The author of Hebrews now does what he has done frequently in the book and that is to look at the Old Testament to help understand the role Christ plays in the overall scheme of things. He quotes from Proverbs 3:11-12. It says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” There is a slight change in the wording, but the idea is the same in Hebrews 12:5b-6. It reads, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives.” Earlier we heard the writer exhort us all to trust in God regardless of life’s situation because we are His dearly beloved Children in Christ. Now he moves to quote the wisest man in the world, Solomon, to explain how a loving Father relates to His children. Wait a minute, Solomon is the second wisest person in the world!

I’m wondering if the writer of Hebrews has in mind one of Jesus’ encounters with the religious leaders who reject His claims as the Messiah. Our author has been focusing profoundly on the superiority of Jesus to the Old Testament people, laws, and themes. Jesus is the fulfillment of it all. Could Jesus be the better and ultimate fulfillment of the wisdom of Solomon? In Luke 11, the religious leaders reject Jesus as the Messianic Son of God and Jesus explains that the queen of Sheba will stand as a testimony against them on the day of Judgement. In Luke 11:31, Jesus says, “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” As is the case in all the concerns of the writer of Hebrews, Jesus is better!

Do we really see correction and reproof in life as the movement of a loving God in our lives? Can we really trust God to have our best interests foremost in mind regardless of our current situation or “momentary afflictions” as Paul calls them? All trials that God allows in the lives of His children are for their ultimate glorification. This applies even to death. Maybe, I should say especially to death. S. Lewis Johnson says in his sermon on this book, “death is to stop sinning suddenly.” Fruchtenbaum catches this truth and refers to 1 Corinthians 11:30 as evidence. He writes, “The progression of discipline is from a lesser degree to a greater degree and the progression is weakness, sickness, and finally, death (1 Cor. 11:30)”[1] Trusting God in all things, even in the death of our loved ones as well as our own death, is the purpose of God’s loving discipline.

[1] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Messianic Jewish Epistles: Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude, 1st ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2005), 173.