But often we refuse to recognize discipline, don’t we? We go our merry way and we get smacked upside the head for it, but instead of changing our ways, we ignore the discipline over and over again. And the smacks get harder trying to knock some sense into us.
Remember that little boy who stole the coins from his mom’s purse. He had a bad case of conscience and threw away the money and worried each day that he would be punished further. He wasn’t and a
I will tell you that one day someone saw him engaging in something bad and he was called from class at school and confronted by the police, who threatened him with reform school. He was scared again, tossing in his bed at night again, waiting for his parents to come and punish him again and expecting to go to jail. But none of that happened. He felt guilty and fearful for a while, but them he was drawn right back after his lusts because nothing really bad happened to him. He was just more careful when he did bad things now.
Yeah, sometimes we need a lot of discipline.
So, look at your life and think hard about what is happening when you have to suffer in some way. It may not be some obvious sin you committed and it may not be punishment, it may simply be a nudge in another direction, something strengthening you through discipline.
Now there was a reason for Joseph’s suffering that we won’t get to for a couple weeks, but sometimes our suffering has more than one reason behind it.
Let’s back up a little and read Genesis 37:2-11. Maybe there is something there that tells so not only how his brothers could have rationalized their actions, but something else as well.
These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors] But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.
Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
Did you ever stop and think that Joseph might have been a little bit spoiled? Perhaps something of a brat? Someone with a haughty attitude and little full of himself at times? Certainy a bit immature. Maybe Joseph needed a bit of discipline in his life that he wasn’t getting at home. Just sayin’.
What about that kid that stole from his mother’s purse and the newsstand and did other things that got
Then one week he got very sick. He had never felt so ill before. He really thought he was going to die. He was frightened enough to pray, not to Satan, but to God. He shouldn't have gotten through because he had torn down those communication lines years before, but when he opened his eyes there was a cross on the wall. Not a physical cross, just an image of one. At that moment his fever broke and he got well rapidly. He assumed the cross was a trick of light through the window blind, but had never seen it do that before. He looked for that cross to appear again for several nights in a row after getting well. It never did. It was a guidepost that came in the midst of his suffering and he should have recognized that, but after a while he put the cross on the wall out of mind and continued his hedonistic ways. In fact, he even became an Atheist, an activist Atheist.
On the positive side, Atheists don’t believe in the Devil either, so he threw away his satanic bible, but
Oh, did somebody notice we didn’t say how discipline fit those Hebrews wandering about in the wilderness for another 38 years, did we?
Well, by now you should know that besides punishment of those adults that wouldn’t cross over to Canaan the first time and now never would, the other thing must be discipline. Discipline for who and for what?
So think about your life and the times discipline may have played a part in your suffering or even now is that what is occurring?
We can fail more than one time, but receiving discipline may straighten us out. There is someone of import in the Bible who failed more than once, was disciplined more than once as well, and yet we certainly look toward him today as a rock of our faith. He is in the New Testament, which may make it easier for you to guess who he is before my next post, no denying that.
There is also one to judge in the Old Testament and he is pretty famous, especially his romance, but boy did he need discipline. Unfortunately he didn’t act very prudently at times and his suffering was very harsh indeed. But beyond his fate, his deeds are a clue to the next reason we may suffer.
NEXT TIME: JESUS, MOSES AND PETER, TOO