Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore despise not you the chastening of the Almighty:…
Happy is the man whom God correcteth. How multiform and unexpected are the incidents of human life!
I. WHEN DOES THE CHASTISEMENT OF THE ALMIGHTY CONDUCE TO OUR HAPPINESS? l. When it induces thoughtfulness. It is surprising how little we think, i.e., think seriously and well. Of eternal things we hardly think at all. The correction of the Almighty leads us to say, Wherefore hath the Lord done this? Hence thoughtfulness deepens and increases.
2. When it reminds us of our frailty. The consideration of our latter end avails much to moderate our attachment to a world the fashion of which passeth away, and from which we ourselves are hastening.
3. When it induces more earnest prayer. It is no easy matter to keep alive the power of religion in the soul. Nothing but habitual watchfulness and prayer will do it. To this we are naturally averse, and this natural aversion doth remain even in them that are regenerate. There are few who do not know how cold and formal, how negligent and careless we can become in prayer. Happy is it when our trouble leads us to greater and more importunate earnestness in prayer.
4. When it raises our minds above sublunary things. The soul, chastened and corrected here, will affect the rest which remains for her hereafter.
5. When it endears to us the Lord Jesus Christ. When our sin is discovered to us, how all-desirable does Jesus Christ become. Never do we so fully appreciate this gift as when we are racked with pain, worn with disease, and when, standing on the verge of time, we are about, expectantly, to launch away into the eternal world.
II. WHY, THEREFORE, SHOULD CHASTISEMENT NOT BE DESPISED?
1. Because it is the correction of a tender Father. A loving father does not willingly afflict his child. Amidst our severest sufferings God is our Father still.
2. Because God is almighty to save and to deliver. A father may make as though he heard not the cry of a corrected child: nevertheless, the cry of a broken and contrite heart will move and interest him.
3. Because God designs our spiritual good thereby. The Lord woundeth and maketh us sore, purposely for the fuller and more glorious manifestation of His own power and goodness, first in the humiliation, and then in the salvation of our souls. He empties us of self-love and carnal complacency, to fill us with His grace and Spirit. He tries our faith to prove its preciousness. Shall we then dread the fire that refines?
4. Because Christ went before us to glory through sufferings. Nothing should be undervalued that tends to make us like Jesus Christ.
5. Because it tends to meeten us instrumentally for heaven. There must be a preparedness of mind for its society, its converse, its employments. This is nowhere so readily acquired as in the school of affliction.
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: