“Nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11
The very wisdom seen in this method of instruction- the sanctified discipline of the covenant, proves its divine origin. Had the believer been left to form his own school, adopt his own plan of instruction, choose his own discipline, and even select his own teacher, how different would it have been from God’s plan! We would never have conceived the idea of such a mode of instruction, so unlikely, according to our poor wisdom, to secure the end in view. We would have thought that the smooth path, the sunny path, the joyous path, would the soonest conduct us into the glories of the kingdom of grace; would more fully develop the wisdom, the love, the tenderness, the sympathy of our blessed Lord, and tend more decidedly to our weanedness from the world, our crucifixion of sin, and our spiritual and unreserved devotedness to His service. But “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Nor is the believer fully convinced of the wisdom of God’s method of procedure until he has been brought, in a measure, through the discipline; until the rod has been removed, the angry waves have subsided, and the tempest cloud has passed away. Then, reviewing the chastisement, minutely examining its nature and its causes; the steps that led to it; the chain of providences in which it formed a most important link; and most of all, surveying the rich covenant blessings it brought with it- the weanedness from the world, the gentleness, the meekness, the patience, the spirituality, the prayerfulness, the love, the joy; he is led to exclaim, “I now see the infinite wisdom and tender mercy of my Father in this affliction. While in the furnace I saw it not; the rising of inbred corruption, unbelief, and hard thoughts of God darkened my view, veiled from the eye of my faith the reason of the discipline; but now I see why and wherefore my covenant God and Father has dealt with me thus: I see the wisdom and adore the love of His merciful procedure.”
Other discipline may mortify, but not humble the pride of the heart; it may wound, but not crucify it. Affliction, sanctified by the Spirit of God, lays the soul in the dust; gives it low thoughts of itself. Gifts, attainments, successful labors, the applause of men, all conspire the ruin of a child of God; and, but for the prompt and often severe discipline of an ever-watchful, ever-faithful God, would accomplish their end. But the affliction comes; the needed cross; the required medicine; and in this way are brought out “the peaceable fruits of righteousness;” the most beautiful and precious of which is a humble, lowly view of self.