Chastisement – Andrew Murray
“Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest out of Thy law; that Thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity” Psalm 94:12,13.
“Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept Thy word …. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes” Psalm 119:67,71.
“He chastens us for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness” Hebrews 12:10.
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” James 1:2,3.
Every child of God must at one time or another enter the school of trial. What the Scriptures teach us is confirmed by experience. And the Scriptures teach us further, that we are to count it a joy when God takes us into this school. It is a part of our heavenly blessedness to be educated and sanctified by the Father through chastisement.
Not that trial in itself brings a blessing.1 Just as there is no profit in watering or plowing seedless ground, so there are children of God who enter into trial and have little blessing from it. The heart is softened for a time, but they do not know how to obtain an abiding blessing from it. They do not know what the Father has in mind for them in the school of trial.
In a good school four things are necessary–a definite aim, a good textbook, a capable teacher, and a willing pupil.
1. Let the aim of any trial be clear to you. Holiness is the highest glory of the Father and also of the child. He “chastens us for our profit that we may be partakers of His holiness.”2 In trial, the Christian often wants to have only comfort. Or he seeks to be quiet and contented under the special chastisement. This is indeed the beginning–but the Father desires something else, something higher. He wants to make him holy–holy for his whole life. When Job said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21), this was still just the beginning of his school time. The Lord still had more to teach him. God desires to unite our will with His holy will, not only on the one point in which He is trying us, but in everything. God wants to fill us with His Holy Spirit–with His holiness. This is the aim of God. This must also be your aim in the school of trial.
2. Especially during this time of trial, let the Word of God be your reading book. Notice how God desires to teach us His Word in our trials and afflictions. The Word will reveal to you why the Father chastens you, how deeply He loves you in the midst of it, and how rich His promises of consolation are. Trial will give new glory to the promises of the Father. In chastisement, return to the Word for counsel.3
3. Let Jesus be your teacher. He Himself was sanctified by suffering. It was in suffering that He learned full obedience. He has a wonderfully sympathetic heart. Have much communion with Him. Do not seek your comfort from the words spoken to or with other men. Give Jesus the opportunity of teaching you. Speak and meditate often with Him in solitude.4 The Father has given you the Word, the Spirit, and the Lord Jesus as your sanctification, so that you may be set apart for Him. Affliction and chastisement are meant to bring you to the Word–to Jesus Himself–so that He may make you a partaker of His holiness. It is in fellowship with Jesus that consolation comes of itself.5
4. Be a willing pupil. Acknowledge your ignorance. Do not think that you understand the will of God. Ask and expect that the Lord will teach you the lesson that you are to learn in affliction. To the meek there is the promise of teaching and wisdom. Seek to have the ear open, the heart very quiet and turned toward God. Know that it is the Father who has placed you in the school of trial. Yield yourself with all willingness to hear what He says, and to learn what He would teach you. He will bless you greatly in this.
“Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, and teachest out of Thy law” (Psalm 94:12). “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. . . . that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2,4). Regard the time of trial as a time of blessing, as a time of close communication with the Father, of being made a partaker of His holiness, and you will also rejoicingly say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psalm 119:71).
Father, what thanks I will express to You for the glorious light that Your Word casts upon the dark trials of this life. You will teach me by this means and make me a partaker of Your holiness. You have not considered the suffering and the death of Your beloved Son too much to bring holiness near to me. And I will be willing to endure Your chastisement to become a partaker of that holiness. Father, thanks be to You for Your precious work. Only fulfil Your counsel in me. Amen.