DISCIPLINE AND JUSTICE, A MEANS TO AN END, 31.01.19
Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
God will discipline His people to bring them back to where they need to be. This is a useful means by which to bring justice to whatever has taken them off-course.
“I will discipline you with justice, but will not utterly destroy you” (Jer.46:28). “For I am with you,” declares Adonai, “to save you, for I will make a full end of all the nations where I scatter you. but I will not make a full end of you. For I will discipline you justly, but will not leave you unpunished” (Jer.30:11). “Behold, the eyes of my Lord Adonai are on the sinful kingdom. So I will utterly destroy it from the face of the earth. Nevertheless, I will not annihilate the house of Jacob.” It is a declaration of Adonai.” (Amos 9:8). In each of these passages we can identify a theme, a promise, a principle.
Although He is threatening, or warning them, about consequences for disobedience, He is simultaneously restating the covenant promise, that He will never leave them nor forsake them, that He will not give up on them no matter what they do, for God had covenanted with them: “I will take you to Myself as a people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Adonai your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. So I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, and give it to you as an inheritance. I am Adonai” (Ex.6:7,8). But this does not mean they can be disobedient and go unpunished; there must be consequences – and justice – which bring them back on track, and make things right between them. The same principles that apply to Israel apply to God’s people individually; and those who have been grafted in are not only subjected to the mighty Hand of His discipline, but are also recipients of His promises, His covenant, His blessings.
We need to understand Who God is, “For I am Adonai who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth” (Jer.9:23). We need to develop a balanced picture of God’s character. All we hear about in modern times is that “it’s all about love;” but there is much more to it than that. That is only one dimension; and it must be balanced out with the full picture of Who God is. In His loving kindness, and because of His holiness and righteousness, there must be judgment and justice as well. A just, and holy, perfect God cannot allow filth and evil to infiltrate, infest, infect, and defile that which is sacred and holy.
“He has told you, humanity, what is good, and what Adonai is seeking from you: Only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic.6:8). The theme from OT to NT remains the same. Yeshua taught likewise. There is no disparity between OT doctrine and Yeshua’s teaching. Yeshua has little patience with the hypocrisy of the religious leaders; He calls them hypocrites and blind guides, and tells them to clean up their act:
23 “Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cumin, yet you have neglected the weightier matters of Torah—justice and mercy and faithfulness. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others.
24 O blind guides, straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel!
25 “Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and uncontrolled desire.
26 O blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside may become clean as well.
27 “Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.
28 In the same way, you appear righteous to men on the outside, but are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
“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. . . . Now all discipline seems painful at the moment—not joyful. But later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb.12:5,6,11). Acceptance of God’s discipline brings us into right relationship, sets things right, and thus brings inner peace. When we resist that intervention we miss out on the peace of knowing that by responding to His correction, we’re now free from condemnation and can rest in His Love. “My son, never despise Adonai’s discipline or dread His correction. For Adonai loves those He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights” (Prov.3:11,12). Only when we face up to our errors, transgressions, shortcomings, mistakes, and/or outright disobedience, etc. and make ourselves right before the Father can we have true freedom and peace.
All the excuses, efforts to avoid, run away, and hide from God’s discipline are fruitless. They can only lead to despair and hopelessness, for we cannot hide from our Maker; even when the Psalmist tried, it didn’t work: “Where can I go from Your Ruach? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there, and if I make my bed in Sheol, look, You are there too” (Ps.139:7,8). David was in hiding from King Saul for many years; but when he attempted to hide from God, he was quickly convicted, corrected, brought to repentance, and became “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam.13:14).
Submitting to the mighty Hand of God, bowing in humility to the One Who holds the key, this is the only answer, for He holds the key to our destiny. And when we know that the Father only wants our hearts to be right before Him, for us to follow Yeshua and walk in His Ways, so that we may ultimately spend eternity with Him, what is in it for us to avoid His chastisement? We learn and grow through His discipline. We benefit from His justice. It is a means to an end. It not only preserves our destiny, it makes the journey purposeful, fulfilling, and culminates in that supernatural peace (John 14:27) – the peace that surpasses understanding (Phil.4:7).
God’s people must understand that God’s discipline is part of His love, serving to bring us in line with His Ways, His Will, His destiny plan and purpose for each of us. Beyond the individual level, God’s discipline is purposeful in upholding His justice system. Everything in God’s Kingdom is cyclical; one thing fuels another; and everything in the end must uphold God’s laws, and that includes His requirement for justice. Discipline and justice are mechanisms for achieving His will and purposes in ALL things which, in the end, will be done.
© 2018, revised 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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Copyright © 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.