Before we answer that question, let’s consider WHY He “chastises” (which means “disciplines, trains”) His children. Hebrews 12:5 says, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, and scourges every son whom He receives” (NKJV). In a word, God chastises His children BECAUSE HE LOVES US! He loves us too much to simply let us “go our own way.” In love He allows trials in our lives to train us “in the way we should go.” In Proverbs 22:6 God instructs earthly parents to do the same thing: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” His love desires the best for us and if we learn to walk in “His way” instead of “our way” we will be blessed. So, if He does chasten us it may not be pleasant but it will bear precious fruit as we learn to walk in His truth. We see this in Hebrews 12:11, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it YIELDS THE PEACABLE FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS to those who have been trained by it.”

How does God chastise His children? I mentioned the word “trials” above because God uses “trials” (i.e. tribulation or troubles) to chastise (train) us. The Apostle Peter wrote of these in 1st Peter 1:6-7, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been GRIEVED BY VARIOUS TRIALS, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is TESTED BY FIRE, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Trials may come in the form of PERSECUTION FROM UNBELIEVERS (this was the main trial of the believers Peter was writing to), or it may be a PHYSICAL AFFLICTION, the LOSS OF A LOVED ONE, a FINANCIAL BURDEN, or a host of other “troubles” that God sees (in His infinite wisdom) that we need in order to grow spiritually and to walk in the path of righteousness that He has marked out for us.

Every trial that God allows in our lives is either for 1) Correction, 2) Prevention, or 3) Instruction. An example of CORRECTION is found in 1st Corinthians 11:30, “For this cause many are WEAK and SICK among you, and many SLEEP.” There were believers in the church at Corinth who were coming to the Lord’s Supper in a sinful state (see verses 20-22, 27-29) and they were refusing to judge their sin. Because God loves His children He allowed physical illnesses to come upon them and some, who were not responding to these disciplinary means, were taken home to heaven (the word “sleep” means they “died”…see 1st Thessalonians 4:13-14).

An example of PREVENTION is seen in 2nd Corinthians 12:7, “And that I might not be exalted by the exceeding greatness of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted” (DARBY translation). The Apostle Paul had been taken to heaven and was given great visions and revelations (see verses 1-4) and in order to PREVENT PRIDE in the apostle God allowed him to be given a “thorn for the flesh.” This was some bodily affliction that served to keep Paul humble instead of being lifted up with pride.

Our last example of INSTRUCTION is found in Job 1:6-19. We just saw in our last example that Paul’s affliction was referred to as a “messenger of Satan. “ This teaches us that Satan was allowed of God to cause Paul’s affliction and it reminds us of all the trials that came upon Job. It was actually Satan who caused Job to lose his cattle and his servants (verses 13-17) and his children (verses 18-19). Later, in Job 2:1-7, Satan was allowed to take Job’s health from him. In the rest of the book we see Job being INSTRUCTED BY GOD in many ways. The trials he was going through were used by God (who LOVED his child Job!) to give him “an ear to hear” so he could learn all the lessons God had for him to learn.  (367.3)  (DO)