THE CHASTENING OF THE LORDAnd you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:“ My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:5-6
Hear now what the LORD says:“ Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice. Hear, O you mountains, the Lord’s complaint, And you strong foundations of the earth; For the LORD has a complaint against His people, And He will contend with Israel. Micah 6:1-2
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “ Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her; Now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets. Micah 7:8-10
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:11
These are only a few scriptures revealing the chastening of the Lord. He chastens us as individuals and He chastens nations. The Old Testament pattern is seen in all the books of the prophets. The prophets warn. If the nation refuses to repent the curse is released. Deut 28 and Lev 26 God waits for understanding and repentance. If there is no repentance additional curses are released. This is the law of the universe of God Almighty. Rebellion causes the curse to be released. Repentance brings mercy and grace. This is how God speaks to nations today. Micah 7:8-10 above is a great example. The Lord wants His people to turn to Him and when they do he sets them on a rock.
In a lesser way the Lord operates this way in our personal lives. The unpleasant events and people we come across in our daily lives are a form of chastisement. This is how the Lord changes us into his image. This is how He works his nature into us. We have to deal with these things and seek Him out for guidance. It is often a painful experience and reveals our impatience, weakness, and sinfulness. Without this working in us we can never become like Him. It is learning to hear and obey.
Most of the time we want to run away from this chastening in our lives. We don’t want to go through this unpleasant period. To move forward in the Lord we have no choice but to cry out to Him and go through it. In time these things become a source of joy as the Lord’s plan is worked in us and in the situation. This is the way of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Every event and personality in our lives is purposeful in God. This is working out our salvation in fear and trembling.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; Philippians 2:12
NEW TESTAMENT EXAMPLES OF CHASTENING...Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Acts 11:28 A famine was coming upon the world. This was a chastisement of God. What did God' people do? They took a collection to send to the church at Jerusalem. God taught them a lesson in giving. Was God also warning those in Jerusalem to relocate? The temple would soon be destroyed.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19 Jesus prophesied the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem because the majority of the Jews refused to believe. This was a severe chastisement on the nation. Later many people probably remembered Yeshua's words at the time and repented and came to salvation.
In Acts 5:1-11 we see another example of severe chastisement on Ananias and his wife Sapphira for lying to God about the price of land they sold and keeping back part of the price. They were not required to give this money but were deceitful in the way they did it, promising to give, but hiding some away for themselves. This was a stern rebuke. They were lacking in God's character. We have not seen this fear of God today--but a day is coming when we will.
We have no problem today understanding the love of God. He is a God of love--but He also can become angry. This part of God’s nature is very misunderstood today. God hates sin. He gave His only son to give us access to his forgiveness. A price must be paid for sin and God has provided a way for us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That is love unfathomable. God’s justice demanded a penalty for our sin and He has made us a way to return to Him.
When Adam fell from grace the eternal plan of God was temporarily thwarted by Lucifer. God demands holiness and is repelled by sin. Lucifer knew this and thought he had defeated God’s plan for man. The rebellion was underway but God had a plan. The sacrifice of Jesus’ blood on the cross would pave the way for man’s return to God. It satisfied God’s demand for justice and bestowed upon us the righteousness that God demands. This is the meaning of John 3:16
NATURAL DISASTERS AS CHASTISMENT...From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy. Job 37:9-13
God will speak through the weather to get a nation’s attention. The United States is a nation that has been given much by God and much is demanded of us. In these days of apostasy in our nation God is using the weather to get our attention.
Hurricane Katrina...Katrina formed on August 23. 2005. It was the 12th storm of the year. August 23-29 was also during the month of Elul, the repentance month on the Jewish calendar. As America treats Israel, God speaks to America.
On August 23rd the last Israeli settlers in Gaza where removed according to a policy established by the United States. That was the day the storm formed.
Events after the storm mirrored those of Gaza:
Jews evacuate Gaza --Americans evacuate New Orleans
Gaza settlers provided temporary shelter--Americans provided shelter in Superdome
Gaza settlers who refused to move held out on roofs of home--Americans who wanted rescue or refuse removal held out on their roofs.
Gaza Jews banned from returning--Many Americans never returned to New Orleans
Gaza homes bulldozed--Many homes in New Orleans bulldozed
Tombs of Jews removed from Gaza--Many tombs in New Orleans disturbed and upturned by flood waters
Is God trying to tell America something? Are these just random events?
The judgment on New Orleans also had to do with pagan carnivals like the Southern Decadence Festival which was scheduled for Aug 31-Sept 5. Katrina was a warning to decadent living. (Deut 22:5 and Lev 18:2) Was God telling some of His people to relocate? Perhaps.
Voodoo is also popular in New Orleans. Voodoo means “snake spirit” and practices snake dancing. Voodoo spirits are water spirits empowered by wetlands and bayous called Cymbees. Cymbees Andezo means 2 waters. Two waters come together in New Orleans: The freshwater Mississippi and the salt water Gulf of Mexico.
Katrina means to purify. In Greek mythology there was a goddess known as Hekateros which means “each of the two”. This is the voodoo spirit of witchcraft, tombs, demons, and the underworld. (Deut 12:10-13) In ancient Rome a feast for Hekateros was held on the 29th of each month. Katrina hit on August 29th. Everything God does has a purpose.
Katrina was God’s warning to the people of New Orleans and our nation. Has the message been heard? Often we miss the purpose of God in our lives. I believe God may have been warning some Christians to leave that area. Many people did not return to the area. It is possible the Lord was relocating some people for a reason only He knows. Most of the time we want to rebuild and go back but there are times God may be telling us to get up and go. This is what he told Abraham.
God’s ways are far above ours. In Job 38 the Lord chastises Job. He asks Job if he can understand creation, if he can tell God how things work, and for what purposes. Job has no answer. We cannot put God into our box. He moves in a sovereign way. Chastisement is God's way of getting us to understand His ways. This can be very personal--you and Him.
GOD’S ETERNAL LAW...Everything God does comes from a heart of love. What is the end result of the terrible times described in the book of Revelation? The end result is the glorious New Jerusalem and the rule of God in the world and universe. Why are there great tribulation, war, and death? The reason is man’s rebellion against God. It is man’s refusal to repent and turn back to God. Rev 9:20-21 The day of the Lord will be a terrible day. There will be no forgiveness--it will be a time of judgment. It will be the day of the fear of the Lord.
Persecution will come to God's people...but we are not destined for God's wrath!
In Deut 28 and Lev 26 God has established His method of operation towards nations and individuals. We are to obey His commandments. When we walk this way we are blessed and prosper. When we turn from this way we pay the price--as individuals and as a nation. This is why Peter warns us in 1 Peter 4:17 to walk accordingly. This is why Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. God chastises His people because He loves us. It is His way of building His character in us as we live out our daily lives.
1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
We are not to use love as an excuse to walk in sin. Let us allow the Lord to work in our lives and to recognize His chastisement as His love for us. There are many things He may be trying to tell us. Recognizing this way of His communicating with us is vital.
Job 5:17 “ Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
Tomorrow: ISRAEL DESIRES A KING - BIG GOVERNMENT TAKES HOLD