Comfort & Counsel

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Pointers along the way #19

Comfort in God's chastening
- Jacob Ninan

Chastening is not the same as punishment, in spirit, even though the forms may look alike. Courts and other worldly authorities mete out punishments to those who do wrong. They are expected only to consider whether the people are guilty of wrong and then to give out a just punishment. But chastening comes typically from loving parents who want their children to turn away from the wrong they have done and to turn to good ways.

God chastens His children because they are His children (Am.3:2). He also cares for the other people and would like them to become His children. He provides for their earthly needs because He is the One who created them (Mt.5:45). But it is for His children that He takes the best care. His aim is that we should become like Him in our character (Ro.8:28,29;He.12:10).

God chastens us when we do not repent after we have sinned. His intention then is that we should realise we have done wrong and repent. He wants to forgive us and get us back on the right way.

Sometimes God also chastens us after we have repented from our sins. The idea is that we should remember what we have done so that we would be careful with sin in future. This is what He did for David after he had sinned and repented (2Sa.12:13,14).

We don't like chastening. We would like to be forgiven and treated as if we had not sinned. But God knows all about our flesh. He knows that we have a tendency to take sin carelessly if we do not taste its negative results (Ec.8:11). Our fleshly tendency is to avoid admitting our sin unless we are forced to, and we would like to get away without any damage. God therefore takes special care to help us in this area.

When the chastening comes, let us not complain that it is too severe. God knows what He is doing. Let us not forget that what we really deserve is hell. Let us also not ignore what God is trying to tell us through the chastening, by trying to deal only with what we are going through externally (He.12:5). Let us see His rod and staff as a comfort, knowing that He is there watching over us for our very best (Ps.23:4).