I will disgrace the dignitaries of your temple, and I will consign Jacob to destruction. (Isa. 43:28)

MY HUSBAND AND I ENJOY watching movies about underdog sports teams that are transformed into champions. The common thread that runs through these stories is that the head coach is a disciplinarian and there’s at least one rebellious team member. The coach insists the player obey his instructions, and there are serious consequences when he doesn’t. It’s agonizing to watch the chastisement the disobedient person receives. But by the end of the show, we’re rejoicing at the skill the athlete gains when he finally submits to his trainer, and the appreciation he feels. The player has come to understand that the actions of the uncompromising coach are meant for good.

When the Israelites ignored God’s instruction and turned to idols, He allowed the Babylonians to conquer them. I must admit that at first glance, God’s discipline of His people made me uncomfortable. However, further reading revealed that the Babylonian captivity resulted in something positive. It served to soften the hearts of the Israelites and turned them back to God.

There may be times when God must discipline us. We shouldn’t confuse this with cruel punishment. Hebrews 12:11 assures us that the Lord’s discipline, though painful, produces righteousness and peace for those trained by it. God’s chastening is evidence of His great love and concern for our well-being. That’s reason to rejoice.

Ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and reveal any disobedience He finds there.

Nancy Reinke lives in the Colorado Rockies with her artist husband. She enjoys writing, hiking, grandmothering, and encouraging others.