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Children Without Rebuke

You may recall God telling the story of all He did for Israel and often He would describe them as stiff-necked. This means that they were stubborn and always wanted things to be done their way. God would do signs, wonders and miracles in their midst, but as soon as the novelty of those things wore off, they were back to being hard-hearted. God’s love for Israel would not allow Him to leave them inside of this negative disposition, and if we can identify with this, we can rest assured that He will not leave us in this state.

It took Israel 40 years of wandering in the wilderness for God to break their stubborn will. He stripped away everything that they could trust in. The food that they were used to, they no longer had access to, and they could only eat what God provided or suffer hunger. Their livestock and gold, all of which gave them status among each other, God required that their animals be sacrificed and their gold be used in the building of the tabernacle. He was removing the very thing that gave them an image or reputation. Eventually, after years of scourging and discipline, Israel began to realize that their chiding with God was unfruitful. This was the purpose of God’s discipline in their lives.

If we are to walk as sons of God, we must stop resisting, murmuring, disputing and complaining about God’s instructions. We must learn to obey without condition, and to follow without knowing all the details. If we decide to be disagreeable children, then we can only expect to be disciplined: Hebrews 10:26-27 “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” It is not God’s will for any of us to perish, and His chastening is not meant to drive us closer and closer to condemnation. But rather, He corrects us out of a loving desire to see us holy as He is holy. He doesn’t want it to take us 40 years to learn a principle that we could have learned in a day: Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

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