The apostle quoted Proverbs when he wrote to the Hebrew believers. In verse 7 the apostle explains the quotation from Proverbs in verses 5 and 6, saying, "It is for discipline that you endure." This is the first New Testament explanation of the subject; it is a crucial word. Here the apostle shows us that endurance, suffering, and discipline are the same thing. God is disciplining us. The apostle shows us that this disciplining is the same as our endurance. It is for discipline that we endure.
Perhaps some will ask, "What is God’s discipline? Why is He disciplining us?" Verses 2 through 4 speak of enduring the cross, despising the shame, and resisting sin, whereas verses 5 and 6 speak of discipline and scourging. What is the relation between these two things? What are the discipline and scourging in verses 5 and 6, and what are the shame, affliction, and resistance against sin in verses 2 through 4? Verse 7 is a conclusion of verses 2 through 6. It shows us that what we endure is God’s discipline. Thus, suffering, shame, and affliction are God’s discipline. Although our resistance against sin is not unto blood, the pain and tribulation are nevertheless part of God’s discipline.
How does God discipline us? His discipline has to do with whatever He is bringing us through and whatever He is charging us to endure. Do not consider God’s discipline as anything else. God’s discipline is what we endure every day, things such as harsh words, an unkind face, a sharp tongue, an impolite retort, an unreasonable criticism, unexpected troubles, various kinds of shame, irresponsibility, infractions, and other more serious problems arising in the family. Sometimes it may be sickness, poverty, affliction, or difficulty. We encounter many things and endure many things. The apostle said that all these are God’s discipline! It is for discipline that we endure.
The question today is: What kind of response do we have when others give us an ugly look? If their look is God’s discipline, how should we react? If our business fails because others have forgotten to do something for us, how should we react? If the poor memory of another person is God’s discipline to us, what should we do? If we become sick through another’s infection, how should we deal with it? If things turn sour through various misfortunes, what do we say? If things do not go our way because God’s discipline is behind them, what should we say? Brothers and sisters, the response to all these things makes a great difference in us! We can consider everything in our environment as being a mere encounter; this is one kind of attitude. We can also consider it to be God’s discipline; this is another kind of attitude. The words of the apostle here are very clear. He says that it is for discipline that we endure. Please do not consider all these things to be unendurable. They are God’s discipline. Do not conclude foolishly that they are mere coincidence. We must realize that God daily arranges these things and measures them for our discipline.
Verse 7 continues, "God deals with you as with sons." God deals with us as with sons. "For what son is there whom the father does not discipline?" What we experience is God’s discipline. Today all discipline comes to us because He deals with us as with sons. Please bear in mind that discipline is God’s way of honoring us, not afflicting us. Many hold the wrong concept that they are disciplined by God because God wants to torture them. No! We are disciplined by God because God is honoring us. He deals with us as with sons. For what son is there whom the father does not discipline? Discipline is God’s honoring of us! We have become God’s sons; therefore, we must be disciplined. God disciplines us in order to bring us to the place of blessing and glory. We should never think that we are tormented by God. For what son is there whom the father does not discipline?
(New Believers Series: Discipline of God, The #19, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)