Last week, we read through the incredible people of faith throughout Israel's history. It served as a reminder of how we are all inextricably woven together to these great clouds of witnesses, and we can draw strength from their examples as we continue this long road of obedience. In Ch. 12, the author moves on to God's discipline in light of God as the good father. This passage may be difficult for some of us to grasp depending on our relationships with our fathers. In Greek, discipline is paideia, which means to instruct and train for responsible living. It is important to note that discipline in this context differs from punishment. It does involve correction at times (different from punishment), but it also involves cultivation, training, and education. He is not an absent parent who appears to merely correct us once in awhile. He is fully engaged, invested, and present in our journey toward becoming more and more like Christ to live abundantly with Him.
Spend a few minutes thinking about what comes to mind when you think of the word: discipline. Is it positive or negative? What examples come to mind? How are they tied to your understanding of God’s discipline in your life?
Read Isaiah 35:3-6 in comparison to Hebrews 12:12. Isaiah was encouraging the Jews as they suffered from exile in Babylon. What is the point of this passage *clue: Isaiah 35:4. Why does the Hebrew author include this verse? What is the encouragement here to the readers back then and to us now?