God’s Delight (and Yours!) (Proverbs 3:11-12)
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. —Proverbs 3:11-12
Black and white. Oil and water. Cops and robbers. Summer and winter. We can think of lots of pairs that by nature exist in contrast to one another. Like “discipline” and “delight.” Those two words hardly seem fit to belong in a sentence together, but here they are in glorious, wondrous, incredible harmony. The ability of the son to avoid “despising” and weariness is found in the father’s delight.
Sometimes there are some sentences that just deserve to be read from the end to the start rather than start to end. This is one of them: The father who delights in his son, reproves him in love, and so it is with the Lord, therefore do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof. Discipline is a function of genuine delight on the father’s part, and that delight is the foundation of the son’s endurance.
I have known what it means to endure punishment when there is no delight. I have known what it is to be an object of scorn, treated with malicious intent to serve the selfish interests of others in their quest for self-justification and self-satisfaction. I have been ridiculed, beaten, dismissed, and rejected by those who have taken no delight in me.
And I know it can be difficult to view God’s discipline through the filter of delight when others have smeared the Vaseline of sin over the lens of life, but know this: God delights in his children and his discipline is a function of that delight. His wrath is reserved for sinners. His delight is reserved for sons.
How can we know God delights in his children? First of all, He says so, and God cannot and does not lie. Period. Not about anything, including Himself. Second, God shows us his delight in his children by pouring out his wrath, the punishment sin deserves, on Christ on the cross. The Bible refers to Jesus as the “propitiation” for sin. It means that God pours out justice on Christ so that, when our faith is in Him, God need not pour out His justice on us. Does not God’s willingness to punish Christ on our behalf suggest to you His intent to delight in those for whom Christ died? It does for me.
Finally, the gospel itself and its delivery to our ears and hearts points to God’s delight in His children, to His commitment to draw us to Himself, to draw us into peace, to bring us into glory. The fact that you ever heard the gospel and were given the faith to believe proves God’s delight.
So, son, daughter, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.