Discipline laced with mercy; Mercy laced with discipline


Saying Good-bye is never easy



10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring a and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

The New International Version. (2011). (Ge 3:10–24). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The blame game had begun.  “The woman You put here…” the man accused.  “The serpent deceived me,” the woman tried. And so punishment was doled out by the Judge of all the earth.  But the courtroom was not dismissed yet. God didn’t want to do it, but He knew he had to send them out of the garden. Their choice had brought on His discipline. He drove Adam and Eve away. He banished them from this garden. He turned them away from their place of innocence.   “Go,” He yelled at them. He pointed out toward the way they should head. There was such harshness in His voice, but with the harshness, there were tears and sadness mixed in. “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” He whispered. And so, the first punishment in the history of mankind was doled out by the Father of all creation. They would have to work hard to make the ground yield fruit from now on. He called one of His cherubim to come and keep guard to the way to the tree of life. The cherubim stood strong and firm at the garden’s entrance wielding a flaming sword and swinging it back and forth so no person could ever walk this way again.

LORD GOD said good-bye to His children with such pain in His heart. He felt the ache only a father could feel when he punished a wayward child. He knew what lay before them. He knew of their hardships ahead. And it hurt because it didn’t have to be this way. He felt the first heartache of a parent saying good-bye to His children as they headed off to face the world before them. He knew their relationship had changed. Gone were their days of innocence. Gone were the walks during the cool of the day. Oh He would never leave them alone. He would watch over them all their days. But the close communion He had with Adam and Eve during the days of their innocence was now lost because of their disobedience. He could feel the distance growing between Him and them. It was a dull constant ache in His heart. He desired that communion with them. But though He missed them terribly, He had a plan to restore their innocence. He had a plan to redeem them. He would make a way to restore the communion He had with them in the garden. He had always had the plan. The plan was established long before He created them. He wrote it in the stars. The plan would cost Him dearly. He looked lovingly at His Only Son. The plan was the price of His Son. So God caused another tree to grow up from the ground. He planted Calvary’s tree.

We have all played the blame game.  Our children have played the blame game.  No one wants to be the responsible party for breaking the antique lamp.  The blame game has been part of our heritage since the beginning.  Our first ancestors started it.  But our Heavenly Father put an end to it.

“Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”  Romans 5:18 NIV

God disciplines us according to our deeds, but His discipline is always laced with His mercy, and His mercy is always laced with His holiness.