February 18, 2024
- By Ed Powell
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"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." Hosea 10:12
The message from God through His prophet Hosea was God's steadfast and righteous love for His people. Repeatedly, God manifested His Love through His care and concern, through His provision and protection, through His grace and mercy, seeking to "draw them unto Himself" so they could know Him as their Everlasting Father and their Mighty God. He uses discipline to turn them from their sin, direct them in His way, and train them in the behavior glorifying to Him. The punishment was not to "give them what they deserve," but to lead them from their "destructive pursuit" to a "constructive alliance" with Him, free from their self-imposed bondage. This is precisely the Lord's intention in disciplining us today. It proves His divine love for us. The motive for His discipline is for "our good and His glory."
What happens when we embrace His discipline with a receptive and responsive spirit? What changes take place in our lives? Let me list just a few. It results in a cleansing of our hearts and a freedom and liberty of spirit. It leads to restoration, reconciliation, and the warmth of His Love and abiding presence. It causes us to adjust our priorities and clearly focus our vision. We become an instrument of righteousness and a channel of blessing. We develop a defined direction of our way according to His way. Our faith becomes anchored in the truth, and our life is made steadfast. The purpose of our pursuit becomes the expression of His leading.
"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:10,11). The discipline is only effective with those who are receptive and responsive to its intended purpose.
Michael Green, in his book "1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching," gives an experience of Andrew Murray, who was suffering terrible pain in his back. While eating breakfast, his hostess told him of a lady downstairs who was in great trouble and asked his advice for her. Andrew Murray handed her a piece of paper on which he had been writing and said, "Give her this advice I have written for myself; it may be that she will find it helpful." He had written, "First, God brought me here. It is by His will I am in this place. In that I will rest. Next, He will keep me here in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child. Then, He will make this trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. And lastly, in His good time, He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows. Therefore, I am here by God's appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time; therefore I will praise His Name." "STAND STILL and see the salvation of the Lord"...."BE STILL and know that I am God"...."WAIT ON THE LORD, and He shall strengthen thine heart." May we "bend our hearts" to the plan and purpose of His will each day!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2024-02-18
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