Deuteronomy 7:7–12, Deuteronomy 8:5–6, 2 Samuel 7:11–16, Hebrews 12:3–11 (read
The way Deuteronomy 7:10 is often interpreted is as “…[God]…destroys those who hate him…” However, אָבַד (“awbad”) is also translated elsewhere in the Scriptures as broken or unmade. The concept of unmade or broken, so as to be re-made or “fixed”, is much more consistent in the continuing context of Deuteronomy. It is a matter of being disciplined (and discipled), not death or annihilation. Why is this important?
Disciplining (not punishing) and discipling are acts of love. The intent is to remake or reform into something new. As God is doing the remaking and reform, it is into God’s own image (unmarred by sin) that Israel would be shaped. However, for disciplining and discipling to be truly effective the person (or people) being reformed and reshaped must be willing and responsive. Israel, as a whole, often was neither.
When God tells David that Solomon will be God’s son, we see a foreshadowing of the adoption that we all receive through Jesus Christ. As a son, God promised that Solomon would be disciplined when he walks out of bounds. This is not God seeking to punish, but to form. This also becomes part of the Messianic lineage that is part of Jesus. Jesus a descendant of David, whose “throne” is established forever.
When today is when we light the candle representing love, why are we talking about discipline and discipling? The world’s concept of love cannot take into account God’s intense desire to restore us to the way we were intended to be. God knows that even at our best we will still stumble and fall. When the author of Hebrews wrote his letter, he understood this deeply. God’s love is so deep and true that he loves us just as we are. God also loves us so much that he doesn’t want us to stay as we are.
God’s love isn’t some weak romantic love. God’s love is deep and strong. Through Christ, we see how strong and how sacrificial God’s love is. When it is God’s love that lights the candle, no amount of darkness will quench it.
1) Why is it important to acknowledge discipline and discipling as part of love, especially God’s love?
2) What is discipline? What is discipling?
3) What are your thoughts on the concept of transformative love?