Dr. James Dobson became well known for his parenting advice in the 1970s, especially in helping parents deal with willful or disobedient children. His book Dare to Discipline, first published in 1976, became a guidebook for many parents as they tried to practice godly discipline in a way that raised their children well.
In Numbers 14, the Israelites had sinned against the Lord: after being delivered from bondage in Egypt, they turned on Moses and Aaron, declaring that perhaps it would have been better if they had all died or, at the least, remained in slavery (vv. 2–3).
Instead of walking away in disgust, Moses and Aaron pleaded with the people. They asked them to trust in the goodness of God, reminding them that He was bringing them to a wonderful place and they should not rebel against Him. Moses recognized that most of the disobedience sprung from their fear of unknown people and situations and reminded the people to trust in the God who had successfully delivered them: “The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them” (v. 9).
Rather than calming the people, this message seemed to stir up more anger. In fact, they discussed stoning Moses and Aaron (v. 10)! Like a weary parent, God had enough: “How long will these people treat me with contempt?” (v. 11)
But God’s anger and frustration is matched by His love. We also need forgiveness, and no matter how terribly we might act, the Lord cannot change His character. He is slow to anger and abounding in forgiveness (v. 18). But while God might forgive disobedience, His people will suffer the results of their actions. His forgiveness does not exempt people from the consequences of opposing Him.
It often breaks a parent’s heart to punish a child for bad behavior, even when it’s necessary as part of good parenting. Consider how God, as a good Father, views discipline and forgiveness. He desires that we come to Him and ask forgiveness. Listen to your Heavenly Father today and seek His guidance in your life.