Receiving Chastening
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As Word Based Counselors, we are often ask to speak into a person's life during a season in which they are receiving the Lord's chastening. This is because many people seek counseling at a time when they are experiencing the consequences of willful disobedience to, or prolonged disregard of, the Lord. From the book of Jeremiah, we can learn how to help people respond during such times.

Jeremiah spoke to people who were being chastened by God. The Israelites had gone "far from [God] and walked after emptiness and became empty" (Jeremiah 2:5 NASV). "They forsook God, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13 NASV). "My people have forgotten Me days without number" (Jeremiah 2:32 NASV).

God warned them, "Your own wickedness will correct you, and your apostasies will reprove you; know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God" (2:19 NASV). He called to them repeatedly to return (4:1 NASV), to circumcise their hearts (4:4 NASV), and to wash themselves from evil (4:14 NASV).

But they "refused to repent" (5:3 NASV). Therefore, God raised up Nebuchadnezzar to invade and besiege Judah and Jerusalem. Many Israelites were deported to Babylon in captivity. But some ran to Egypt to escape. And others remained in Jerusalem to fight and resist the Babylonians, believing the false prophet's word that God would break the yoke of the Babylonians within two years (28:2).

Like bad figs, those who resisted and those who ran away from God's chastening felt the full power of God's anger. "I will abandon...the remnant...who remain in this land, and the ones who dwell in...Egypt. I will make them a terror and an evil...a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse..." (24:8-9 NASV).

But concerning those who accepted and yielded to the yoke of God's chastening, God said, "Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah...For I will set my eyes on them for good...and I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart (Jeremiah 24:5-7 NASV).

Clearly, those who are experiencing God's chastisement must turn in humility to wait on God, allowing Him to deal with them as He tears down and replaces their sin with righteousness. But running and resisting are futile.  It is better to come to the place in our lives where we can genuinely rejoice and say, "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes" (Psalm 119:71 NASV).

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