Job 5:8, 17-19
5:8 “But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would set forth my case. 17 “Therefore, blessed is the man whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, but he also bandages; he strikes, but his hands also heal. 19 He will deliver you from six calamities; yes, in seven no evil will touch you.”
“The one who refuses correction despises himself, but whoever hears reproof acquires understanding.”
“How blessed is the one whom you instruct, O Lord, the one whom you teach from your law.”
“May the godly strike me in love and correct me! May my head not refuse choice oil! Indeed, my prayer is a witness against their evil deeds.”
This morning I am praising and thanking God that He loves us enough to rebuke us. That’s right. Where would we be, if we were just left in our sin? Some of you might be tempted to say – “free” – but enslavement to sin or poor character is not free at all. I love how the Holy Spirit can speak to us right in the middle of a thought we are having. At the doorway to our mind and heart are multiple thoughts, seemingly at the speed of light. I daresay we allow some in without realizing the poison they are injecting. It is in those moments that I am so grateful for God opening our eyes to recognize thoughts of pride, jealousy, anger, hatred that are astir in our minds. We might not call our thoughts those names, but if we look at the root and give our sins the worst name, we are not deceived.
We all know that feeling you get when you’ve been caught – either by another person or the Holy Spirit within you. Sort of like the child with their hand immersed into the proverbial cookie jar, there is no denying the rebuke you feel in your spirit. As much as that conviction might not be pleasant, what a gift it is! Our response in the moments following being confronted with our shortcomings can produce beautiful fruit if we let it. Do we attempt to deny the allegations, become offended at someone else judging us, or do we consider the rebuke as an opportunity for reflection and ultimate blessing?
Perhaps a rebuke is errant – maybe it is not applicable at all. Praise God! But more times than not, if we are honest, we are culpable on some level to the charge being asserted. The messenger might not have been godly in their correction – even more of an opportunity to glorify God by not taking it personally. A poor messenger does not always mean the message is not valid.
Maybe there is truth in the rebuke, confirmed by the familiar conviction felt in our soul. What then? No despair or discouragement is necessary. Isn’t that awesome? Just recognition and surrender to God, then replacing those thoughts with His. Feeling mistreated by someone? Pray for them (not judgmentally, lol), sincerely and do not allow your thoughts to become presumptive. Let it go. Accept the rebuke and realize that it is not an end, but a beginning.
David was shocked to hear of the behavior that the prophet Nathan detailed about a wicked man who would take from someone less fortunate. When he realized it was him being spoken about, that he was the adulterer and the murderer, he was undone. He repented and acknowledged his guilt before God. He had become deceived and yielded to the flesh, despite knowing God to be the one true God. We in the New Testament can do the same thing, yet the standard is higher. Our thoughts condemn us as just as guilty as if we had committed the actions those thoughts represent.
So where is the blessing in rebuke? The book of Job, chapter 5 lists numerous ways we are blessed by accepting God’s rebuke. We are redeemed from death, famine, the power of the sword, protected from malicious gossip, no fear of destruction, unafraid, our home will be secure. Sounds pretty good to me.
Here’s the good news today – God never gives up on us. He is a loving Father Who corrects His children, always with a redemptive purpose in mind. Accepting His rebuke is accepting life. Refusing rebuke or making excuses for it is death. Some may rebuke with the purpose of tearing down, but God is able to take even that and turn it around for our good. Amazing, awesome God.
Lord, thank you for teaching us through Your Holy Spirit and revealing sin, that we might gain forgiveness and fellowship with You.