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Pastor Steve Ellison
The Bible is not a history book or science book, but it is accurate in all those areas. But its purpose is not history or science. The Bible tells the story of Redemption. The Bible is designed to direct praise, honor, and glory to God. However, the Bible is also a great gift from God to man. The Creator has given His creatures a manual which will bring great joy and peace to the one who follows it. Again, if followed, this manual will first keep the creature from great pain and misery. From the beginning of creation, God has been very clear about the conditions under which we would be kept from harm. He repeatedly told us that our blessing and protection would be conditional. We would be safe and blessed if we obeyed Him.
Deuteronomy 28 lists curse after curse after curse if we fail to obey Him. Faith demands that we believe that promise to be true. God has put physical laws into place. If we break them, we bear the consequences. God has put spiritual laws into place. If we break them, we bear the consequences for that also. Often, these natural consequences are enough discipline to get us to change our behavior without any extra consequences in the form of punishment. However, sometimes that is not enough for some of us. Sometimes real punishment is needed.
In our journey through the Scriptures stopping to examine God’s questions, we come to the first chapter of Isaiah. Isaiah 1:5 asks a very blunt question in two separate but identical in meawning phrases. “Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion?” The questions are immediately followed by a description of their condition which renders their behavior even more puzzling. “Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness — only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil.” (NIV)
Isaiah 1:5-7 describes Israel as a nation that does not have to take Deuteronomy 28 by faith. Israel has found out the hard way that God keeps His promises. It can also apply to rebellious individuals. Here a rebellious person is described as one who has been beaten by the rod of God as punishment for his rebellion. He has been beaten from head to toe. His body is described as having no place left to beat that has not already been beaten. There is no place left to stripe with a whip. His wounds are described as unhealed. The assumption is not that they are fresh; having recently been received but, rather they are the result of long-term, on-going punishment.
His wounds will be forever not healed because he continues to live in rebellion to God and continually receives new strokes of the rod. The point here is a very sad one. This rebellious soul refuses to learn. He refuses to obey as a means of stopping the beatings. These beatings are given not only as punishment but also as discipline. It is always God’s desire that we repent, turn away from sin, turn toward Him and obey His commands. I do not know what form these beatings might take in your life, so I can’t tell you a sure way to determine if bad things in your life are actually punishment from the Lord.
What I do know is this: a much more effective response is a proactive one, where you study the Bible, learning what God’s commands are, and making a conscious effort to obey them. His commands are for His glory and your benefit. Obedience is a sure way to avoid the beatings. Why should you be beaten anymore?