GOD'S LOVING DISCIPLINE
The Lord prophesied during the time of the prophet Jeremiah that the nation of Israel would be enslaved to Babylon for 70 years because of their rebellion against God. God had been warning the nation of Israel to turn away from their wickedness, or else He was going to punish them by letting Babylon conquer them. Since they did not listen to the message of prophet Jeremiah, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and destroyed the cities, the temple, and carried thousands of Israelites to Babylon, including Daniel. But after 70 years had gone by, God kept His promise to His people that He stirred up the heart of the Medo-Persian king, who defeated Babylon, to let the Israelites go back to their land and rebuild their temple. Here's what the Medo-Persian king declared, "The Lord, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people (Israelites) may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you! Wherever this Jewish (Israelites) remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:2-4).
We need to keep in mind that when God disciplines His children, He disciplines them for the purpose of leading them back in the right direction and not destroying them. God had to discipline His people, Israel, because they kept on worshiping worthless idols and committing wickedness against each other. They took advantage of the poor instead of helping them. They became greedy of the riches and material things of this world that they were no longer concerned with God's ways. Their hearts were cold towards God, and they no longer worshiping and serving God with the right motives. However, since God loved them dearly, God had to rescue them from their wickedness by disciplining them. If not, they would continue to go in the wrong and sinful direction to destroy themselves eventually.
God disciplines us when we rebel against Him because He loves us. His discipline is not meant to destroy us but to restore us in the right direction. Hebrews 12:5-11, "And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, "My child, don't make light of the Lord's discipline, and don't give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child." As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn't we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way."
Ask yourself these questions: What is the purpose of God's discipline in my life? Why does God discipline me when I rebel against Him? How should I live my life as God's child?
Write down all the worries that you are facing today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, thank you for disciplining me every time I chose to rebel against you. Thank you that you love me so much that you do not want me to be destroyed by my own wickedness. Please keep me close to you, for you are my joy, peace, and life. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.