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We need endurance to carry over the ways of God.
Hebrews 12:7 reads, “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?” God wants to transfer His ways over to us more than we can imagine. We must confess our waywardness and seek the ways of the Lord.
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) writes, “It is difficult to get into stride with God, because when we start walking with Him we find he has outstripped us before we have taken three steps. He has different ways of doing things, and we have to be trained and disciplined into His ways. . . . Don’t give in because the pain is bad just now, get on with it, and before long you will find you have a new vision and a new purpose.”[i]
Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe writes, “The word ‘chastening’ or ‘discipline’ means ‘child training.’ It is not the work of a judge punishing a criminal, but the ministry of a father perfecting a child. Each Greek child had to go through a time of physical training from age 7 to maturity. This training helped to prepare him for adult life. . . .
What does Calvary say about chastening? ‘. . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God’ (Hebrews 12:1,2).
Calvary encourages us to keep going when the going gets tough. Jesus completed what He begins; He will see us through.”[ii] The purpose of chastening or son training is to teach us our Father’s ways. Hebrews 12:6-11 reads, “‘For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God’s ways are marked by holiness! This is the practical sanctification of our salvation. God’s training needs to be translated into daily life. This is the element of “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). “Teach me Your way, O Lord” (Psalm 27:11; 86:11). Psalm 103:7 reads, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.” Psalm 81:8-13 reads, “‘Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me! There shall be no foreign god among you; Nor shall you worship any foreign god. I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. ‘But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels. ‘Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways!” Isaiah 55:8-9 reads, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Jeremiah 16:17 reads, “For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes.” Jeremiah 32:19 reads, “You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.”
Hebrews 3:7-15 reads, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’’ Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’” (Emphasis mine)
Rev. Charles Bridges (1794-1869) writes, “Should then he, at any dark season ask—‘If it be so, why am I thus?’—you are thus, because this is your Father’s school—his training discipline for heaven. He loves thee so well, that he will bestow all pains upon thee. He will melt thee in his furnace, that he may stamp thee with his image. He would make thee ‘partake of his holiness,’ that thou mightiest partake of his happiness. But unless thou enter into his mind thou wilt—so far as thou canst—defeat his purpose and lose the benefit—a loss never to be told!”[iii]
We are tempted to become weary in well-doing. Galatians 6:9 reads, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
William Hale White (1831-1913) writing under the pseudonym Mark Rutherford explains, “There is a proverb that it is the first step which is the most difficult in the achievement of any object, and the proverb has been altered by ascribing the main part of the difficulty to the last step. Neither the first nor the last has been the difficult step with me, but rather what lies between. The first is usually helped by the excitement and the promise of new beginnings, and the last by the prospect of triumph; but the intermediate path is unassisted by enthusiasm, and it is here we are so likely to faint.”[iv]
Dr. Donald Macleod (1831-1916) shares the following: “A MOTHER, with her three children, was clinging to the wreck of the steamer ‘Bohemian,’ when the mother said she must let go, and be drowned. Her little girl said, ‘Hold on a little longer, mother; don’t let go now. Jesus walked on the water and saved Peter, and perhaps He will save us.’
The little girl’s words so strengthened her mother that she held on a few moments more, when a boat was sent to them, which took them safely to shore.”[v]
We need endurance!
[i]Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, “Getting Into God’s Stride” (Genesis 5:24) October 12th Reading (New York, NY: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1935), 286.
[ii]Warren W. Wiersbe, “The Calvary Solution” Sermon Notes (Hebrews 12:6-8).
[iii]Charles Bridges, An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs (New York, NY: Robert Carter, 1847), 1:27.
[iv]William Hale White, The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford and Mark Rutherford’s Deliverance, ed. Reuben Shapcott (London: Trubner & Co., 1889), 208.
[v]The New Cyclopaedia of Anecdote, Religious and Moral: Original and Selected, ed. Donald Macleod “Blessed Words” #1536 (New York, NY: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 1872), 530.