them over to their own sin and the natural punishments of their sin.
We must realize that much of what we see in the world today exists as the natural outcome of our own sins. Because we persist in our iniquity we also dwell in our own depravity and pay the price as such.
In short, God has handed us over to the natural punishments of our own sins, and is storing up and reserving His wrath for the day of wrath: “5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).
The Day of Wrath…
“18 Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On the day of the LORD’S wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth.”
God’s wrath is poured out upon all the inhabitants of the earth in His Day of Wrath– their silver and gold, and all the might of nations will not be able to deliver them from this mighty and terrifying wrath that will utterly and completely devour them!
Of God’s wrath, He says, “1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” (Revelation 16:1)
The Wrath of God is a day of destiny. A time foreknown by Him and Him alone, a mighty and terrifying thing- the inhabitants of the world who receive it will not question themselves and ask “is this God’s wrath?” It will be plain to all as it is something the likes of which have never been witnessed upon the face of the earth before.
This brings me to the question of identity; who are you?
Are you an inhabitant of the earth? If you are, then you are surely at peril of falling under His wrath in that frightful day!
Or, are you a Child of God and an inhabitant of the Kingdom of God?
Listen to the message of hope the Children of God receive regarding this:
1ST THESSALONIANS 5:9-10
“9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.”
The Lord’s death and resurrection would be meaningless if His salvation could not shelter us from that Day of Wrath in which the Lord will consume the world in plagues, fire and brimstone, and great destruction.
“1I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3” You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
We have been grafted in as part of the True vine. Therefore we also will be pruned and trimmed by the Vinedresser (God). Branches that become sick and that do not bear fruit are cut off, and indeed there are branches (people) that are cut out, tossed away and thrown into the fire to be consumed by the wrath of God.
The discipline of the Lord is reserved for His children and administered for their benefit to restrain them from sin and guide them on the paths of life.
The temptations of Satan cause us to go astray, rebel against the commandments of God, and lead us into error and destruction. They bring blasphemy and unrighteous living according to the carnality of our flesh.
God’s wrath is stored and reserved for the frightful Day of Wrath when He will pour out His burning wrath upon all the wicked and rebellious inhabitants of the world who refused His salvation, suppressed the Truth, and welcomed the deceit of Satan.
This post has briefly dealt with a vast topic of great importance. Below are additional passage references, especially regarding the work of Satan, which I did not address at great length in this post.
PASSAGE REFERENCE LIST
- Proverbs 6:23
- Proverbs 6:22-24
- Proverbs 12:1-3
- Proverbs 13:1-3
- Proverbs 23:11-13
- Job 5:16-18
- Psalm 50:16-18
- Psalm 118:17-19
- 1 Corinthians 11:31-33
- Hebrews 12:4-6
- Hebrews 12:5-7
- Revelation 3:18-20
- 2 Samuel 11-12
- Psalm 51
- Zephaniah 1:18
- Revelation 16:1
- Romans 1:18-20
- Romans 2:5
- Genesis 18
- Genesis 19
- 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10