Michael Beck

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Accountability vexes the self-willed. They want the “freedom” to do what they want without being called into question for it.

Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom. (1 Kings 1:5,6)

The failure to chasten carries long term consequences.

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Proverbs 29:15)

Habits form early.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

To have success, chastening must begin early.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Proverbs 19:18)

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Proverbs 13:24)

betimes > Hebrew – shachar > seek early or diligently

The bent of all human beings is to have their own way.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

“I don’t need you to worry for me ’cause I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone”

– My Life, Billy Joel

From the beginning, God has called man to answer for his actions and attitude.

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. (Genesis 3:13)

And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. (Genesis 4:9,10)

Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?…And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. (Jonah 4:4,9)

Chastisement can lead to “battle.”

O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. It is in my desire that I should chastise them… (Hosea 10:9,10)

Those who are unwilling to be corrected put up stiff resistance and bristle when called into account.

So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man. And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you? Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel: (Judges 20:11-13)

Although chastisement can “get messy” and is unpleasant, God is not afraid to confront us.

But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men.  Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss. And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war. And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first. (Judges 20:14-18)

Chastisement is not for the faint of heart. It is much easier to commend the wicked than to contend with them.

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. (Proverbs 28:4)

Correction upsets one to the degree that they have cast off God’s yoke and are committed to living their life, their way.

Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die. (Proverbs 15:10)

The wicked only wish to answer to themselves. They don’t want to hear what anyone else has to say about what they do or the way they are. Correcting them “gets ugly” and places you in the line of their fire.

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. (Proverbs 9:7,8)

To the contrary, it is a beautiful thing when someone is willing to listen to instruction or correction.

As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. (Proverbs 25:12)

God’s chastening of us goes beyond words. More often it is through the events in our life.

Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts. (Jeremiah 2:19)

Job’s friends believed his afflictions were the consequence of his forsaking God’s way. They called him to accept God’s correction and return to His path in order to be restored.

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. (Job 5:17,18)

Job protested his innocence and refused to place himself in the category of Adam, who wouldn’t bear the blame for his sin.

If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: (Job 31:33)

The Book of Job establishes that there is a chastening which God brings upon the righteous as well as upon the wicked. The chastening upon the wicked is a direct consequence upon their ungodliness. The chastening upon the righteous is not punishment; it is God’s means to form and increase godly character. Confusion exists because God uses similar methods in both. God would speak to us not only about our actions, but about our way. His instruction and correction comes to us not only in words but through the circumstances of our life. We wisely accept His dealings with us.

He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. (Proverbs 15:32)

In humbly letting God call us into account we gain God’s knowledge of ourselves. We are delivered from deceit.

The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit. (Proverbs 14:8)

While chastening may pain and puzzle us at first, if we will endure it, we will come forth as gold.

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.