We are all familiar with the picture of a father disciplining his son while soberly saying, "son, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you." So our heart goes out to the son and the pain he will experience. Our heart goes out to the situation wishing it had never been. And our heart goes out to the father who experiences hurt as well, perhaps being reminded of his own disobedience in years past.
We might assume that these hurts experienced by earthly fathers are also shared by our Heavenly Father. Yet consider His words in Isaiah 30:31-32 (WEB),
For through Yahweh's voice the Assyrian will be dismayed. He will strike him with his rod. Every stroke of the rod of punishment, which Yahweh will lay on him, will be with the sound of tambourines and harps. He will fight with them in battles, brandishing weapons.
Say what?!?! God's discipline, in this case, is not delivered with any personal agonizing in the least, but instead with great confidence and joyful celebration! Break out the punishing rod and the tambourines! How should we understand God's joy over the punishment of the disobedient?
Hebrews 12:9-11 (WEB) explains that God only ever and always does what is for our best with the wisdom and power of a Heavenly Father. Scripture explains,
Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Earthly fathers are only acknowledged for doing what seems good to us, BUT God always disciplines for our benefit and so he can take great joy in disciplining us.
Proverbs 19:18 (WEB) also commands us, "Discipline your son, for there is hope;
don't be a willing party to his death." Perhaps a godly earthly father ought to rejoice also with every opportunity taken to properly discipline his son, knowing that he is participating in God's plan to deter him from sinful choices leading to death. If we don't discipline our children we ought to begin mourning now for the suffering and death their unrestrained sin will cause.
You might argue that Christ did suffer on the cross, so my point is wrong. Yes, Jesus did suffer. However, he suffered death on the cross for our atonement and was raised to life for our justification, NOT to discipline us. His work on the cross saved all His people from damnation and was the greatest suffering a human being ever experienced. Through his love at the cross he proved that he ALSO has the authority, power, and tenderness to discipline us with great joy knowing his hand of chastisement will achieve it's intended outcome. The justification given to us by God's grace concerns our final destiny and is our ticket to eternal glory.
However, God's discipline in our life is quite a different matter. His day to day involvement in our lives warning and disciplining us is to keep us on a safe path far from destructive sinful choices. Yes, Jesus suffered for our justification, but He finds pleasure in our discipline because he is a father effectively disciplining his children!
Hebrews 2:9 explains, "But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone." Praise to Jesus Christ who suffered separation from the Father so that we will never ever be separated from Him. Praise to God who now takes great pleasure in teaching, leading, fellowshipping with, and... disciplining us.
Has our Heavenly Father disciplined you lately?