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Monday, January 16, 2017

No Return

Something that will help you in the first step of any Bible study, observation, is to look for repetition.  In the Bible repetition is a bit like the teacher stomping their foot at the front of the class to let you know that something may show up on the test.
No Return
For instance in John 15:1 – 16, abide is repeated 11 times; fruit is repeated 8 times.  So what is emphasized there?

A similar emphasis shows up in Amos 4:6 – 13.  There a phrase is repeated 5 times, “‘Yet you have not returned to Me’, declares the Lord.”  That is not just a device by the publishers of your Bible to make a point, the Hebrew in each case is identical (וְלֹֽא־שַׁבְתֶּ֥ם עָדַ֖י נְאֻם־יְהוָֽה).  Read through that passage, it is sobering.

The Lord is calling Israel to repentance.  He is disciplining them.  He has disciplined them with:

  • Famine
  • Drought
  • Crop Destruction
  • Plague
  • Overthrown by God

The result of this discipline?  Israel refused to return, to repent.

We read in Hebrews 12:4 – 13 that the Lord disciplines those whom He loves.  He does so, according to the text, so that we can share His holiness.  We read in James 1:2 – 4 that trials are to be considered joy, because they produce endurance.  Paul agrees with James in Romans 5:3 – 5.  These trials and discipline are to refine us, increase our faith, help us to endure.

It would serve us well to embrace James’, Paul’s, and the writer of Hebrew’s advice.  Lean into the trials, the discipline while praying like David did in Psalm 139:23 – 24.


  1. 1st question: what am i experiencing that constitutes the Lord's discipline? The adverse situation? My personal guilt? How specifically is God resisting me? 2nd question: Why is He disciplining me? What response was He looking for that He hasn't been getting? What would my obedience look like? Next time Je watches me, what does he want to see?