Title: Judges 6. Gideon, part 2: In chastisement the Lord's grace is near.
JDG 6:1 Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord gave them into the hands of Midian seven years.
JDG 6:2 And the power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens [caves cut in the rock face of wadis or gorges] which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.
JDG 6:3 For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the sons of the east and go against them.
JDG 6:4 So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza [south-west coast], and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey.
JDG 6:5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to devastate it.
JDG 6:6 So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the Lord.
As in the last four cycles, Israel cries out to the Lord, but this time, before granting deliverance, the Lord sent a prophet to bring Israel to a knowledge of their guilt as a source of their misery.
JDG 6:7 Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord on account of Midian,
JDG 6:8 that the Lord sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and he said to them, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'It was I who brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out from the house of slavery.
JDG 6:9 'And I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land,
JDG 6:10 and I said to you, "I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me."'"
Before delivering them through Gideon, the Lord sent a prophet to reprove the people for not hearkening to the voice of their God.
They were to fully know that the oppression which crushed them was not happenstance or fate. The people were to reflect after being sure to recognize that the tyranny of the Midianite nomads was the chastisement of God for their apostasy.
By remembering the former deliverance of God in the Exodus and the conquering of the land under Joshua, this was to have its natural result of repentance and conversion to faithfulness, loyalty, allegiance, and obedience to God and His Law.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
God makes clear that chastisement is from Him, but He also draws near and reminds us of His grace, and in that grace we find clarity of repentance.
God always knows the perfect magnitude and combination of painful discipline and the nearness of grace, which combination, every believer needs multiple times in his spiritual walk. No child of God has gone without disciple and no child of God has gone without the comfort of God’s nearness in the midst of that suffering. Pain and the availability of grace as designed by God to have their perfect result which is repentance of the stubborn and ignorant soul.
PSA 6:1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in Thine anger,
Nor chasten me in Thy wrath.
PSA 6:2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away;
Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed.
PSA 6:3 And my soul is greatly dismayed;
But Thou, O Lord — how long?
God's chastisement is always out of love:
Blessed is the man whom Thou dost chasten, O Lord,
And dost teach out of Thy law;
My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord,
Or loathe His reproof,
We will be much like David in this Psalm and others, notably, Psa 38, were we are dismayed and burdened by the pain of discipline, and we long to complain that it is more than necessary and so may be unjust, but discipline doesn't have its perfect effect if it isn't painful.
Discipline is not meant to be enjoyed but painfully corrective.
We look back and thank God for His perfect discipline, but we are sorrowful during its administration.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
PSA 6:4 Return, O Lord, rescue my soul;
Save me because of Thy lovingkindness.
PSA 6:5 For there is no mention of Thee in death;
In Sheol who will give Thee thanks?
In Psa 6, our psalmist is a penitent man who accordingly seeks that the punitive chastisement of God who is just, may for him be changed into the loving chastisement of God who is merciful.
PSA 25:4 Make me know Thy ways, O Lord ;
Teach me Thy paths.
PSA 25:5 Lead me in Thy truth and teach me,
For Thou art the God of my salvation;
For Thee I wait all the day.
PSA 25:6 Remember, O Lord, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.
PSA 25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Thy lovingkindness remember Thou me, For Thy goodness' sake, O Lord .
One who has been opposed to God and then turned into a lover of God has a youth full of sins and transgressions. God does not define us by our failures. Believers in our age are defined as children of God in union with Christ forever. This psalmist is a man who once did not seek the Lord's truth or counsel because he simply did not desire it, but now he is a seeker of truth and waits patiently for wisdom and by this he seeks to be defined.
A believer's position is always defined by union with Christ. His condition may be defined by what he honors in his conscience.
The believer's condition, however, does not alter his position. It is an inner contradiction to have a condition that differs from a position, namely, to conduct oneself in a manner that is different than who you really are. Our education in the scriptures and our maturing to the measure and stature that belongs to Christ is the means by which we correct this discrepancy and inner contradiction, hence we become unified, first within and then with each other.
until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.