Wednesday, May 31, 2017

HEBREWS 12:7-11

"It is for discipline that you endure;
God deals with you as with sons;
for what son is there
whom his father does not discipline?
But if you are without discipline,
of which all have become partakers,
then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us,
and we respected them;
shall we not much rather be subject
to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time
as seemed best to them,
but He disciplines us for our good,
so that we may share His holiness.
All discipline for the moment
seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful;
yet to those who have been trained by it,
afterwards it yields
the peaceful fruit of righteousness."

This passage is pretty plain and doesn't need a microscope or telescope to figure out.  Even though we may cringe at the thought, "discipline" is mentioned seven times in these verses, thus is important.  We do not get to skip it, collect two hundred bucks and pass GO.  Rather, I'm more like our little wiener dog when it was caught being naughty which would cringe and whimper knowing a little swat of discipline was coming.  Our Springer understands when we slap a newspaper in our hands that we mean  business and will do everything to make us happy.  It makes a lot of noise, but little pain, and is used very sparingly: one little swat every two or three years is enough.

Illegitimate children is the term used in polite society, but Scripture has been in the past more plainly spoken using the "B" word, bastard.  On Memorial Day, my guys watched the movie "Patton."  That word was spoken so much that I moved into the other room so I could read in peace.  However, recently I've been reading slave stories as captured by the government in the '30's, which also served to provide WPA employment, by interviewing former slaves before their stories died with them.  One current that often ran through them was of the illegitimate children that resulted of a slave woman being used by her master.  There was one account especially where the father recognized his child and proclaimed her to be his, but often they were sold away to keep from embarrassment and spousal fury.  One former slave said, "Dese white mens what had babies by n...wimmens wuz called 'Carpet Glitters."

Incidentally as I read these accounts, it was evident that the "Negros of mixed blood, called Free Issues or Shim Sham, were looked down upon as riff raff by both slaves and white people.  These would usually be the rejected offspring, thus, fatherless.  Such were some of my early relatives who congregated in the boarder lands of Carolinas, and indeed, some were of the worst sort, undisciplined without a father's training.  When the census was taken, those with lighter skins tried to pass themselves off as white, but usually they had to register as mulattoes unless they could, as many did--even going to court to prove their heritage--by insisting that they were of Portuguese descent (from Emanuel Rodrigues or Driggers, as it got passed down from this early slave in Jamestown whose father was a Portuguese ship captain and mother, a slave woman from Sudan. (DNA has captured this much of our history.) 

The point is, being illegitimate has its unhappy consequences even today in our society when fathers step so easily away from their responsibility.  In fact it is what brought about the acceptance of Planned Parenthood whose goal was to not only limit the size of families, but as a tool to wipe out Jews and Blacks, allowing men to wash their hands of responsibility.  God bless the single parents!  Some go so far to say about our current society, gangs and crime go hand in hand with fatherlessness.

Here's what John Wesley had to say about discipline, "'For they verily for a few days'--How few are even all our days on earth!   'chastened us as they thought good...'Though frequently they erred therein, by too much either of indulgence or severity; 'but He'--Always unquestionably, 'for profit (for our good) that we may be partakers of His holiness'--That is, of Himself, and His glorious image...'is for the present grievous, yet yieldeth the fruit of righteousness'--Holiness and happiness."

Andrew Murray says " does not ignore the fact that the chastisement causes pain.  As an old believer said, when speaking of one of the promises, Yes, it is blessedly true; but still it hurts."

"Consider it all joy, my brethren,
when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith
produces endurance.  And let endurance
have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect
and lacking in nothing."
(James 1:2-4)

Adam Clarke says, "If ye submit to His authority, humble yourselves under His hand, and pray for His blessing, you will find that He deals with you as beloved children, correcting you that He may make you partakers of His holiness...He acknowledges by this that you belong to the family, and that He, as your Father, has you under proper discipline.  It is a maxim among the Jewish rabbins that 'the love which is not conjoined with reproof is not genuine.'  This proceeds on the general fact that bastards are neglected in their manners and education; the fathers of such, feeling little affection for, or obligation to regard, their spurious issue...'chastisement or discipline'..the original word does not imply stripes and punishments, but the whole discipline of a child, both at home and at school." 

One study shows that though Mother's Day cards are used profusely when made available in prisons, while Father's Day cards are ignored and unsent . Though some are fatherless, or wish they had been fatherless in this world, God is willing to adopt us into His family and be our "Father who art in heaven."  Any discipline we receive from Him, any discipline that He allows to come our way, is worth the pain, the refining to make us more like Him.  "Go wash up and wash behind those ears!"  Yep, though unpleasant, it is a good command.

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