DEVOTION:God’s Discipline Is Measured!
To the Jewish people, the punishment from God amounted to evidence that God did not care about them anymore. They knew that God does and could discipline them, but the nature of the discipline that God brought upon the Northern and the Southern kingdoms was beyond their imagination. Even though God had warned them over and over again, they never believed God could actually use such a brutal nation to punish His chosen people. Not only were the Babylonians known for their brutality, they were a pagan nation. How could God use pagans to punish His Holy Nation? Even the Prophets themselves were puzzled by this kind of punishment. Here is the announcement of the punishment:
Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.
Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour; they all come intent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them. Then they sweep past like the wind and go on— guilty people, whose own strength is their god.” Habakkuk 1:5-11
You see! The brutality of the Babylonians was known and recognized in heaven. It is no wonder the Jews could not believe what God had done. Now here is the reaction of the Prophet Habakkuk to this announcement:
Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you] will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy? Habakkuk 1:12-17
In our passage today, God gives an answer to the Jews. This answer is hidden in a message of hope that God gave to the exiles through the prophet Jeremiah:
“Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, for I am with you,” declares the Lord. “Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.” Jeremiah 46:27-28
Did you see it? Did you hear how God answered the Jews? Here is what God said about His discipline for the Jewish people:
I will discipline you but only in due measure
This is where I got our title for today. God’s discipline is measured. In other words, the discipline fits the rebellion. To state it differently, it is the right amount of punishment needed to turn you around. In reference to the punishment of the people of Judah, their exile was the only thing that was able to turn them away from worshipping other gods. The truth is, it worked. From the time of the Babylonian captivity to this day, idolatry has never been a problem for the nation of Israel. Surely, this was measured discipline.
- In some Christian circles, everything bad that comes into our lives is blamed on Satan. This is part of the prosperity theology. While it is true God wants His people to prosper, He also disciplines them when they rebel. However, if you believe in this kind of theology, you will suffer or miss out on the following:
- You will fail to recognized the discipline of God
- When that happens, you miss out on the benefit or the intended purpose of the discipline.
- Because God will not let you get away until you learn what He intends to teach you, you will end up experiencing more discipline until you recognize that it is God who is bringing this punishment to your life.
- However, for those who understand the role of discipline in the lives of believers, sometimes God’s discipline may appear to be too much. But according to our lesson today, any discipline is measured to fit the nature of our sins or rebellion.
- Is it possible that what you are going through today is God’s discipline?
- Have you been blaming Satan for it?
- Or are you complaining that God is unfair because what you are going through does not fit the crime?
- How has today’s lesson changed or helped your understanding of God’s discipline?
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only in due measure;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”
God’s Discipline Is Measured!
Read: Jeremiah 45-46
Pastor Shadrack [email protected]