We live in the woods, so we get very little prolonged sunlight in the summer. But we love fresh tomatoes, so I decided to try growing them in pots set in a few sunny spots.
The plants started to grow right away and really fast. I was thrilled—until I realized that their fast growth was due to their efforts to reach out to the limited sunlight. By the time I figured out what was happening, the vines were too heavy to support themselves. I found some stakes, lifted the vines carefully, and fastened them in an upright position. Even though I tried to be gentle, one of the twisted vines broke when I tried to straighten it.
This reminded me that discipline must begin before character is permanently bent and twisted.
Eli the priest had two sons whom he failed to discipline. When their wickedness got so bad that he could no longer ignore it, he tried gentle rebuke (1 Sam. 2:24-25). But it was too late, and God announced the dire consequences: “I will judge [Eli’s] house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them” (3:13).
Being straightened out is painful, but being left crooked will ultimately hurt even more. — by Julie Ackerman Link (for Our Daily Bread 8/28/11)
Lord, even though it’s painful, we’re thankful that
You, in love, discipline us as Your children.
Help us to respond with repentance and obedience
to Your ways. Amen.
God’s love confronts and corrects.
READ: 1 Samuel 2:27-36
27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?
29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.
32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.
33 And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.
34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.
35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.
36 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.