â€œBehold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.â€ (Job 5:17)
One of the fascinating paradoxes of Scripture (and of human life) is the oft-repeated principle that true parental love requires appropriate chastening, and chastening rightly received generates blessing and happiness. â€œHe that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimesâ€ (Proverbs 13:24).
This is effective child psychology, assuming that the chastening is remedial rather than vindictive and is applied in love rather than anger. But the main teaching of such passages goes beyond parental child-training methods to the grand theme of Godâ€™s spiritual training of His children for eternity.
This thought is often expressed in the Psalms (94:12, etc.), but it is especially clear in the Proverbs. â€œMy son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delightethâ€ (Proverbs 3:11-12).
The classic passage on this theme is Hebrews 12:5-11, which begins by quoting the above verses in Proverbs, and eventually concludes as follows: â€œNow no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised therebyâ€ (Hebrews 12:11).
We are â€œsons and daughtersâ€ of â€œthe Lord Almightyâ€ (2 Corinthians 6:18), and it is essential that we be properly trained for our glorious future as â€œkings and priests unto Godâ€ (Revelation 1:6). We must learn to behave in ways appropriate to our high calling as children of the King, and this requires the divine rod at appropriate times. In His closing words to the last of the seven churches, Christ reminds us again: â€œAs many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repentâ€ (Revelation 3:19). HMM