THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD

God began to speak to my heart the evening of March 10, 2017, as I sat still and quiet in my recliner. He began to tell me why the ‘fiery trial’ had come to me (earlier in the day I had asked Him WHY so many things were going wrong in my life).

He began by telling me that this trial was sent to refine or purify my soul; as silver or gold is smelted, the junk rises to the surface where the Refiner can then skim it off, leaving pure metal in the pot. He told me that I have two choices, to embrace it and advance, or fight it and stay the same. If I embrace it, the process will be easier to go through, but if I fight it, the process will be harder, and need to be repeated in the future. He said He won’t allow junk (impurities) into His Kingdom. Then He mentioned my impurities and said that they must go! 

He then directed me to Hebrews 12:5, and after meditating on it, He showed me that my walk was uneven; one day walking in the Spirit, another day, in the flesh! He wants our walk to be even and level, living in the Spirit day by day. 

Fiery trials are sent to cleanse the heart and soul of impurities, like wrong thoughts, words, and actions. As metal is purified by fire, so is the heart and soul of a man. When gold or silver was refined in ancient times, it was heated to a very high temperature which caused the impurities (called dross) to rise to the surface. It then could be skimmed off the top of the liquid metal, leaving an unmarred surface that reflected the image of the refiner, a picture of Jesus as the Refiner’s Fire. This trial came to me so that my impurities (which lay hidden most of the time) would surface, so that I would see them, repent, and ask God to remove them. Sometimes these types of trials commence a ‘crisis of faith’ – something else the Lord pointed out to me twice on the same day several days before this trial arrived at my door. Not by accident, I found the phrase, ‘crisis of faith’ in a book title I wasn’t even searching for, and in a book [1] I had in my personal library at home about Moses when God commanded him to lead the Jews out of Egypt. Moses’ encounter with Yahweh brought him to a ‘crisis of faith’ in which he had to choose between believing God and moving forward, or letting his doubts rule and refusing God’s call. If Moses had done the latter, he would have forfeited God’s plan for his life, and God would have found someone else to free the Israelites. Moses would have lost out on his divine destiny. Fortunately, Moses chose to believe and obey God. In like manner, God told me that I could either stay where I was (stagnate), or embrace the purifying process and advance! He said that if I receive and embrace it, the process will be easier to endure, but if I fight against it, it will be harder. The purifying process, like the refiner’s smelting, will be repeated UNTIL all the impurities have surfaced and been removed! In other words, if I fight against the loving, fiery trials the Lord sends for my ultimate good, it will delay my reaching perfection and cause me more pain in the long run. It’s like when a child stubbornly refuses his parents discipline and suffers severer punishments, and or worse consequences further down the road as a result. It’s easier to just submit to God’s discipline when he sends it.

God disciplines those He loves –

Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 
Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 
Heb 12:11  Now 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 thereby. 
Heb 12:12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 
Heb 12:13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 

And make straight paths for your feet,…. By “feet” are meant the walk and conversation of the saints, both in the church, and in the world, Son_7:1 and there are paths made ready for these feet to walk in; as the good old paths of truth, of the word and worship of God, of faith and holiness: and to make these paths “straight”, is to make the word of God the rule of walking; to avoid carefully joining anything with it as a rule; to attend constantly on the ordinances of Christ; to go on evenly in a way of believing on him; to walk in some measure worthy of the calling wherewith we are called, and by way of example to others.

Lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; a lame member, as the Syriac version, a lame member of the body of Christ, the church; or a lame person, as the Arabic version, a weak believer; one that is ready to halt, either through the corruption of nature, or through the weakness of grace, or through want of light and judgment, and through instability and inconstancy; lest such an one should, through the irregular walk and conversation of others, be stumbled and offended, and go out of the way, and leave the paths of righteousness and truth. God takes care of, and has a regard to such, and he would have others also, Mic_4:6. The Ethiopic version reads, “that your halting may be healed, and not offended”: that you yourselves may not halt and stumble.

But let it rather be healed; the fallen believer be restored, the weak brother be confirmed, the halting professor be strengthened, and everyone be built up and established upon the most holy faith, and in the pure ways of the Gospel. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” – Prov 3:6

The word ‘acknowledge’ is ‘yada’ – to ‘know, regard, recognize, perceive, experience, observe, be aware, comprehend, understand, learn, be instructed, and more. See Strong’s H2045

In all thy ways acknowledge him,…. Or “know him” (l); the Lord: set him before thee; have him always in view; consider him as ever present with thee, observing every step thou takest; and take not one step without his leave, and without his advice; ask wisdom of him who gives liberally; consult his word, and make the Scriptures thy counsellors, or the men of thy counsel, as in Psa_119:24; take him as your guide; observe the footsteps of his providence; follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes; walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; when things go cross and adverse, and not to your mind, submit to his sovereignty; and be still and know that he is God, that does all things right, for his own glory and his people’s good, Psa_46:10; and when things succeed, give him the glory of all; own his hand in it, and the bounty of it; acknowledge that all you have, in providence and grace, come from him;

and he shall direct thy paths; man cannot direct his own; no, not a man: this is a blessing from the Lord; who steps of his people, keeps the feet of his saints, and directs them aright in things temporal and spiritual, Jer_10:23. (l) דעהו “scito eum”, Pagninus, Montanus. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalm 119:105
Pro 4:24  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 
Pro 4:25  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 
Pro 4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 
Pro 4:27  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. 

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left – Avoid all crooked ways. Be an upright, downright, and straight-forward man. Avoid tricks, wiles, and deceptions of this kind. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible]

Ponder the path of thy feet,…. Consider well what path it is, whether right or wrong; or weigh it in the balances of thought, as Aben Ezra; or rather in the balances of the word, and see whether it agrees with that or not. The Septuagint version is, “make straight paths for thy feet”; to which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews seems to have respect, Heb_12:13;

and let all thy walls be established; so as to walk on steadily, constantly, uniformly, and not be easily moved out of the ways of religion and truth. Or, “let all thy ways be prepared”, or “directed”, or “disposed” (c); according to the rule of the divine word. Some render it as a promise, “and all thy ways shall be established” (d); when care is taken to look well into them; see 2Ch_20:20. (c) יכנו “dirigantur”, Tigurine version, Mercerus; “recte apparentur aut disponantur”, Vatablus. (d) “Stabilientur”, V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; “constabilientur”, Schultens. [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

Ponder the path, etc., Pro_4:26. “Weigh carefully.” Act in haste and repent at leisure! Ask God to keep you back from presumptuous sins; and bear in mind the wise exhortation of Ecc_5:2. [Through the Bible Day by Day, F.B. Meyer]

In other words, consider well the course of your life, or the course of action you’re about to take (ponder the path of your feet). Let all your thoughts, words, and actions (ways) be prepared, directed, and ordered (established), by the Word of God. Ignoring it will yield negative consequences, and could result in ruin. May God’s sons escape such a fate.

May they all make their paths straight, and not despise the chastening of the Lord!

Debra R. Stout © March 11, 2017

Footnotes:

[1] “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby & Claude B. King, Chapter 3

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