My grandmother sent me back to my mom’s house with one of those flat wooden paint stirrers on which she wrote these words: “For Use On Rusty, When Needed.” She firmly believed that sparing the rod would spoil the child, and I gave her plenty of reasons to put that proverb into practice. But I never once doubted her immeasurable and unending love for me. After I was punished, she’d always gather me into her arms and shower me with affection.
The Lord’s love for His people is unfathomably greater than the love my grandmother showed me. In today’s passage, the Lord shows that love in two ways. First, He promises to “gather” and “assemble” the people who have suffered under His discipline, “those I have brought to grief” (v. 6). Though He promised many times in the preceding chapters that He would punish His people for their sins, He now turns the page and promises to gather them in His arms. God didn’t punish His people because He was vindictive or unloving; instead, He disciplined them because He loved them, and now He would show that same love through comforting them (Prov. 3:12).
Second, God shows His love by taking responsibility for the suffering His people experienced. “I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief” (emphasis added) (v. 6). The pain God’s people experienced came from His own hand. It happened under His watchful care; God Himself disciplined them. He was in control the entire time. They did not suffer under the hand of an unpredictable tyrant, nor did anything happen to them that God did not ordain. That reality may be difficult to process, but it also comforts God’s people to know that our heavenly Father disciplines out of love.
>> You may remember times in your life when discipline helped get you back on a good path. Other times, it may have felt unfair. God’s discipline is always just and always is intended to direct us back to a right relationship with Him.
We rejoice in Your discipline, heavenly Father. Thank You for being so involved in our lives that You personally intervene to correct and convict us. Your love is in every admonition.