Part 3: Fathers Discipline their Children
If you haven’t already read them, check out the earlier posts in this series:
Jonah found himself in a world of trouble as a result of his rebellion. By the time that he told the sailors that they should throw him overboard because this whole storm situation was his fault, he was finally understanding that ADONAI was disciplining him for his rebellion. In Jonah 2, when he is in the belly of the great fish, he finally calls out to ADONAI. He didn’t pray when G-d gave him a command that he didn’t want to obey. He didn’t pray when G-d sent a storm. He didn’t even pray when he was thrown off the boat! But now, in the belly of the fish, Jonah finally prays. Let’s not wait like Jonah did, until life gets miserable, before we submit to G-d. G-d should not be our last resort only when all other options have failed, even in situations that are of our own making.
In Jonah’s prayer we see his acceptance of ADONAI’s discipline. In Jonah 2:4 (TLV) he recognizes that, although the sailors threw him overboard, it was the hand of G-d that had hurled him into the sea.
For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me. (Jon 2:4, TLV; Jon 2:3 in a Christian-published Bibles)
Jonah knew that he had sinned by disobeying G-d and that G-d was disciplining him and he deserved it. This leads us to very important point—how we respond to discipline determines how much benefit we receive from it. Heb 12:5-7 explains several responses that we can take.
“My son, do not take lightly the discipline of Adonai
or lose heart when you are corrected by Him, because Adonai disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He accepts.” It is for discipline that you endure. God is treating you as sons—for what son does a father not discipline? (Heb 12:5b-7)
• We can make light of it (v. 5)
How often have we brushed off discipline as just “circumstances of life”? Someone else’s fault? Have we ever just ignored the discipline and gone to sleep in the depths of the ship while the storm rages above and those around us are busy throwing their cargo overboard in an attempt to save the ship?
• We can lose heart or become discouraged (v. 5)
Have you ever realized that the mess is of your own making and failed to cry out to ADONAI, but wallowed in shame? Have you ever just given up on trying to make it right with ADONAI, or with some else, because it just seemed too hard? You made a mess and you just gave up. Sometimes we just move on, but when we do that, the lessons are not learned and the same situation is bound to happen again, and perhaps again and again.
• We can endure it for discipline and grow in righteousness (v. 7)
We can accept the discipline and learn the lessons. Discipline is, to the believer, what exercise and training are to the athlete—it enables us to run that race with endurance and reach the assigned goal.
Discipline in our lives is a clear sign of our sonship/daughtership. Fathers and mothers discipline their own children; they aren’t usually looking at correction of someone else’s kids. And true discipline is done not out of anger or out of punishment, but it is out of a desire to help that child to become a productive member of society contributing and prospering as they become an adult. Discipline is out of love and a desire for the best of the one being disciplined.
So we ask ourselves when the storm is raging, what is the lesson I am to be learning here? Maybe we are being disciplined. Maybe we are the sailor caught in the storm of someone else’s discipline. But either way there is a Father to be cried out to and a lesson to learn. What is yours?