His Loving Discipline
(8) Understand, you senseless ones among the people, and you fools, when will you be wise? (9) He who planted the ear, will he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? (10) He who disciplines the nations, will he not correct (the one) who teaches humanity knowledge? (11) Yahweh knows the thoughts of a man that they (are) only a breath. (12) Blessed is the man whom you discipline, Yahweh, and whom you teach from your law, (13) to give him rest from days of trouble until a pit is dug for the wicked, (14) for Yahweh will not forsake his people. He will not abandon his inheritance, (15) for justice will return for the righteous and all the upright in heart will follow it.
The psalmist begins this segment with four rhetorical questions to emphasize how God deals with those whom he loves both to “correct” (discipline) and to “teach” them (vss. 8-10). These are the two repeated words found in this middle third of the psalm (vss. 10 & 12). The emphasis then shifts from the nature of Yahweh’s discipline (vss. 8-11) to considering how Yahweh will bless those who favorably respond to his discipline, particularly those in covenant relationship with him (vss. 12-15).
I. Focus on Yahweh who judges and disciplines (8-11)
II. Focus on blessings for responding positively to his discipline (12-15)
Because God is both just and loving, he will not abandon us when we sin but will discipline us in order to restore us to himself.
We do not readily associate discipline with blessing simply because, in our natural self-centeredness, we find correction unpleasant, even offensive. We struggle to accept any rebuke or criticism that comes our way. However, the Scriptures clearly indicate that God disciplines us as a father because he loves us and wants what is best for us. Consider what Hebrews 12 has to say in this regard: “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons, for what son is not disciplined by his father” (Heb. 12:6 & 7)?
While we may not enjoy the discipline we are experiencing at any given moment, we should view it as evidence of God’s care and compassion for us. We need to take seriously the psalmist’s word, “Blessed is the man whom you discipline, Yahweh” (vs. 12), giving thanks to God for doing what is beneficial for our spiritual growth. As the title of the 1950’s TV sit-com put it, “Father knows best.”