Monday, June 22, 2009

SURRENDERING TO GOD'S DISCIPLINE




"When with rebukes you correct man for iniquity, you make his beauty melt away like a moth," Psalm 39:11



Discipline is often painful but is not harmful unless it is stubbornly resisted, despised, and rejected. Discipline has a positive purpose. Discipline is God's love providing us with incentive to obey, working to help free us from disobedience and harmful ways, and attempting to bring us closer to Him. Surrendering to God’s discipline results in strength, righteousness, peace, maturity, wholeness, and holiness (Hebrews 12: 12-17), but stubborn refusal to break leaves us stripped, bruised, and spiritually disabled (Isaiah 1:5-6; Psalm 38:1-5).

David is a wonderful example of how to respond to God’s discipline. He was quick to humble himself with a broken and contrite spirit before God. He acknowledged his sin and attempted no excuses or self-justification. His prayer was, “Have mercy upon me…for I acknowledge my transgression.” (Psalm 51).


Psalm 31: 9-10 "Because of my iniquity"

When David was confronted with his sin, he did not pretend to be innocent and allow God to be blamed or charged with injustice. How many times have we gotten what we deserved while letting God be blamed for allowing the "sweet thing" to suffer? If a man's secret sin causes him to fail and lose everything, while he "goes down" blaming Satan and people, others will look at him and say, "How could God let this happen to such a good man?" If he does not admit his own responsibility, his children and those who observe his life will have nagging fears that God was either helpless or unfaithful. They will accuse God of evil instead of recognizing the man has reaped what he sowed.

2 Samuel 15: 24-26 "But if He says thus: 'I have no delight in you,' here am I,let Him do to me as seems good to Him."

In this verse we see David "leaning over" and submitting obediently to the rod of discipline. Submitting to God’s discipline does not mean you are a bad person. To the contrary, it is a wonderful expression of humility, character, and faith. Allowing God to "take you in hand" (2 Samuel 23: 5-6) produces security. Rebellion and resistance produce insecurity, grasping, manipulation etc. (James 4: 6).
David had faith under discipline and trusted in the Sovereign, Almighty God. He was willing to forfeit his throne if God required it, and he would not grasp in the flesh to save it as Saul had done. In attaining the throne, David had not reached forth with rebellious hands to seize and grasp it as Absalom was attempting to do; and as king he would not reach forth with rebellious and unbelieving hands to keep it. He had trusted God to procure it and he would now trust God to secure it. He refused to grasp in the flesh against the will of God. He submitted to God's discipline even to the point of laying down his place, his throne, and his ministry. Many of God's servants have failed under discipline because they were unwilling to forfeit what God was asking them to lay down. As in David's case, we may not actually lose it, but we must be willing, if God asks us.
The way of the cross is the path to take when under discipline. During these times a person must have faith in God. He must be willing to surrender everything to God, including his position. David, by his surrender to God's discipline, stands in sharp contrast to Saul and Jeroboam who resisted God's discipline by selfishly grasping to hold what God was taking from them. They had forfeited the throne and, in their rebellion, could not see the futility and foolishness of their carnal manipulation. We must always beware of the grasping attitude.

1 Peter 2:19-20
If we are expected to endure grief when suffering wrongfully, how much more then when we suffer for our faults! For example, if a man has given himself to pornography and immorality, what should be his response when he discovers his wife has had an affair? Of course, she needs to turn from her transgression, but he should be on his face in repentance realizing that his own sin helped bring on the situation. He should fall before God with a broken and contrite heart rather than venting anger and looking for revenge.

Psalm 39: 9-11 "because it was you..."

David recognized his predicament was God's hand being laid upon him as result of his own disobedience and need for discipline. David knew it was from the Lord because Nathan had told him by prophetic utterance what the consequences would be. Therefore, he did not blame others. A rebellious heart will often fail to associate the rod of discipline with the sin that precipitated it. For instance, while a man may be falsely accused of some immorality that he did not do and suffer unjustly because of it, he may, in reality, be under God's discipline for arrogance or some other sin completely unknown even to his detractors. The adversary may be completely wrong in his charge and may be accusing falsely, but God may still be using him as the rod of correction. Shemei and Absalom in their rebellion accused David falsely. David was innocent of their charges against him, but he was not innocent before God.
A rebellious heart will make the presumption that "Since I am innocent of these false charges, I am therefore innocent, period." Consequently, this person will resist God's discipline instead of surrendering before God and committing himself into the hands of God who is not only a merciful Father but also the Righteous Judge. We must be careful lest in fighting “Shemei” we find ourselves fighting God.

Revelation 16: 5; 1 Peter 2: 23 “He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”

Rebellious men in this age often surrender in the face of great power simply because of having been overcome by the sheer force of power they cannot resist. This is an outward surrender but with inner defiance. But when men stand before the God of the universe in that great day of the Lord, they will not only yield outwardly, but will face the clear, absolute, and incontrovertible truth that God is right and has always been right. Before God in that day, everyone will realize the utter and total foolishness of his own ways and will be compelled by the sheer force of truth to admit that God is righteous and that rebellious man was in error. There will be no lie or deception in the presence of God. There will be no pretending, no games, no manipulation, no false accusations, no specious finagling, no devious twists of facts, no spurious arguments, no perversion of truth, no legal technicalities to obstruct justice. God will judge righteously according to absolute truth. Man will be absolutely naked except for those, who in repentance and obedience, have been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ and clothed with his righteousness.
Meanwhile, let us surrender to the loving hand of our Heavenly Father and trust completely in His love and purpose in our lives. His discipline is not bad. He disciplines those He loves.

5 comments:

Chris Stanley said...

Billy,
Thank you for the post. If a man repents of his sin, is there still discipline to come? I know David was confronted with his sin before he repented. On another note, do you have any insight on the "Kingdom Now"or "Manifest Sons"doctrine? Love ya Brother...keep blogging!

Billy Long said...

Chris, I don't think there is a blanket, "one-answer" to your question. The Lord takes each case on an individual basis. Some situations require some discipline, even after repentance, the reaping of consequences, even though forgiven (as with David). Other situations may be not require it. None of us get what we deserve, thanks to the grace of God which is so great and abundant. For those who love the Lord, we must remember that discipline is for all the good things mentioned in Heb 12, rather than the very narrow definition of punishment.

I have not had contact with any of the "manifest sons" people or doctrine for many years. But I do know that when I did encounter it I heard things that to me were strange and un-biblical. At that time I met with a major leader to ask him point blank about some of the things I was hearing and he confirmed my apprehensions. The fellow I spoke to at the time did not believe that Jesus Himself was coming back the way He left, but that He was coming back in His people. This led to some twists of truth that I was very uncomfortable with.

Simon R. Long said...

Like I said in the last comment I left, I will have to let this sit on my mind for a few days. And this is why I think: is that I have the burden of pride in my character. Thus, I don't recognize when God is really trying to discipline me. Sadly, I can't even think of a time when God has tried discplining me. I am glad to have read this post because now I must be consciously aware of Him before myself....all the time! I really DO want the discipline! Thanks Papa!

Billy Long said...

Arica, thanks for your comments. You are a precious daughter of the Lord and I know He is working intimately in your life. You have a tender heart toward Him. Just enjoy His smile.
Billy

i'vebeenthinkin' said...

I enjoyed reading your blog and was encouraged by it. It was forwarded to me by Jim Hare. Ray and I ask abot you often. We hope you come back to Columbus, we would love to visit with you again.
Ray and Gloria Steen