Now Daniel and Ezekiel had no control over their circumstances. They, like Esther in the palace of the king, like John on the Isle of Patmos, like Paul in the Roman prison, and many others throughout the ages, had no control over their situation. They were like Job, who was also held captive in circumstances over which he had no control. We know Job was a captive during his ordeal, because, in Job 42:10, the Word says, "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job ..." And it is in Job 5:17, which is probably one of the oldest recorded stories of God's dealings with man, that we find these words first recorded: "Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, whom God correcteth. So do not despise, regard lightly, the discipline of the Almighty". Now Job and each one of these men and women were bond-servants of the Lord; and they had done their best to follow the Lord, but each of them experienced circumstances that were beyond their control. THEY WERE IN CAPTIVITY and God had not only allowed the captivity, He purposely, in His eternal plan, placed them there.
Therefore, in Hebrews 12:5, we, along with all those who have chosen to live by faith, are asked this question: Have you completely forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as sons of the Father of our spirits? This question follows the fact that this letter was written to those who were in times of discipline and testing; they were going through hard trials; and they were in danger of "drawing back". Many of those who were in danger of missing their portion in the highest calling the Lord had for them, which is sharing within our heart the burden of His heart for His people to become the fullness of Christ Who filleth all in all.
Now some of the Lord's people were in danger of "drawing back" because they had become absorbed in their circumstances; and as a result of this, they became entangled in the sin which so easily entangles every one of us: - they became absorbed with their own problems and their own circumstances. Therefore, they could not run with endurance the race that the Lord had set before them (Hebrews 12:1). They were not looking unto Jesus Who was the Author and Finisher of faith. The discipline, the chastening, the testing and trials were hiding the fact that they were being chastened as sons, because the Father loved them; for He was preparing them to share His burden for the people of God. They were being held captive by their circumstances, circumstances that the Father of their spirits had ordained. They did not understand that it was through His discipline that they would be purged and cleared in their innermost being so that He could flow through their heart, spirit, and soul unhindered. They were forgetting, as all of us at times forget, that "now" during these hard times, "the just shall live by faith." They forgot, as we all forget at times, the exhortation which speaks to us "as sons": "My son, despise not, do not regard lightly, the discipline of the Lord, nor faint, nor grow weary or exhausted, when you are reproved by Him, for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines."
Job was devoted to the Lord, but he went through a very hard time in his spirit and soul because he did not know or understand that there was a great battle going on between God and satan in the spiritual realm. Job went through some of the hardest disciplines of the Lord; he went through THE DISCIPLINE OF NOT UNDERSTANDING AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE UNEXPLAINABLE.
Beloved, as children of God, most of us have come to realize that God must discipline, chasten, correct, purge and cleanse our soul - our mind, emotion, and will - from its self-centeredness; and we have come to realize that the Lord disciplines us through the work of the Cross in our lives and its principle of self-denial. However, do we also realize that when the Father of spirits is disciplining us in our soul, that He must also, through the work of the Cross, discipline, correct, purge, cleanse and clear our human spirit, so that the Lord can flow through our innermost being unhindered, in order that our service, our intercession, will glorify the Lord?
In this small booklet, the Lord has led us to share many of the disciplines. He has shown us in His Word. We are sure that those who are reading this have experienced some of these disciplines, and some others that we have not yet found or experienced. Not all of us have been privileged to share each one of these disciplines, but each of us have experienced in measure some of them, as we are sure you have. We have mainly shared just the Scriptures the Lord has shown us on the disciplines; for the Lord has His Own ways of disciplining each one of those He loves. We have found that praying through these disciplines helps us to understand more fully our Father's many ways of discipline; and, as we submit to the disciplines of the Lord, we have also found that every experience of discipline leads us into a greater depth in prayer. So, beloved, may we submit unto the Father of our spirits and live.
(continued with # 3 - (The Discipline of Love)