“If we would examine ourselves, we would not come under judgment. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined, so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:31-21 CJB
I don’t believe it is God’s way to punish us into learning His Ways and being obedient to them. One of the reasons is that we have His Word and in it He identifies who He is, His character and His instructions for life. If He were a teacher that gave no instruction, then punished every time a mistake was made He wouldn’t have given us The Book with His instructions and the examples of what happened to the people He chose to be His messengers, when they did or didn’t follow them. He wouldn’t have given us this Word up front as a means to foresee and prevent what He considers unacceptable behavior and its consequences.
However in the event we don’t police ourselves, He will judge and discipline in the short term, perhaps saving us from eternal consequences in the final judgment.
His Word is that we should examine ourselves. And His Word is the framework within which we critically examine ourselves. The purpose is that, prior to decision making, we would judge our plans to see if they are right or not and thus avoid making a mistake. This is the way we avoid the judgment and discipline of “The Lord.”
If we don’t examine ourselves, He will Himself do what we didn’t and discipline as well… the expected outcome to be a reality check, an attitude adjustment that will get us back onto the right path, save us from a momentary clouding of the mind that can result in long term, even eternal consequence.
He will use discipline as a means to get us to do that self examination. So important is that self examination to preventing grief.
Remember the account of King David’s experience with Naval, a wealthy man who David had treated with courtesy and respect. When David needed help this man refused and did so in an insulting way.
In a state of murderous anger at being shamed he reacted without self examination, taking his men and going to kill Naval.
Avigayil, Naval’s wife heard of the incident and in an instant prepared to meet David before he got to her husband to quiet his anger, humbling herself to him and providing the food and supplies her husband had refused.
She knew God was with David.
So she speaks:
“…Therefore , my lord, as ADONAI lives, and as you live, inasmuch as ADONAI has kept you from the guilt of shedding blood and from taking vengeance into your own hands…” and then, “when ADONAI has done all the good to my lord that He has said about you and made you ruler over Isra’el, what happens here will not have become an obstacle to you or a cause for remorse to my lord, neither that you shed blood without cause nor that my lord took vengeance into his own hands…”1 Samuel 25 CJB.
David was won over. She did for him what he should have done for himself. And this time it turned out well. What would have happened had he accomplished his first mindless goal?
At a later date we see King David again acting without self examining in the affair with Bat-Sheva. Here there was no Avigayil, no other influence to slow him down and make him think about the consequences of such and act. And as a result God judged and David was plagued with tragedy in his whole house till the day he died. David was brought to remorse and repentance but the whole thing could have been avoided had he policed his own intentions and actions and not left it to God… to do something that God willing, save him from eternal destruction.
Father, may we value and trust in Your Word to us and follow it as the Guide You intend it to be for us.
May we have the common sense to self examine as It advises, within the framework of the instructions You have given, and the wisdom to follow them.
May we do so Father because we love You and do so want to be pleasing and acceptable to You.
In Yeshua’s name we pray,
May God’s love be in us all.