Let me see if I can tie two Bible verses together to help us understand a great truth. Here’s the first one…
“But when the Lord judges and punishes us, He does it to keep us from being condemned with the rest of the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:32 CEV
And you thought you were just going through a rough time in your life, right? Absolutely not! God loves us more than we could ever imagine. So much so, that He’ll do whatever He needs to do to keep us from throwing our life away – even punish us, and discipline us. We probably don’t like it and as a matter of fact we probably resist it. But from our Father’s viewpoint – it’s necessary!
That’s what a good father does. He steps in before it too late, to set right that which has gone terribly wrong. He knows that if we keep going down the path we’re on, we’ll only end up farther away than where we want to be. So in order for that not to happen, He steps into our lives so that we aren’t castigated and sentenced like those who don’t believe. In other words, He gives us another opportunity to come back to Him, even though it might hurt.
If you don’t believe me, here’s the second verse…
“The LORD God of Israel had appeared to Solomon two times and warned him not to worship foreign gods. But Solomon disobeyed and did it anyway.” 1 Kings 11:9-10 CEV
Can I tell you that was the worst decision King Solomon ever made? You would think being the wisest man on the face of the earth would have given him a little common sense, but it didn’t. Even though God actually appeared to Solomon, twice, he still wasn’t moved.
I know, we’re reading this and saying, “Well if I saw God, not once but twice, I would change my ways.” And I’m going to tell you, I’m not sure that’s true. God is speaking us all the time and sometimes it’s a word of correction… it’s a word of warning. We may not hear an audible voice, or actually see a vision of God, but He’s giving us cues all the time – through His Word, through your pastor, through other Christian friends, who love us enough to tell us the truth. We just don’t see it or hear it because we’re don’t want to change.
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Because King Solomon decided to disobey God and not listen to His warning, the kingdom of Israel was divided in two. While most of Solomon’s reign as king was lived in peace, the last years of his life were lived at war and when he died, the kingdom divided just like God said. Listen for the voice of God. If He’s warning you – stop and start over by repenting. If you’re experiencing discipline and punishment – stop and start over. He is always faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. He’ll give you another opportunity.
Thank You for warning me. Thank You for disciplining me. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.