Summary: We have to discipline our children, and sometimes the things they do are so funny, we have to hold back our laughter in the midst of discipline. There’s nothing funny about the sin that God’s people commit against Him.
People are funny, and the funniest people, in my judgement are children. As much as we love our children, we soon find out that they require discipline. When my oldest son was born, I took his picture with me to show people. I showed it to an elderly black lady, and I’ll never forget what she said. She said, “That’s sho yo baby, alright.” Now, I hadn’t even considered that he might not be my baby, but it was comforting to get her confirmation on the matter! Then she said, “You’re gonna hate to have to spank his behind, but if you don’t, it won’t be long ‘til he will be spanking your heart.”
I ran across these observations that were made by one parent:
1) There is no such thing as child proofing your home. 2) Baseballs make marks on the ceiling. 3) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. 4) A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way. 5) The glass in windows, even double pane ones, is not strong enough to stop a baseball that has been hit by a ceiling fan. 6) When you hear the toilet flush and the words “Uh-oh”, it’s already too late. 7) A six year old can start a fire with a flint rock even though a thirty six year old man says they can only do that in the movies. 8) If you use a waterbed as home plate while wearing baseball shoes, it does not leak – it explodes. 9) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 square foot house 4 inches deep
Even experiences where discipline is required with our children are often funny. We’ve all got stories we could tell. But, God’s discipline of His children is not funny. I can’t think of one instance in all the Bible, or in my own life, where I can look at sin and say, “Isn’t that cute?”
In so many ways, looking at the attitudes and actions of Israel is like looking in a mirror. God had done so much for them, yet they appreciated it so little.
It just dawned on me the other day that the reason there were 400 hundred years between Malachi and Matthew, with no word from heaven, was for a couple of reasons:
1) If His people were so bored with God, He would just let them see what things are like when He stopped communicating with them. He just stepped back and let the circumstances they created give them a good whipping. In Malachi they were not under the rule of the Roman empire, but in Malachi they were.
2) God was allowing an atmosphere to develop that should create a hunger in their hearts for a word from God, and particularly, for the Messiah.
In these verses, God was saying, “I am going to discipline you because of your wilful misunderstanding of Me.” They had come to think that God would just have to settle for whatever they offered Him. He could demand what He wanted to, but He would have to take what they gave.
I think there is an epidemic of that same kind of attitude in our day, don’t you? We can easily see in these Scriptures that God was not pleased with it back then. How do you think He likes now?
Verses two and three are key verses in this passage. Look what God says He is going to do.
1) Curse their blessings. Then, he says, “I’ve already cursed them.” They were like Samson, who didn’t even know the blessing of God had left his life. What were their blessings? They had abundant provisions, and that was a blessing from God. They had rest from their enemies, and that was a blessing from God. They were a healthy people, and that was a blessing from God. But, it was all about to end. It was already in the working.
2) He would rebuke their descendants. What they were doing was not only having a negative effect on their own lives, but they were going to bring the rebuke of God on the lives of their children and grandchildren. Not because God was going to punish them for what their parents and grandparents had done, but because they were going to follow the examples they had been given. For the most part, that’s what children do.
3) He would spread refuse on their faces. That means poop. He was going to give them a “manure make-over!” In other words, God was going to let them be discredited and humiliated in the eyes of the public.
4) He would remover them. It’s not a problem for God to take any of us out of the way, if we are dishonoring Him.