As Seen On Sunday: Why You Mad Son?
Throughout this week we have established that the human condition can be described as sinful, fallen, and rebellious.
So allow me to pose this question: in light of the human condition do we harbor bitterness towards God?
What do I mean?
Let me paint a picture and then I’ll explain.
Think of your idealistic paradise: the apple store that has your favorite ramen place inside and serves Starbucks with free high speed internet. Add in a lazyboy and its perfect. You have everything you need. But this time instead of ordering your usual shio your so called friend convinces you to order the spicy miso because you are missing out on something by not having that one, even though the menu says you have to sign a waiver. You then proceed to puke everywhere are barred from ever coming back. Now you have to use windows vista on a dell latitude from 2005, eat 5 cent ramen, and have dial up.
Alright so that's not exactly what happened but it’s close. Adam and Eve were in the perfect garden with God but ultimately wanted more and wanted to be more - they wanted to be like God rather than what God created them to be. Our statement of faith embodies this when it says that “People are naturally rebellious toward the God who unfathomably loves them.”
But why? Is it because we cannot fathom how much God loves us that we just continue to rebel? Is our rebellion a cry for love like a disrespectful teenager? Are we mad at God for our own screw ups?
Our passage today, Hebrews 12: 1-17, takes us in reverse order of the typical structure of a sermon. Usually a preacher tells you how terrible you are and then offers you hope in Jesus. The author of Hebrews (who could be anyone from Paul, Apollos, Priscilla, Barnabas, or one of countless others as the author is unknown) gives us hope and reminds us what happens when we reject it.
Chapter 12 comes in light of what many refer to as the faith chapter. Right away we are pointed towards Jesus. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus since He is the Author and Perfecter of faith.
Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
But Jesus has.
5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. 7It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
I first want to say is that I don't believe all hardship is discipline, but we can learn something from all hardship. It would be wrong of anyone to use this passage to tell someone to “just accept what God is doing since they must deserve it.” We have the book of Job that says otherwise. We have Jesus himself who says that the man born blind was not the result of sinful parents but so the works of God would be displayed in him (John 9:3). I would accept the argument that hardship is a result of sin and God allows the results of our sin as discipline.
As much as we don't like discipline, what are we suppose to take away from what the author says about it?
1) Parents disciplining their children is assumed.
2) Discipline must come from a place of love
3) Discipline proves parental rights
4) Discipline is painful
5) Discipline is for our good
6) Discipline is for holiness and righteousness
7) Discipline is a process
Thanks for that thrilling list on discipline Sean whats that got to do with your initial question about bitterness?
12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
What's “therefore” there for?
This paragraph in our passage is life in light of this understanding of discipline. We cannot be discouraged by discipline because it is the chance to go in the right direction. In fact without it there is no holiness or righteousness and no one will see God.
We are even warned against being bitter against God… but I think that in our rebellious state many of us have become bitter towards God. We are mad at God that He did what He said He was going to do.
And this is a reoccurring theme that I keep running across: let me do what I want but #bless me.
Esau wanted soup now and later wanted the blessing. It says that he was rejected even though he sought with tears the chance to repent. This struck home for me.
WE DO GET A CHANCE AT REPENTANCE.
but are we throwing it away?
Do we cry out to God when the worship team hits the right cords during the alter call with literal tears but never repent? I can teach on how repentance is turing away and turning towards with great applause and great numbers but how many people stop picking the soup? have I stopped picking the soup?
and now we are bitter at God because the soup dries up, the soup spoils and NOW I'm ready for what you have for me God. and God says “spare the rod…” and as entitled as we are we go WHAT? where do you get off God. you owe me this. rather than “naked I was born…” This bitterness is described in the Bible as a root because it is so deep within us. it seems as if we are in a cycle of rebellion and bitterness, where bitterness drives more rebellion. When the discipline we despise is actually out of love so that we may share in His Holiness.
This is the human condition.
My challenge to myself is to put down the soup bowl and to allow the discipline of God to heal my deep rooted bitterness