Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
How do you respond whenever difficulty enters into your life? I suppose the most natural reaction for many of us is to become discouraged and maybe even angry. It is because of this human tendency that the writer of Hebrews gives us these words of encouragement-
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” ESV
First of all we see that the writer encourages them to not ‘despise the chastening of the Lord.’ Though we normally think of the word ‘despise’ as a reference to some form of resistance or rebellion, it can also mean to disregard. The thought here is – “Don’t treat lightly what God is doing. Don’t disregard His activity in your life.”
We read from the book of James – “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5 CSB) If we keep this verse in its original context, we see that the particular wisdom this man is seeking has to do with the present difficulty he is experiencing. Perhaps he is asking “Why this is happening?”, but more importantly – “What is God wanting to accomplish?” God has a very special purpose behind every bit of sorrow He allows into our lives.
Secondly, the writer encourages them to not ‘faint when thou art rebuked of him.’ Other translations say:
- do not give up hope
- don’t become despondent
- do not be discouraged
It is easy to become discouraged whenever we experience pain and suffering. Satan whispers in our ear that God has turned His back on us and that there is no hope. Yet the writer of Hebrews tells us the exact opposite. Rather than giving up – we should look up! Look up to God and ask – ‘What is it that You want to accomplish through this?’