Daily Devotional: Psalms 39:7-13
"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand. You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth--each man is but a breath. Selah "Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were. Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more."
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
The word that is used for discipline could be translated as training. It involves making one ready for a task. When I was in school, I played basketball. Training involved running, shooting, and a lot of mental preparation. When we messed up, we would often have to run sprints or laps. This was punishment, but was also conditioning, and it also was teaching us to think about what we had done wrong and a reminder to do it right the next time. All of this was a form of discipline.
God is getting us ready for that new home with him. Does he punish us at times? Yes. Does he let us face trials to make us stronger? Yes. Does he let us make mistakes that have unpleasant consequences? Yes, and these remind us to think before we act next time. But all of this is for our good, to get us ready.
The hard part for us is knowing exactly what he is doing with us at a given time. It may be we are being punished but the same hardship may be allowing Satan to tempt us because we are doing things right (think about Job). Many trials are a matter of what Solomon calls “time and chance”, but others are of our poor decisions. So, whatever happens, we trust God to get us through. Meanwhile, we examine our lives to see if corrections are needed, and if so, we make them.
O Lord God, my heavenly Father, I am so thankful for your wisdom in dealing with me, but also your love and your mercy. I know that I have messed up a lot and each time, I try to change and not do the same thing again. But I need your help with wisdom and strength to become more like you. Help me focus more on the good in my life and the blessings you give instead of looking at my troubles and my mistakes. Use me to encourage others and help them to be stronger. Be with those who are suffering and give them your peace. I pray in Jesus' name.