July 2022 by Lenya Heitzig
The Truth About Discipline
When our son Nathan was barely two, he’d squeeze his eyes shut and say, “I can’t see, I can’t see!” He thought that if he couldn’t see me, then I couldn’t see him either.
Playing hide-and-seek was a breeze. I never had to run and hide; I’d simply whisper, “Close your eyes, Nathan, and count to ten,” and I was hidden as far as he was concerned! There are times as an adult when I’ve made a similar mistaken assumption about my heavenly Father. If I don’t “see” God, perhaps He can’t see me or my inappropriate behavior. What about you? Have you ever thought that since God is invisible, maybe your actions were too?
The reality is that God in His providence sees everything, even before it happens. You can run, but you can never hide from His view. The word providence comes from two Latin words pro meaning “before” and video translated “I see.” Scripture says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Have no doubt-though you may not see Him in your darkest night, He can always see you!
Throughout the book of Ruth we see God’s providential care. It was a dark time for the nation of Israel, and tough circumstances had obscured the people’s view of God. In the midst of foreign oppression and famine one family asked, “Where is God?” Instead of opening their spiritual eyes to see Him, they went their own way and ran to the land of Moab.
Father, thank You that there is nowhere I can escape from Your presence. When I walk through the valleys of this life, it’s comforting to know You are right beside me. Help me to take Your hand as Your guide me through.
The book of Judges depicts Israel’s tragic cycle of sin: disobedience to God’s word, discipline from the Lord, her cry of despair, followed by God’s deliverance. If your life is spinning out of control, maybe you’re stuck in the sin cycle too. Call on God and discover “deliverance is of the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).
What were the spiritual conditions of the nation of Israel during the time of the judges in these verses:
- Judges 2:10
- Judges 2:11-12
- Judges 17:6
We then meet the characters in the book of Ruth and discover the choice one family made to seek greener pastures outside of the Promised Land and God’s will.
Read Ruth 1; then focus on verses 1-2.
Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilin – Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. (Ruth 1:1-2).
- In what days did the story of Ruth take place?
- According to Ruth 1:1, what natural disaster was Israel experiencing?
This family made a bad trade exchanging the Promised Land for a land of pagans. They left Bethlehem (translated, “house of bread”) for Moab, an enemy nation called “My washpot”. (translated, “a pan of dirty water”) in Psalm 60:8. The family turned away from glory and landed in the gutter.
We discovered the four stages of sin cycle now think about your life. Are you at times caught in the same cycle?
God disciplines His children for good reasons: to get their attention, correct their behavior, or express His love. “Don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you…For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children” (Hebrews 12:5-6).
Journal about a time when you have gone through these phases:
- Disobedience (Ex: I didn’t trust God to provide financially so I went into debt.)
- Discipline (Ex: I was turned over to collection agencies.)
- Despair (Ex: “God, if you rescue, I’ll never do it again.”)
- Deliverance (Ex: A godly adviser showed me how to pay off my debt.)