The author begins Hebrews 12:11 with the idea that God is teaching his children. But the author does not end there. Like in Psalm 126:5-6, he ends with the reward, that is, the harvest.
When a father teaches his sons, sometimes he must punish them. The lessons may be hard, and the punishments may be painful. But there is a purpose for all of this. The father is teaching right behaviour to his children. And if they learn well, their father will be pleased with them.
God too is teaching his children. They included the original readers of the Book of Hebrews. We know that they considered the authorís lessons hard (Hebrews 5:11). They had to learn to trust God, because they would suffer much (Hebrews 10:36; Hebrews 12:4). That was not a pleasant idea; we do not like to suffer.
In the same way, it is not pleasant for a very poor farmer to sow seed. That seed is grain that he and his family could eat. Because he sows it, his children will be hungry. But unless he sows it, they will have no food whatever next year.
So he sows, and perhaps he sows with tears. It is difficult for him, but he must think about the harvest. If his crops grow well, there will be plenty of food for everyone. And that is his reward.
There is a reward from the lessons that God teaches us. God wants us to develop in our Christian lives (Hebrews 5:14). If we do, our lives will please him. We will be like the soil that produced a good harvest (Mark 4:20). And the result of our lives will be to give honour to God.
That is a truly worthwhile life. And it is worth all the pain and difficulty that we now suffer.
Next part: God changes lives (Hebrews 12:12-13)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.