Have You Forgotten?
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. (Proverbs 3:11-14)
Hebrews 12:5 asks a funny question: “And have you forgotten the exhortation . . . ?” In other words, “Have you drawn a blank? Where have you been?” If you look in your Bible, you see part of the verse is indented, signaling that this is a quote from the Old Testament, Proverbs 3:11-12 to be exact. Interestingly, this is the most frequently quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament. Nothing else even comes close. Over and over New Testament authors quote this portion of Proverbs 3. No wonder then the author of Hebrews asked, “Have you forgotten?” The writer is asking, “How could you not know this? This is critical information that cannot be neglected.”
And here’s the instruction: “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord . . .” (Heb 12: 5b). Don’t think lightly of what God is doing. Go ahead and do some heavy thinking. A contrasting word is used nearby in Hebrews 12:2 in the familiar verse, “Looking to Jesus… who… endured the cross, despising the shame.” The word despising is an antonym in the original language for the word translated here as regard lightly. Jesus despised the shame of the cross —He didn’t regard it lightly. We can certainly be tempted toward shame in our trials, but we have Jesus’ example to help us endure.
When God moves toward you to make some changes in your conduct and character, do not be casual or indifferent about His approach. Don’t be sarcastic or blasé, As if it really mattered, or I’m getting kind of weary of this, or I don’t think God really knows my limits, or the manifold number of nonsensical ways we communicate to God we don’t appreciate what He’s doing in our lives. He’s God! He’s a Committee of One. He doesn’t check with anybody and He knows what He’s doing. Don’t take His work in your life lightly. Don’t be flippant or casual or indifferent when trials come your way. If they are not already here, they are coming. And no matter which part of those painful hardship is yours this moment, you cannot despise or regard lightly what the Lord is doing.
- When have I missed an important lesson because I was regarding lightly what God was doing for me during a difficult time?
- Why am I so hesitant to recognize genuine love includes discipline?
Prayer: Father, please keep me from despising or regarding lightly Your work in my life, particularly when it involves pain. Free me from the cheap view of Your love which is all easy, soft, and pain-free. Help me keep my eyes on Jesus who demonstrated in the way He faced the trial and discipline of the cross that I can anticipate great good to come out of hardships as I trust in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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