UNDER A HEAVY HAND
(All scripture quotes from the King James Version)
" My son despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.."Heb.12: 5
In the parable of the farmer, he quickly came to the conclusion that it was the enemy that had set out to destroy his labors. He didn't blame himself though there are times when we can put a bit of the blame on ourselves when we see that the consequences of what we are facing is as a direct result of our actions. But there are times though that the things we face are not from the enemy as it were or us. There are times when God is the one directly dealing with us. In the first two situations (where it's either the enemyís fault or ours), we do not find it difficult to ask for God's intervention or mercy. But what if it was God that was really 'afflicting' us? We know that affliction does not rise from the ground (Job 5:6) but the "chastening of the lord" has to come somehow. And the bible says that
" For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" Heb.12: 6
He actually scourges "every" son He receives. That is, not some but everyone that has entered through the veil (of the flesh) of His First Born into His Kingdom. That means every Christian has been chastised and scourged by God at some point or the other. Nobody (in His Kingdom) has escaped His chastisement or scourging. Nobody is so pleasing to Him and perfect (get to this later) that God has not chastised or scourged him or her before. In fact, the more 'perfect' they seem or are, the more of a certainty that they have been several times (not just once) under the chastisement of the Lord i.e. they have received lot's of scourging from God The Father.
" Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;"Heb.5: 8
Itís one thing to obey but a completely different thing to "learn" obedience. Because learning talks about going into the dynamics, it is a process. That means obedience has to be taught by 'suffering' and no son is exempted from this school of learning. There is no one (in Christ) who has not and will not come under chastisement, whom The Father Himself will not scourge. But there may be some that may not be able to discern the hand of The Lord in what they are going through. That is, they only see the enemy, or themselves. We know that chastisement is chastisement i.e. there is no way one can get round and explain it differently. It's not one petting you: every son is scourged.
" Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous.." Heb.12: 11
Maybe this is why we don't see it as being God but the devil or us. Because we find it hard to accept (even though we usually pay lip service to the fact) that God does scourge us. We have been "accepted" in the beloved (Eph. 1:6). We have not been called unto wrath (1 Thess.5: 9). This and more buckles our mind to believe that God cannot bring out the whip on us (it must be the devil!). But we are God's property and not the
devil's. We don't even own ourselves. So the devil has no right whatsoever to deal with us as it were. Just like he had no right to deal with Christ. But God who taught His son obedience engineered what he did do to Christ. Now we are bringing this up here because even if we feel the devil by own hands (having broken the hedge as it were) has come in to steal, kill, or destroy, it is still God who is our Father and if the issues of life and death are in His hands, what else is outside His reach? God does scourge and chastise, the instrument is irrelevant, it is God who is The Father.
Recognizing the chastisement of God is not so difficult if one wants to be sincere. He will tell you (but you hearing is another issue because by then one could be busy binding and loosing principalities and powers as it were or curled up in the dark bemoaning his own 'mistake' or oversight that brought this calamity upon him -as if he owns or watches over himself). Disobedience or sin can bring about God's chastisement. But even Godly fruitfulness could bring about a 'pruning' (so that you will be more fruitful). But no pruning "seemeth to be joyous, but grievous". And in this case, one can become even more confused because you have been doing just well in the Lord and you don't know of any sin you might have committed. The thing is there are things in you already though your attention has not been drawn to them that needs to be "set aside". They have now become "weights" that are weighing down the work of The Father who wants to take you higher. They were all right for the level we were in before, a level where we bore much fruit and got the attention of the heavens because we showed much promise. But since you started producing maximally at that level, it is now time to take you to the next, these things won't help you in this level. Sit, study and recognize the hand of you are under and know that God is like any true Father. Because once we know that we are under God's chastisement, then we can move on to the next level i.e. how to handle it. Before we go to this lets get back to being pleasing and perfect.
