The Love of God (part 7)
Greetings precious people. In todayís article we will continue to look at how the Love of God and discipline fit together. Last time we saw from the Word of God, the Bible, how God disciplines those whom He loves, Hebrews 12:6, "For whom the LORD loves He chastens (disciplines)." We looked at the example of Godís love and discipline being exercised in the lives of Adam and Eve as they rebelled against Godís Word. We also began to look at Godís love and discipline as it was exercised in the life of King David, who was a man after Godís own heart.
David had sinned by committing adultery with Uriahís wife Bathsheba. As he received word of Bathshebaís pregnancy, rather than face up to his sin and confess and repent of it, he devised a plan to cover it up. David had Uriah return from the battlefield and after a short conversation with him, he told him to go on home for a little R&R (rest and relaxation). When David awoke the next morning thinking that Uriah had gone home and spent the night with his wife, thus covering his sin, he was shocked and dismayed to find that this was not the case. Uriah had chosen instead to sleep on the doorstep of Davidís house. For Uriah did not think it right that he should go home and enjoy the comforts of wife and home while his fellow soldiers were still on the battlefield risking their lives.
Plan ĎAí having failed, David now had to go to plan ĎBí. David invited Uriah into his home and got him drunk hoping that Uriah would lose his convictions about his fellow soldiers, go home, sleep in his own bed, and even if he didnít have sex with his wife, he would be too drunk to remember whether he did or not. This plan also failed. David was now desperate; he quickly devised Plan C.
Listen to what Plan C entailed. In 2 Samuel 11:14-17, "In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die." So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also."
Have you been keeping track of how this "little fling" (thatís how we like to look at sin) has grown and grown. It first began with the sin of adultery, then it grew to lying, getting Uriah drunk, scheming, conniving, conspiracy to commit murder, and not only the death of Uriah but also the death of some of Davidís other servants and the sorrow of their families. How utterly tragic! Our sin is so destructive. We see this very thing being played out before us daily in the lives of those around us. Maybe it is happening in some of your lives also.
Being a child of God, God was not going to let David get away with his sin. Many months passed since the above-described events. David thought he was home safe, that no one knew of his sin. He even invited Bathsheba into his home to be his wife, giving the appearance as a kind, thoughtful, and compassionate king. Oh how everyone must of thought highly of their king.
During this time of supposed successful cover-up and feelings of it all having been swept under the carpet, Godís hand was heavy upon David. Listen to Davidís own description of this time period. In Psalm 32:3-4, "When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer."
One might ask, "Why would God treat one of His children in such a way?" the reason is quite simple, because God Loves His children. God loved David. God knows that sin separates His children from Himself. When a child of God is living in sin, unwilling to confess and repent of his or her sin, that sin keeps the person from having the close intimate fellowship with God that God desires. Look at what God says concerning the effect of our sin in regards to our relationship with Him. In Isaiah 59:1-2, "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear." Isaiah 1:15, "When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood."
The effect that sin has on a child of God and his or her relationship with God, may be better understood by way of illustration. Letís say you are married but your spouse has been unfaithful to you. Their unfaithfulness to you does not change the fact that you are husband and wife, though that may change somewhere in the future if you choose to divorce. But what they did certainly has an effect upon your relationship with them.
As God reveals the effects of our sin, He also offers the solution to it. In Isaiah 1:16-18, God says, "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. (In other words REPENT) "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool."
God created man for fellowship, to have a personal intimate relationship with him. But God cannot, He will not have this intimacy when we are living in rebellion to Him. When we are unwilling to repent, He allows various things to come into our life to make us willing. He does this with the desire that we realize the emptiness of our sin and return to Him. At first His discipline may be somewhat gentle, it may be Him speaking to us through a sermon, or another Christian, or to our heart about our need to confess and repent of our sin.
If we persist in our sin and are stiff necked and stubborn, He will use stronger measures, which may seem cruel even, mean, but they are not. All of Godís actions toward His children are motivated by love, true and pure love. It can be compared to that of a shepherd. When a shepherd has a lamb that is prone to wander and go astray, he will go after it and bring it back to the fold time and time again. If the lamb persists in its going astray, the shepherd will take his rod (a stick like a club) and break one of its legs. He will set and wrap it so it will heal. Then the shepherd will carry that lamb across his neck, keeping it close to him until itís leg is healed.
Now this may seem like cruel and unusual punishment on the shepherdís part. But in reality it is a mark of great love for the lamb and the other sheep and sacrifice on his part. Love, because he knows that there is great danger for that lamb if he continues to wander. Danger of predators, poisonous plants, bad waters as well as other dangers. It also shows his love for the other sheep, for if one lamb wanders the others may follow unaware of the dangers that may lie ahead. It also shows great sacrifice on the shepherdís part for he has to carry the lamb around his neck everywhere he goes for weeks. Imagine wearing a heavy wool sweater in the heat of summer, not a very desirable thing.
Godís love is so great for His children that He is willing to do whatever it takes to bring us to the place that is best for us and where we can enjoy close intimate fellowship with Him. This, though not by the worldís standards is true pure love.
Next time we will continue to look at this all important subject of love and discipline and how we can apply it in our own lives and family.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine