First, let me say that I stand corrected. In a previous post entitled, War is hell, I expressed sorrow about the Midianite children being collateral damage in a war brought on by the adults. I was emotional reading about how the boys were killed, and the girls were given to the soldiers to serve who knows what purpose. But today, I read this...
“...you shall consume all the peoples
that the Lord your God
will give over to you.
Your eye shall not pity them,
neither shall you serve their gods,
for that would be a snare to you.”
Apparently, I’ve been wrong about pitying the people that God delivers into the hands of the Israelites. In doing so, I am putting myself in danger of becoming ensnared. So, I must be careful as I continue this Bible journey not to allow my feelings to alter my views about the fairness of God’s decisions. I must not question God’s love for His creation.
I’ve actually learned to love correction, to the point where I now look for it. Never wanting to operate long-term in the wrong, I often ask God to correct me if my point of view is counter to His. Then, miraculously, He will. In the next chapter, I read this...
“Know then in your heart that,
as a man disciplines his son,
the Lord your God disciplines you.”
When I was a parent of young children, I sometimes had to discipline them in the presence of my mother. Driven by her feelings, she would sometimes come to their defense. That is, until I explained to her that she was unintentionally undermining me. To speak up and contradict my authority only made my job harder, and made the boys less likely to receive the benefit of correction.
Discipline is a necessary part of parenting. It’s not fun for us, nor is it fun for God. In a perfect world, everyone would just follow the rules. But, it doesn’t work like that. And, when it doesn’t work like that, correction must take place. If not for that system of consequences and repercussions, what a chaotic mess our families would be. What a mess the world would be.
When children grow up spoiled by great fortune and little discipline, we often see them acting out. They develop a lack of respect and appreciation for their parents. In the same way, entire nations that have become consumed by their good fortune neglect to honor the Source of that fortune, which is God. They even deceive themselves into thinking they don’t need Him. That He doesn’t even exist. That’s when we witness the Lord’s furious anger...
“For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure
that the Lord bore against you, so that he was ready to destroy you.
But the Lord listened to me
that time also.”
Moses was essentially telling the Israelites that they didn’t deserve all that God had done and was about to do for them. None of us do. Which is why humble obedience is of the utmost importance. The Israelites wandered around the desert for an entire generation because of their disobedience.
What would've happened if God had marched Israel directly into the Promised Land after their escape from Egypt? Would they have appreciated the gift? Would they have worked and defended the land with all their might? Or would they have wasted it, becoming lazy and worthless as a people?
It occurs to me that anything given swiftly and easily usually goes unappreciated. It's human nature to take for granted the things we are given without having to work for them or wait for them. Children whose parents lavish material things upon them without requiring their obedience usually end up spoiled and useless as adults.
Consequences are not correction to them, but unfair judgments. Discipline, when finally experienced, angers them. Hot displeasure swings both ways, in these cases. But, only one suffers. And, it’s not God.
Have you ever been corrected by God? Feel free to comment below, or by visiting my Facebook page.
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