Now we all from what has been said that perfection even by looking at Christ and in the context of what we are talking about here can not be viewed in a wholesome manner without considering our imperfections as humans. Perfection will come but as it is now just as we are given faith by measure and increase from faith to faith, so we are corrected in measure as well. We are not born perfect, we are not born complete as it were but we must all conform to the image of the First Born, and we are talking of the process of conformity not the birthing into righteousness as it were. So like the Apostle we die daily, and are renewed by The Word even as we walk in conformity to the newness of Life that is found in The Word. So having said earlier that nobody is so pleasing and perfect that he or she has not gone under some kind of scourging or the other, we can only just add here that it is this scourging in itself that births us into other levels of perfection. So letís move on to handling chastisement.
Now there is a way to handle chastisement. If it's mishandled, one might just be put aside or miss the mark completely by taking offense and stumbling (i.e. departing from the faith). So it is a delicate situation.
" Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Heb.12: 11
Note that it is not a one-off thing but an exercise i.e. something that consistently repeats itself as it were. Having identified that you are under the chastisement of the Lord -not the devil or circumstance brought about by you (the truth is you have to believe this for it to work for you because there are times when it might be your mistake that brought about the situation but you have to accept it as being of The Father i.e. you can still handle it without allowing it to handle you).
The next critical thing is to maintain your work of faith and walk of faith. Now you may like David fast and pray that God should show mercy (2 Sam. 12:15-17) but be ready to continue like David and move on in Christ after all is said and done (2 Sam. 12:18-20). One maintaining these two is you running ďwith patience the race set before" you (Heb.12: 1). There is a set path before you (usually your work and walk of faith), now even as you are under the heavy hand of the Lord, maintain that course, don't deviate. This is called enduring. Aaron was asked not to mourn the personal loss of two of his kids -he maintained his work of faith (i.e. .his ministry)(Lev.12: 3,6 & 7). Now this may sound harsh but it is the spirit of the message that is the issue. We said it is called enduring.
" If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? " Heb.12: 7
Chastening (or any other severe circumstance) has a tendency of doing two thing i.e. make your hands hang down and cause your knees to be feeble. That is;
"Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees" Heb.12: 12
The first one signifies your work (of faith, in the vineyard, even in your life) being left undone. That is you have allowed the situation to bring to a stop that thing which you are doing in God's vineyard. The second one talks about your connection i.e. communion (your knees). And that would be easily understood. Because oftentimes and in such situations we don't see any reason to pray anymore (i.e. since God has supposedly left us in the hands of the devil or we brought what we are going through upon ourselves then we might as well face the music and leave Him out of it).
These are the negative effects the mishandling of chastisement can cause if we allow it. This is why the scripture above is appealing to our reasoning. So the person that wants to endure chastening (because it has its end result-Heb.12: 11) has to straighten his hands and strengthen his knees. Because the truth is that is what the devil attacks in your mind. He will tell you that God has forsaken you; that there is no need. That it's all in vain because your work or prayers are no longer acceptable because of your 'sins'.
Another truth is that it is when you are under chastisement that God begins to send people your way that needs your help spiritually or otherwise. It is as if it is then people start placing demand on your spiritual connection with God. And this is because He expects you to continue with the work. In fact, He expects you to rise and like David, prepare yourself and come into the temple worshiping (as if nothing has happened). Silence the devilís accusation in your mind by making your hands and knees stronger, enduring your Fathers chastisement. The danger of not doing this is seen in the next verse.
"And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.Ē Heb.12: 13
There are those who are still carrying issues, walking with broken bones because they have not allowed themselves to be healed by doing these things. Rather, it seems like they are still under chastisement, perpetually carrying unhealed and ever fresh wounds; blaming self and the devil: saying that God has left them in this state. Go through Hebrews 12 with this consciousness and receive deeper instructions. The Father will always be a father, everyone will be scourged, but its those that behave as they ought to i.e. as written even under God's heavy hand that will reap the peaceable fruits of righteousness even as David in Solomon (2 Sam. 12:24 & 25).