The Chastening of the Lord
“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord” (Heb. 12:5). As earthly parents sometimes find it necessary to reprove, correct and chastise their children for acts of disobedience, just so does our heavenly Father. We read in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews, “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.”
Where parents adopt only two or three methods of performing this unpleasant task, God has adopted several. Now, since His dealings are so peculiar and somewhat difficult to be understood by beginners, we feel impressed to describe to the convert, in brief, some of the many methods God uses in chastening His children. In the following lines will be found some of the most prominent ones used by Him in performing this essential manifestation of His love.
1. If we are careless, talkative and prayerless during the day, He will reprove us by causing us to have a dry time in the meeting that night. He has a unique way of putting us to bed without our supper right in the love-feast and testimony meeting.
2. Sometimes when the contribution box is being passed the Lord will say to put in this or that amount, or subscribe this or that amount for the foreign missionary work. If we fail to obey, we may have to pay out twice that amount for medicines, dentistry, plumbing work, etc.
3. Our heavenly Father in His mercy may at times reprove His children for self-exposure, supping late, overtaxing their strength and dressing too thinly, by permitting them to contract a disease and thus suffer the consequences therefrom. No doubt this is why many do not speedily recover who are anointed and prayed for. They should repent and ask God’s forgiveness for their carelessness and neglect.
The good Book says, “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11)
4. The Lord’s way of reproving extravagant and slack-handed people is to permit them to get into pressing financial circumstances just after carelessly and thoughtlessly spending money for needless adornment, vases, needless wall pictures or a gramophone. So many times after the writer has been slack-handed with money, the Lord reproves him by sending him a financial famine for “many days.”
5. His way of reproving parents for compromising with their children and not properly training them when young is to permit them when grown up to oppose, ridicule and desert them. We have seen children who were not trained when small to respect the family prayer service after becoming young men and women utterly refuse to bow, and, what is worse still, persist in walking back and forth through the room during the time of family devotion. Reader, remember Eli.
6. Quite often God’s way of reproving a man for hastily buying a farm and moving his family out of touch with the Christian people and religious services is to cause him to lose his health, lose every dollar besides and bury one or two children. Many times it takes all of this to break the spell of moneymaking and prevent his falling headlong into perdition.
7. Still again, when a person has been indiscreet and not careful in abstaining from all appearances of evil regarding the opposite sex God sometimes sharply reproves him by permitting an evil report to be circulated.
8. God’s way of administering reproof to those who refuse to obey the prompting to sing a certain song or deliver a certain message while in the meeting is to give both message and blessing to the person in the next seat or across the aisle and at the same time leave the disobedient one dry and unblessed. Take heed, reader, that no man take your blessing in the meeting or crown in heaven.
9. When Christian people grow slack in paying their tithes and commence using the Lord’s money for their personal benefit, He quite often reproves them by permitting the house to be burglarized, the purse to be lost, the crop to fail, or a heavy drop to come in the market prices.
10. His method of reproving us for taking the glory to ourselves when He has helped us to pray a good prayer, give in a helpful testimony or deliver a powerful sermon, is to let us get into the brush and fail the next time.
11. One of the methods God uses in reproving people who backslide, but get reclaimed at a later date, is to withhold or mitigate some special gift or grace which they once had. Of course they may be more free and blessed than they were before backsliding, yet all along they will be conscious of a certain loss which they may never regain on this side of the gates of death. The withheld grace may have been of the following, excessive soul-burden, quick, spiritual discernment, sublime revelations in the Scripture, the gift of persuasiveness, a high-class melting and tenderness of spirit, and a heaven-born tact to help souls through at the altar.
God may restore many of your former gifts and graces but may withhold some choice one as a reproof for your backsliding.
This loss, however, may not be visible to another being in the world except yourself.