“Looks like she got herself into a little hot water!” Into a situation she can’t stand. Into a situation she desperately wants out of. And now, she has nowhere to turn but to God. No one to run to except the One who created her. No one to tell her troubles to except the Savior.
Sometimes Christians DO get into hot water. And, God lets them sweat it out. He lets them stew in their own juices for a while. Why? Because He doesn’t care? No, because He DOES care. He cares about what we’re doing and what we’re becoming. He says in Rev. 3:19, “As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten…” To chasten literally means to clean up, to make good, or to make clean.
Mixed up affections. One common thing that God has to chasten us from is liking the wrong things too much. And, loving God too little. Maybe you, yourself are guilty of this. The strikes close to home for most of us.
Liking sports, hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities to the point that they deny God the service that He deserves from you. Or, liking your pets, your hobbies and your TV so much that they take away from God time that is rightfully His.
Could be your social life with its various activities; or your job and career. (Even a person that you like so much, that they have drawn you from your close walk with the Savior.) Anything that has bumped God out of the Number One spot in your heart. You might still TALK it, that He’s Number 1 and that’s nothing’s changed. But, in actual practice, you’re missing more church than you used to, and it doesn’t bother you like it once did.
Sometimes God will use your Pastor to rebuke you. Through the ministry of the Word, the Holy Spirit will speak words that are aimed at your heart like a missile from Heaven. Listen to what God is saying to you when this happens.
When things come between you and your best walk with God, God begins to rebuke and chasten. There never has been and idol that God didn’t ultimately root out, pull down and smash to bits.” For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you (Deut. 6:5).
No matter how good something or someone may be, when we put them in a place that should belong to God alone, He cries, “Away with it.”
We might weep many tears at God’s rebuke, but if we DO put God back in His rightful place, we might not have to lose the thing we treasure so much. Plus, with God first in our hearts, we can enjoy the good things He’s given us much more, and with a clean conscience and full faith.
Another thing He rebukes is covetousness. We live in a consumer society that teaches us that abundant life consist of abundant material possessions. Even some churches and ministries have succumbed to this lie from hell. So, they get themselves in debt with their mega-buildings and furnishings and then pressure the people of God to pay for it.
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9 says that. The ministry has been leavened and now the people of God, the lump has been leavened. We have gotten so comfortable and puffed up (or swollen) we hardly know what to do with ourselves.
We’re like Jeshurun in Deut. 32:15. “Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness: Then he forsook God which made him and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”
Abundance and the lack of joy. The people of God have enjoyed the prosperity and abundance of God to the point that we don’t remember what it is to be satisfied with Jesus alone. To “just be saved” isn’t enough anymore. We feel slighted if we see an unsaved person with more of this world’s goods than what God has seen fit to bless us with.
Knowing what covetousness will do to the Christian’s spirit, God has to chasten us, to bring us back to seeing joy in Jesus and in Him alone. “Beware of covetousness.” (Luke 12:15).
Rebuke for lack of compassion. Once we’ve had our feet pulled out of the miry clay of sin and put on the solid rock of the Gospel (Psalm 40:2), we too easily forget what it was like to be fainthearted and weak.
Then, when we meet with some of the poorer saints, we look down our noses at them, like we’re something, and they’re nothing. We meet with those who are distressed and faint hearted and forget that we were weak too. That’s a sure sign that a divine rebuke and chastening is on it’s way. Like Charles Spurgeon said, “There never was a saint yet, that grew proud of his fine feathers, but what the Lord plucked them out by and by.”
Another behavior that brings rebuke from the Lord is slackness. How many Christians are prime examples of laziness! Not in their work. Or on their jobs. But in the things of God; in doing the work that God has called them to do.
How many Christians have eyes to see with, brains to think with, tongues to speak with, but no heart to work for God! Some people who sit in the services have no business sitting there. Not when there are Sunday school classes that need to be taught. Or a group of hurting teenagers that no one has the heart to reach out to.
After playing in the mud, it’s bath time. Transgressing what God has called you to do IS fun for a while. Heb. 11:25 tells us that sin is pleasure, for a season. But, the sin that was first pleasure comes back to you as a whip. Read your Bible. Notice how almost every saint has been chastened for the sin he or she has committed by having the very same sin falling on his or her head.
Why does God rebuke and chasten? His chastening isn’t a punishment, it’s for cleansing, and for your own profit. He has no motive other than your being able to be close to Him.
Like my dog. My dog likes nothing better than to go down into the woods and run through the swamp, and get all smelly and dirty. THEN, he wants to come in my house and lay at my feet on the carpet!
And, as much as I love him, I can’t let him get too near to me or the rest of the family when he smells like an overloaded septic truck. So, because we LOVE him, we fill a tub with hot water and soap and plunge him in.
He thinks at the time that we must hate him. He feels like he’s being punished. But, before there’s the closeness that we all want, he gets that bath!
THEN, he’s allowed back in with us! Once again, he’s granted “favored dog” status! But, not hot water – no fellowship.
Sometimes God lets you get into hot water to keep you OUT of sin. He sees the seed of it in your heart, and speaks to you, to uproot it before it comes to the surface and becomes as a thorn in your flesh. He sees the embryo of carnality or lust in your heart; He sees that the little egg of selfishness is about to hatch and produce sin. He comes on the scene and crushes it through a rebuke, or a chastening.
We’ll never know this side of Heaven how much guilt we have been saved from by the “hot water” of God! We’re ready to jump in, and feeling the heat, we jump back in shock or fear!
One day, we’ll be able to look back and pray, “Dear God, I thank you that by putting me in a little hot water, you saved me from a sin that would have caused more trouble and more pain…and would have been so much more dangerous.”
Take comfort in this. When you’re in a trial, in hot water, know that GOD LOVES YOU STILL. Remember that ALL YOU SUFFER IS SENT IN LOVE. Hebrews 12:11 says it like this: “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Realize that God doesn’t change. He is being just as kind to you when He sends you little as when He sends you much. He is as good to you when He delays the answer to your prayers as when He answers them speedily. The question is, “Are you His child?” If so, then, He has rebuked you in love, with tender affection, and there is fondness in His chastising.
You’re in hot water. Come to the blessed Fount of Living Water that you can plunge in and be clean! When God lets you get into hot water, it’s never to drown you; it’s always to cleanse you!
Job 5:17, “Happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Lord.”