Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Serious Voice

My baby is pretty little.  He's too little to really be able to do anything to make me very angry, and certainly not intentionally.  Sometimes I find that I have to gently punish him, but without fail it's because he did something either hurtful or dangerous, to him or me or others, and I need to teach him not to do it again.  In fact, when I have to punish him, I'm usually so NOT angry that I have to fake this "serious voice," and I feel like I sound really silly, but I want him, in all his littleness, to understand how serious I am.

I was reading the scriptures this afternoon, and the Lord was making some pretty severe threats.  The Jehovah we see in the Old Testament seems to be pretty severe, and there are other places in the scriptures that His words seem to take a very serious tone.  Sometimes I have wondered how these threats and punishments can possibly come from the God we know, who we know to be kind and loving and merciful and tender.

But then, remembering grabbing Eli away from the kitchen garbage for the umpteenth time this morning, I realized.  It's entirely possible that when the Lord says something like this:  "In my fierce anger will I visit them in their iniquities and abominations... It shall come to pass that this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage, and shall be smitten on the cheek; yea, and shall be driven by men, and shall be slain; and the vultures of the air, and the dogs, yea, and the wild beasts, shall devour their flesh," he's not being vengeful.  Actually, to me, it's more than possible, it's what I believe to be true.  Because God is perfect, and even though I do sometimes get mad at Eli unnecessarily, God would not, and does not.  God does not take things personally, and God does not like to punish his children.  His threats aren't just-give-me-a-reason-to-do-it threats.  This is the serious voice.  

And here's the serious voice again:  "Therefore I command you to repent--repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore--how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not."  That's less a threat than a plea.  From a Father who wants his children, even though they're very little and may not really understand everything he tells them, to understand the gravity of the situation and learn not to disobey.

Love and chastening, justice and mercy.  The older I get, the less they seem like opposites and the more they seem like twins.  


  1. Oh, Maria. How I love you. I love this post. Sometimes I use my serious voice with Davis, when he is being naughty or harming himself. Thanks for not making me feel mean! I really do do it cuz I love him!

  2. Hannah - he's 11 months. Your little girlie is so beautiful!! We need to talk soon!!

  3. I LOVE this! This is really such a great analogy! Can I share this on my blog? - Whitney

  4. Whitney, yes! Didn't know you had a blog! My obvious next step was to stalk like the last 2 years worth, and I loved it.