Summary: Pain can be a gift from God that leads us to sanctification or push us from relationship with Him. It all depends on our response.
Thorns That Hinder & Thorns That Help
Genesis 2 tells us, “And the LORD planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” The name Eden means delight. I don’t know, but from what we read there was no such thing in that world as pain as we know it. Oh, I have wondered if Adam felt the scar from which the LORD took the rib to form his wife. But we imagine that there was no twinge of pain for there were no thorns. There was no death. Of the next world, the Revelator says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4 NIV). But in our present world, we do not know what life is like without pain. Along with the fall came pain. Pain in childbirth. Pain in work. Pain from thorns and thistles. What began in a garden of delight now bears the results of sin – pain. It is our constant companion from the moment we are born when the light strikes our eyes and the cold nips at our naked skin, to the times we stumble as we attempt to walk, or when we skin our knees falling from our bike. Pain is our constant companion. It is a friend that warns of danger when we have snuck away from a parent and stuck our hand in the fire on the stove, or the jolt of electricity when we stuck that fork in the wall receptacle. It is a friend that causes us to stop the things that hurt. And sometimes the pain comes from others. Sometimes because of love when we were young our parents disciplined us to keep us from running in the street. No parent is perfect and some even hurt intentionally… But our text reads.
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
NIV – They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness.
1. GOD IS HOLY
God is holy. Holiness is not something we completely understand. It first-of- all means to be separated from something else. When we say God is holy we are speaking first-of-all of the truth that God is wholly other than the rest of Creation. As I read yesterday and studied the opening verses of the Gospel of John I was once again struck by the truth that God is completely outside and other than anything in the created universe. John 1:3 says of the Word that “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Merrill C. Tenney writes of the phrase “all things”:
Relates to the universe, its elements and its systems of law. “Came into being” implies a crisis, a transition from what was not to what is. The tense of the verb (aorist) implies occurrence without relation to elapsed time, and event, not a process. By the use of this tense the interest is not centered in the method of creation. It contrasts with the word was in the first [three phrases of John 1] which presupposes duration. The [Word] exists eternally; the material universe, temporally.
Everything owes its existence to this One. This One says in Isaiah
• 44:24, “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.”
• 44:8, “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”
• 45:5, “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.”