Monday, March 29, 2010

Fatherly Discipline

Subject: Daily Devotional for March 29, 2010

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals

Isaiah 9:12b-13 "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts."

Any dad (or mom) knows what each cry of his child means. In devotions here at the Ranch, some dads mentioned cries of hurt, hunger, anger, or being scared-and one wise lady mentioned the cry we had "forgotten," the dirty diaper cry!

Any dad also knows the cries when he disciplines his youngster. A dad, if he is worth anything, will discipline until the child's will is broken. If you stop too early, you may have crying, but it will be angry crying, not sorrowful crying. In the end, though, the child will turn toward the same hand that just disciplined him.

Now, the illustration goes beyond just earthly parents and children; God is our Heavenly Father. He does not discipline us (His children) because He hates us; He disciplines because He is a good (and perfect) Father. He knows and wants what is best for us.

Isaiah 9 says that God's anger had not stopped, like a father disciplining his child. Why was this? "For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they see the LORD of hosts." In verse 10, they didn't turn to God because they were indifferent. Their cities were being destroyed, and their walls were broken down. Their answer was, "We will build with hewn stones . . . we will change them into cedars." Here these folks were being overrun and destroyed, yet it did not seem wrong. They did not even consider why it was happening-they were indifferent.

Every time something bad happens in your life, it is not God chastening you. But can't you see that God was obviously working in their lives? But they didn't even notice. They figured building with stones and cedars instead of bricks and sycamores would fix the problem. How foolish! God wanted them to turn back to Him and seek Him. Yet they missed out because of indifference.
Not only were they indifferent, but they were also independent. Independence from people is not always bad, but independence from God is never good. God did not turn from His anger because they didn't turn to Him. God will not tolerate, nor is He impressed, by your independence from Him.

The wonderful and familiar verse of Isaiah 9 is verse 6: "For unto us a child is born . . . and his name shall be called . . . The everlasting Father. . . ." The promised Messiah was to be a Father for His people. Sadly, God's children were too busy-too indifferent and independent-to realize God's hand was "stretched out still."

The New Testament tells us, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. . . ." Again, every time something bad happens in your life, it is not necessarily the chastening of God. God is not always "after you." But anytime God is after you, it is for your good. So next time you hear a baby cry (maybe this morning for some!), remember that God is our Heavenly Father.
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Bill Rice Ranch 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road Murfreesboro TN 37128

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