Two Journeys Ministry
In-Depth Biblical Content by Pastor Andy Davis
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O Lord, Do Not Discipline Me

Why does God discipline those he loves?

by Andy Davis on February 28, 2023

the lord disciplines those he loves"O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath." -  Psalm 6:1


This is a mournful Psalm, with a somber tone. How wide is the range of emotions depicted in the Psalms! Here David is “faint,” “in agony,” “groaning,” “weeping,” filled with “sorrow.” Early in the Psalm, it seems that he is suffering because of his own sins. Thus, in verse 1, he asks the Lord not to rebuke him in wrath or discipline him in anger. Rebukes and discipline come as a result of sin, and the righteousness of God breaks out against it. In verse 2, David asks for mercy, which is frequently requested in the context of personal sin.

But later in the Psalm, David's problems seem to be caused by his enemies (verse 7: “My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.”) It could be that David has sinned, and God is using David's foes to discipline him. This is definitely the case with Absalom, as the prophet Nathan told him in 2 Samuel 12:11-12. It may also be the case with Sheba, in 2 Samuel 20. God openly threatened to use David's enemies to chasten him for the sinful census he took (cf. 2 Samuel 24:13). And there is no doubt that the Lord used enemies to chasten David's son, Solomon, for his idolatries (cf. 1Kings 11:14-40). 

In Psalm 6, however, David, shows the proper response to the discipline of the Lord: he returns to the Lord with weeping and sorrow, and he begs the Lord for two things- forgiveness AND the removal of the discipline. What's more, he receives confident assurance by the end of his prayer that the Lord has heard his requests and will honor his cry for mercy. He is assured that God will, in effect, “switch sides” and vindicate David by fighting against the very foes He'd brought in to accomplish the discipline!

All of this reveals the truth of Hebrews 12:11: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Afterward, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” David allows himself to be trained fully by the discipline... he yields to it and feels its sting. He submits to it by feeling the grief fully.  But David's full submission to the discipline of the Lord does not prevent him from beseeching the Lord to remove the discipline as soon as possible. In all this, he follows the way laid out in James 4:7-10 and 1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  

"The suffering a child of God does in discipline is completely purposeful and redemptive, not for punishment but for training."

God is not looking for us to suffer to atone for our sins. Only an eternity of our suffering in hell could approach payment of that debt, were it not for Christ. No, the suffering a child of God does in discipline is completely purposeful and redemptive, not for punishment but for training. Discipline is meant to disciple! It trains us in righteousness, and when the lesson is over, we and God are both delighted to see it end!

Tags: indwelling sin