And ye have forgotten - Or, have ye forgotten the exhortation? This quotation is made from Proverbs 3:11, Proverbs 3:12, and shows that the address there, which at first sight appears to be from Solomon to his son, or from some fatherly man to a person in affliction, is properly from God himself to any person in persecution, affliction, or distress.
Despise not thou the chastening - Μη ολιγωρει παιδειας Κυριου· Do not neglect the correction of the Lord. That man neglects correction, and profits not by it, who does not see the hand of God in it; or, in other words, does not fear the rod and him who hath appointed it, and, consequently, does not humble himself under the mighty hand of God, deplore his sin, deprecate Divine judgment, and pray for mercy.
Nor faint - Do not be discouraged nor despair, for the reasons immediately alleged.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation - This exhortation is found in Proverbs 3:11-12. The object of the apostle in introducing it here is, to show that afflictions were designed on the part of God to produce some happy effects in the lives of his people, and that they ought, therefore, to bear them patiently. In the previous verses, he directs them to the example of the Saviour. In this verse and the following, for the same object he directs their attention to the design of trials, showing that they are necessary to our welfare, and that they are in fact proof of the paternal care of God. This verse might be rendered as a question. “And have ye forgotten?” etc. This mode of rendering it will agree somewhat better with the design of the apostle.
Which speaketh, unto you - Which may be regarded as addressed to you; or which involves a principle as applicable to you as to others. He does not mean that when Solomon used the words, he had reference to them particularly, but that he used them with reference to the children of God, and they might therefore be applied to them. in this way we may regard the language of the Scriptures as addressed to us.
As unto children - As if he were addressing children. The language is such as a father uses.
My son - It is possible that in these words Solomon may have intended to address a son literally, giving him paternal counsel; or he may have spoken as the Head of the Jewish people, designing to address all the pious, to whom he sustained, as it were, the relation of a father. Or, it is possible also, that it may be regarded as the language of God himself addressing his children. Whichever supposition is adopted, the sense is substantially the same.
Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord - Literally, “Do not regard it as a small matter, or as a trivial thing - ὀλιγώρει oligōreiThe Greek word used here does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The word rendered here “chastening” - παιδεία paideia- and also in Hebrews 12:6-8, and in Hebrews 12:9, “corrected” - παιδευτὰς paideutas- does not refer to affliction in general, but that kind of affliction which is designed to correct us for our faults, or which is of the nature of discipline. The verb properly relates to the training up of a child - including instruction, counsel, discipline, and correction (see this use of the verb in Acts 7:22; 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 2:12), and then especially discipline or correction for faults - to “correct, chastise, chasten;” 1 Corinthians 11:32; 2 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 3:19. This is the meaning here; and the idea is, not that God will afflict his people in general, but that if they wander away he will correct them for their faults. He will bring calamity upon them as a punishment for their offences, and in order to bring them back to himself. He will not suffer them to wander away unrebuked and unchecked, but will mercifully reclaim them though by great sufferings. Afflictions have many objects, or produce many happy effects. That referred to here is, that they are means of reclaiming the wandering and erring children of God, and are proofs of his paternal care and love; compare 2 Samuel 7:14; 2 Samuel 12:13-14; Psalm 89:31-34; Proverbs 3:11-12. Afflictions, which are always sent by God, should not be regarded as small matters, for these reasons: (1)The fact that they are sent by God. Whatever he does is of importance, and is worthy of the profound attention of people. (2)they are sent for some important purpose, and they should be regarded, therefore, with attentive concern. Men “despise” them when: (1)they treat them with affected or real unconcern; (2)when they fail to receive them as divine admonitions, and regard them as without any intelligent design; and, (3)when they receive them with “expressions” of contempt, and speak of them and of the government of God with scorn. It should be a matter of deep concern when we are afflicted in any manner, not to treat the matter lightly, but to derive from our trials all the lessons which they are adapted to produce on the mind. Nor faint
- Bear up patiently under them. This is the second duty. We are first to study their character and design; and secondly, to bear up under them, however severe they may be, and however long they may be continued. “Avoid the extremes of proud insensibility and entire dejection” - Doddridge.
(1)The fact that they are sent by God. Whatever he does is of importance, and is worthy of the profound attention of people.
(2)they are sent for some important purpose, and they should be regarded, therefore, with attentive concern.
Men “despise” them when:
(1)they treat them with affected or real unconcern;
(2)when they fail to receive them as divine admonitions, and regard them as without any intelligent design; and,
(3)when they receive them with “expressions” of contempt, and speak of them and of the government of God with scorn.
It should be a matter of deep concern when we are afflicted in any manner, not to treat the matter lightly, but to derive from our trials all the lessons which they are adapted to produce on the mind.
Nor faint - Bear up patiently under them. This is the second duty. We are first to study their character and design; and secondly, to bear up under them, however severe they may be, and however long they may be continued. “Avoid the extremes of proud insensibility and entire dejection” - Doddridge.
The Lord will work for all who put their trust in Him. Precious victories will be gained by the faithful. Precious lessons will be learned. Precious experiences will be realized. MB 11.1
Our heavenly Father is never unmindful of those whom sorrow has touched. When David went up the Mount Olivet, “and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot” (2 Samuel 15:30), the Lord was looking pityingly upon him. David was clothed in sackcloth, and his conscience was scourging him. The outward signs of humiliation testified of his contrition. In tearful, heartbroken utterances he presented his case to God, and the Lord did not forsake His servant. Never was David dearer to the heart of Infinite Love than when, conscience-smitten, he fled for his life from his enemies, who had been stirred to rebellion by his own son. The Lord says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19. Christ lifts up the contrite heart and refines the mourning soul until it becomes His abode. MB 11.2
But when tribulation comes upon us, how many of us are like Jacob! We think it the hand of an enemy; and in the darkness we wrestle blindly until our strength is spent, and we find no comfort or deliverance. To Jacob the divine touch at break of day revealed the One with whom he had been contending—the Angel of the covenant; and, weeping and helpless, he fell upon the breast of Infinite Love, to receive the blessing for which his soul longed. We also need to learn that trials mean benefit, and not to despise the chastening of the Lord nor faint when we are rebuked of Him. MB 11.3Read in context »
For I have given you an example. John 13:15. TDG 263.1
We are forming characters for heaven. No character can be complete without trial and suffering. We must be tested, we must be tried. Christ bore the test of character of our behalf that we might bear this test in our own behalf through the divine strength He has brought to us. Christ is our example in patience, in forbearance, in meekness and lowliness of mind. He was at variance and at war with the whole ungodly world, yet He did not give way to passion and violence manifested in words and actions, although receiving shameful abuse in return for good works. He was afflicted, He was rejected and despitefully treated, yet He retaliated not. He possessed self-control, dignity, and majesty. He suffered with calmness and for abuse gave only compassion, pity, and love.... TDG 263.2Read in context »
There is a lesson for us in this experience of Paul's, for it reveals God's way of working. The Lord can bring victory out of that which may seem to us discomfiture and defeat. We are in danger of forgetting God, of looking at the things which are seen, instead of beholding by the eye of faith the things which are unseen. When misfortune or calamity comes, we are ready to charge God with neglect or cruelty. If He sees fit to cut off our usefulness in some line, we mourn, not stopping to think that thus God may be working for our good. We need to learn that chastisement is a part of His great plan and that under the rod of affliction the Christian may sometimes do more for the Master than when engaged in active service. AA 481.1
As their example in the Christian life, Paul pointed the Philippians to Christ, who, “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in a fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” AA 481.2
“Wherefore, my beloved,” he continued, “as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.” AA 481.3Read in context »