The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 15:1-10 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Watching the evil and the good. A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit. A fool rejects his father’s discipline, But he who regards reproof is sensible. Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, But trouble is in the income of the wicked. The lips of the wise spread knowledge, But the hearts of fools are not so. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves one who pursues righteousness. Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die.
There were times as a small child that my father disciplined me through the application of a spanking. Though I did not realize it at the time, the correction was meant for my good. I can remember attempting to talk my way out of the spanking “please daddy, don’t spank me, it will hurt”. Other times, anticipating the blow, I may shift my rear end this way or that or tense up in an attempt to lessen its effect. Have you ever been tasked with picking out your own switch? I have heard of this practice and been told that you better never come back with a small twig to receive your spanking.
Sometimes, because earthly fathers are sinful men, discipline is applied in such a way that it winds up provoking the child to anger, and resentment. Fathers sometimes appear hypocritical, disciplining their children for laziness, or disobedience, or the disrespect of their mother, while having learned these things from their father. The child, rather than being understanding of their father’s weaknesses, recognizing that he is a sinner in need of God’s grace, becomes resentful of their hypocrite dad, and winds up rejecting ALL of his discipline. Instead of remembering that their father, though a sinner, loves them and means the discipline for their good, he chooses to instead think the worst of him and winds up rejecting all of his father’s discipline.
A fool rejects his father’s discipline, But he who regards reproof is sensible.
Matthew Henry said:
“Let inferiors be admonished, not only to submit to instruction and reproof (even hardships must be submitted to), but to value them as favours and not despise them, to make use of them for their direction, and always to have a regard to them; this will be an evidence that they are wise and a means of making them so; whereas he that slights his good education is a fool and is likely to live and die one.”
FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb 12:6-11)
Brothers and sisters, the fact that we have been reduced to coming together via zoom, should serve as a clear message to us that God is doing some mighty work in our world right now. The heathen are raging, scrambling around attempting to gobble up as much stuff as possible, hoping to soften the blow of discipline from a God they hate and say does not exist. Isaiah 45:7 “The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.” The reprobates are looking for a “cure”, with suggestions that aborted baby cells hold the keys to freedom from these scourgings from a God in which they do not believe. Rather than considering that it is their bloodlust which has brought this upon our heads, they are in the process of doubling down. The government, whose job it is from God Almighty to punish evil and reward good, has done what this one trick pony has shown it will always do, and that is to throw money we don’t have, at a problem we can not fix. Rather than mourning over our sin and calling upon the name of the LORD, the government appears to be content to scramble around looking for the little twig that won’t hurt so bad when the blow falls.
We in the church are hardly different. Rather than view this season as an act of God’s grace towards us, that perhaps God in His wisdom may be using the evil intents of wicked men to discipline us by not allowing us to meet, not allowing us to fellowship in our old ways, protecting us from taking the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner, we cry “O woe is me”, and look for someone to blame, out there, rather than first looking within our own hearts and crying “Be merciful towards me a sinner!”
Brothers and sisters, these afflictions are light and momentary, and if we look close, are full of blessings. God’s discipline towards us right now is chock full of goodness, mercy, and grace towards us. Look how much more time you are getting to spend with your family. Look at how many more opportunities you have to share the gospel. Think of how your productivity and time management in the home will improve, learning to focus on things which are truly important, things which have eternal value. Just recently we began talking about needing a new place of worship because we were outgrowing the old one. Well, now we can’t even meet there. My friends, we are being disciplined right now. It is light, momentary, and for those who love God and are called according to His purposes, it is meant for their good. Will we learn from it? Will we be thankful for it? Will we choose to make the best use of our time, knowing the days are evil, or will we squander it all away with worry and strife?
If you are able, please join me in kneeling as we cry out to our Heavenly Father in the Name of His Son, Who is full of mercy and grace.
SOVEREIGN COMMANDER OF THE UNIVERSE,
I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief, in a felt spiritual darkness. My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude, and I cannot act faith at all. My heavenly Pilot has disappeared, and I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages; I sink in deep mire beneath storms and waves, in horror and distress unutterable.
Help me, O Lord, to throw myself absolutely and wholly on thee, for better, for worse, without comfort, and all but hopeless. Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind, morning joy that comes after night heaviness; Water my soul richly with divine blessings; Grant that I may welcome thy humbling in private so that I might enjoy thee in public; Give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low.
Thy grace can melt the worst sinner, and I am as vile as he; Yet thou hast made me a monument of mercy, a trophy of redeeming power; In my distress let me not forget this. All-wise God, Thy never-failing providence orders every event, sweetens every fear, reveals evil’s presence lurking in seeming good, brings real good out of seeming evil, makes unsatisfactory what I set my heart upon, to show me what a short-sighted creature I am, and to teach me to live by faith upon thy blessed self.
Out of my sorrow and night give me the name Naphtali — ‘satisfied with favour’ — help me to love thee as thy child, and to walk worthy of my heavenly pedigree.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 4/5/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)
Sunday 10:30 AM