April 18, 2012 Leave a comment
My children Leroy, Shukurani and I have been studying the journey of the Hebrews from Egypt to Canaan and learning some real tough lessons especially about the righteous requirements of God’s people. There are days when we have sat perplexed at The Hand of God, His Discipline Hand, meted on those He had loved out of bondage and was lovingly but firmly leading to a place of extreme blessing. ‘Its too hard Lord! Aren’t You being overly zealous with that one? And sometimes even, so what wrong did they do in that situation? Weren’t they right? How were they to know LORD God that You were thinking differently about this particular case than in the other case?‘ Yet, despite all of this, speaking for myself at least, my awe, my respect and my love for God has been built simply by knowing that He is specific in the way He wants our love for Him to be manifested.
We are in 1 Samuel now, and my awe increases…the Ark of Agreement has been captured and we were giggling about the tumors of the cities in which it was held captive. Uneasy giggles…not really wanting to be on the offense against our Holy and Awesome God. We see ourselves constantly in God’s people, and okay, again speaking for myself, every time they fall and God deals with them, I too have felt the sting of His Loving Hand of Discipline. I am learning that following God is not a part time occupation…I don’t decide when its convenient for me to obey Him and then put off obeying Him until He puts things into perspective for me. I obey. Even when it breaks and perplexes, I am called to obey. Simple truth but difficult to live out.
So we are again back to the woes of the Philistines, their idols that fell on their faces before the Ark of Agreement, the tumors that plunged their cities into death’s abyss…and this time, from the enemy of God’s people I learn a real lesson. God used them as a cane, a whip by which He punished the idolatry of His people. His people who had forgotten that they could only live their best lives in direct relevance to Him. They forgot. So God raised His Loving and Discipline Hand and the whip He held in there was Philistine. And it’s landing is accurate. And Philistine went rejoicing…thinking perhaps that in winning one battle against God’s people, in proving to all and sundry that the Hebrews were at that point outside the favor of God, that they had won God from the Israelites. They took the Ark and presumed that they had taken away Israels God.Until He begins to raise His Hand at them as well…and His Presence in their irreverent atmosphere, begins to bit and breed tumors. You see, God’s Standards do not change with latitude or longitude…He hates sin the same, wherever it is committed.
My mind goes back to my parent’s rod while I was growing up. My mother’s actually. You would be sent out to get a stick and each step towards finding the ‘perfect instrument’ to tear out your sin from you was both torturous and educational. I would pluck several sticks because I knew my mother would throw out the thinner ones…and after discipline was meted, I remembered that she ALWAYS did this one thing: she broke the stick that she had used to spank me and THREW IT AWAY. Perhaps…just in case the stick got it into its mindless self, that because it had been used to discipline me, that it had perhaps taken my place as my parent’s beloved child. I cant remember even once, finding my mother or father, lovingly stroking the cane with which they had spanked me. NOT EVEN ONCE. And yet…
How often as a beloved whip in the Hand of God have I felt that God’s disciplining of His other child through me gave me a superior edge over them [ahem…you can probably tell, that God is really working on my pride lately…floodlights all out on it]? When I hear others both within and outside the house of God gleefully declare the faults of a child of God, as though they found treasure that would cure their poverty of soul, I find it truly disturbing. I knew it was wrong because God talks about it in His Word. “Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles or is overthrown, Lest the Lord see it and it be evil in His eyes and displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him [to expend it upon you, the worse offender].” Proverbs 24:17-18
He tells us how to correct each other – GENTLY. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1. We are not to enjoy the fall of our brethren and their discipline, because God does not. Prophet and Judge Samuel did not become King after being sent to rebuke Saul for forgetting his place in God and to relay God’s demotion of him in Heaven’s eyes. Prophet Nathan did not get any of King David’s accolades as a God-centered victorious warrior King after being sent to pronounce God’s judgment on him, when he stole a humble man’s wife. And speaking of King David, I hope we all know that in defeating Goliath, he did not become a Philistine champion but an Israelite one, right? We DO NOT inherit any of the gains made by our brethren while they are walking well with God, when we are sent to rebuke them for walking away from Him. You are given your own trophy – not theirs. A trophy for your attitude of love and a sincere desire to see your brethren restored back to God…but when you go in as an enemy of God and an enemy of His people, do not expect a hug after.