According to the admonition quoted at the beginning of this chapter, we can react wrongly to God’s discipline in one of two ways. We may either “regard lightly the discipline of the Lord” or we may “faint when [we] are reproved by Him” (Heb. 12:5). If we “regard lightly” God’s discipline, that means that we don’t recognize it, or we ignore its warning. To faint from God’s discipline is to give up trying to please Him because we think His discipline is too severe. Either reaction is wrong. We should recognize that God loves us, and that He disciplines us for our good. When we recognize His loving hand of discipline, we should repent and receive His forgiveness.
Once we’ve repented, we should expect relief from God’s discipline. We should not, however, necessarily expect relief from the inevitable consequences of our sin, although we may well ask the Lord for mercy and help. God responds to a humble and contrite spirit (see Isaiah 66:2). The Bible promises, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5).
After His judgment fell upon the Israelites, God promised:
For a brief moment I forsook you, but with a great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you (Is. 54:7-8).
God is good and merciful!
For further study concerning God’s discipline, see 2 Chron. 6:24-31, 36-39; 7:13-14; Ps. 73:14; 94:12-13; 106:40-46; 118:18; 119:67, 71; Jer. 2:29-30; 5:23-25; 14:12; 30:11; Hag. 1:2-13; 2:17; Acts 5:1-11; Rev. 3:19.