You have done many good things for me, Lord, just as you promised. I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgement and knowledge. I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word. You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees. Arrogant people smear me with lies, but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart. Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your instructions. My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver. Psalm 119: 65-72 NLT
I suppose that the word discipline has become synonymous with punishment in our society. However, it really means to teach. As a leader in Cub Scouts, I know the important of teaching boundaries and skills, of having rules and consequences, in order to help the boys become the best they can be. Without discipline, we would be lost as a group and the boys would be lost as individuals. I can see this happen with many children in this country today. They drift from activity to activity with no thought about what is the right thing to do or the most important activity to complete first. And no one seems to be giving them any kind of teaching. Instead, they are allowed to do whatever they desire.
When the psalmist says that he used to wander off until God disciplined him, he means until God actually gave him boundaries, meaning and direction, he would simply drift from action to action. God’s commandments and laws have built up guidelines, rules, and right action in the psalmist’s life. The psalmist understands that God’s rules as well as the punishment that occurs when those rules are broken help him become the best person that he can be -- which is truly more valuable than millions in gold.
God, you seek to discipline me so that I can become the person you call me to be. Help me not to be stubborn or self-seeking but to listen and obey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright Amelia G. Sims 2012