Just a year after our son, Andrew, was born, we were living in a rental home preparing to move to Portland, Oregon. Andrew was a curious one-year old and one afternoon when Debi was preparing dinner, he wandered into the kitchen and over to the trash can. As his little hand reached out to touch and get into the trash, Debi said, "NO!" That made him move away for a moment but something, whether smell or color, drew him back again. This time he was a second ahead of his mother and going for the junk. She saw him and slapped his hand. It brought a surprise to his face and a little murmur to his lips and a new lesson was learned. Don't mess with the trash! I know all this because I was videotaping him at the time…still have that scene preserved for future use.
That incident always reminds me of my own struggle with sin. It seems I get caught in the act by God and He says, "NO!" But I go back. He ends up slapping my hand. It hurts for a while but often I return and try to do it all over again.
King David talked much about his life with God in the psalms. There seemed to be ups and downs in it and sometimes the discipline of God was evident in his life. In this line of thought he wrote, "When you discipline us for our sins, you consume like a moth what is precious to us. Each of us is but a breath." (Psalm 39:11)
Leupold who wrote a commentary on the Psalms explained this verse. He said, "When the Lord makes His correction felt to draw a man away from his sin, then a new realization of the vanity of the things formerly regarded as precious becomes overwhelmingly clear; they are as though they had already been consumed by moths, worthless like a moth-eaten garment."
He goes on to express how much vanity we have before the correction and how we finally understand through the discipline that we are mortal and live only for a breath of time. It is discipline that brings us back to a place of humility; to a new recognition of how short life is. This is discipline's end.
Have you been slapped on the hand by God? Did it bring you a new recognition? To return to our story, Debi was not slapping Andrew's hand in anger but rather to imprint on his little mind that the trash can is off limits. She did all this out of love for Andrew. The same could be said for God. He is not angrily striking out in rage and frustration. He is well aware of each of our propensities. He disciplines in love to redirect us to better actions.Thank God today for His love AND discipline.