Who enjoys discipline? And who likes to be rebuked? Probably no one! But God’s discipline is for our own good. As the Bible puts it: ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it’ (Hebrews 12:11).
We understand that, though we don’t have to like it, we do have to submit to God’s loving, yet firm, hand on our lives. We can trust that, when God rebukes us, He’s being completely just, and that His intentions are forever both loving and merciful.
Going through the accounts of Israel’s kings, two kings in particular stand out in their response to a divine rebuke - King David and King Uzziah. Both had sinned, and both were confronted by the Lord through one of His prophets. Let’s first look at David’s response ‘I have sinned against the Lord’ (2 Samuel 12:13).
From this, and other scriptures, we learn that King David was truly heart-broken when confronted. Once He realised the Lord had to rebuke him He changed his ways. If we compare this response to King Uzziah’s we notice a rather different, even opposite attitude ‘Uzziah became furious’ (2 Chronicles 26:19).
When confronted with the truth about his pride King Uzziah got mad instead of taking the opportunity to humble himself and repent. The end of both kings are also in contrast with one another. Reading the rest of their life stories is a sobering, yet educative, exercise.
As the scripture for today indicates, once Jesus arrived on earth all people received the same message: “You are a sinner in need of a Saviour!” Some responded better to this message than others. Certain people were upset, hurt and offended. How dare this man accuse them of being evil! Others were glad because, although the Lord saw their sinfulness, they knew He loved them, despite their sin.
Pride is a real and formidable enemy, and it can go hand in hand with self-deception. We can have a tendency to be blind to our own faults, and to see ourselves as righteous in our own eyes. It’s my personal belief that every single person is susceptible to this self-deception! Sometimes the only thing that can shake us out of this spiritual stupour is a hearty rebuke from the Lord. He rebukes us because He loves us. He rebukes us because His desire is to help us. My prayer for myself, and for all of us, is that the Holy Spirit will help us to respond with humility when He shows us our sin!
Prayer: Dear Lord, I realise that, at times, You might have to rebuke me for my own good. Please help me to respond in humility when the time comes. Please give me the grace to agree with You! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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