THE UNSEEN HAND OF DISCIPLINE
If we take the analogy in Isaiah 64 and Jeremiah 18 that compares us to clay and God to the potter, we must remember, the hand that applies pressure (discipline) works together with the hand that supports. “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8). This verse puts the potter into a relationship with us as the clay and the potter as a “Father” who has infinite care about what He is making us into.
Sanders gives another view of this relationship; “We must remember that the hand molding the clay is nail-pierced, and that our God’s sovereignty will never clash with His role as Father.”(1) This principle is outlined very clearly in Hebrews 12. “We have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (12:9–10). That is an eternal purpose!
God never disciplines without having a divine purpose and greater outcome. Our problem is that we have difficulty looking past the discomfort, suffering, or the simple inconvenience of the discipline. “Affluence and comfort often prove to be the foes of faith…unless we are on our guard, they become the chief end of life, and God and His kingdom are gradually relegated to a minor place.”(1) Be careful how you look at God’s discipline.
(1) J. Oswald Sanders, Enjoying Intimacy with God, Discovery House, 2000, page 94.
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