“I want to be alone; I’m in a bad mood.”
These were the words coming out of the mouth of our four-year old after she was disciplined for taking a toy away from her two-year old brother. She was angry with us because we corrected her and it was not in line with what she thought a parent should do. Yet, as all adults know, fairness and gentleness are favorable qualities to mold in a person.
I don’t think our daughter was thinking that way at the time.
And in our walk with the Lord we can be the same way. When God “dares” to discipline us for our own sins against Him, we tend to get angry with Him and blame Him because we’re angry.
But in the course of time, the discipline passes, our lives begin to be restored to order and we have to start over.
And what do you do then?
The Jewish people faced this situation several times in Scripture. One such time is the focus of Psalm 85:1-3.
You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.
In all likelihood, this Psalm was composed shortly after the southern kingdom of Judah returned from exile in Babylon around 538 BC when Cyrus II of Persia declared freedom for the Jewish people, allowing them to return to Jerusalem (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:20-12 and Ezra 1:1-11). The joy and excitement of being released from internment would be great cause for celebration any day, but this wasn’t just the normal political winds blowing through the middle east causing their overthrow. Their deportation and incarceration in Babylon was the discipline of the Lord for their blatant and egregious breaking of the covenant with the Lord.
But now that punishing rod was laid aside and the people once again set their eyes on Jerusalem, the city of David—the symbol of the Lord’s supernatural provision for His people.
They had reason to give thanks. And this is what they did. It is important to note: in the context of this entire Psalm (subjects of upcoming posts), we discover God’s mercy is their source of comfort and discouragement. But at this point (and at all points between here and there), reflecting on the Lord’s goodness and mercy is the proper (and necessary) beginning to put the pieces back together after the Lord’s correction.
So, dear Christian, what do you do after God has finished spanking you like a “three year old in Wal-Mart”?
- Worship the Lord for the forgiveness of the penalty of sin, which is death.
- Thank the Lord for guiding you through the consequences of sin.
- Learn the lesson He is teaching you so you can stop taking the test!
The comfort we find in 1 John 1:8-9 always holds us close as we move past the Lord’s discipline: 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Starting over after the Lord disciplines us is not going to be “fun,” but it is where we learn a whole new dimension of mercy and grace—both for others and ourselves.