Hebrews 12:6 (ESV) … “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
The Scripture forcibly quoted by the writer declares, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (12:5b–6). Scourging is to be taken soberly. It is not to be treated with carelessness. We should ask, Why is this happening to me? It is to be accepted sensibly. We are not to faint under the Lord’s dealings, for He does not flog us in blind rage but measures the weight of each stroke.
One of the great passages in How Green Was My Valley tells of the flogging of Huw Morgan by the schoolmaster, Elijah-Jonas-Sessions. The boy had been fighting and was made to bend over in such a way that his back was stretched to receive the stick. The stick swished twice as the bullying schoolmaster limbered up for his task, and the sound of the stick awoke all Huw’s tingling nerves in anticipation of coming hurt. Then the stick swished again, and Huw saw its shadow on the floor and felt the first sharp, shocking, burning of its work.
Again, again, and again the strokes came as the boy across whom it was stretched staggered at the weight of the blows. Without pause, as the clock works, the sound changing as the strokes fell, the stick soared upward and down again until Huw Morgan’s back seemed to be in flames and his eyes blind and his head filled with thunder, and the strokes were still coming. Only now they were but a hard, dull laying on until the stick broke.
“Now then,” said Mr. Jonas, in falsetto and breathless, “fight again! That was just a taste! Back to your place! No more nonsense! Teach you manners!” The brutal schoolmaster himself was exhausted by the flogging; his face twitched; his hands trembled from his spent passion. And poor Huw got his legs to bring him to his seat and saw that one of the girls had torn her handkerchief to shreds under the emotion of watching the scene.
God is not like that schoolmaster. Each stroke He administers is weighed by Him in fairness and firmness to suit our needs exactly and to bring us to our senses, not lay us senseless in the dust.
Scourging is to be taken not only soberly and sensibly, but spiritually, as well. The spiritually discerning believer will recognize the disciplines of life to be evidence of the Lord’s love.