“‘My son, do not belittle the instruction of the Lord
Or become slack when rebuked by him;
For the Lord instructs the one he loves
And chastises every son whom he receive.’
Endure for the sake of instruction.” Hebrews 12:5b-7a
The author of Hebrews cites Proverbs 3:11-12 in the quote above, reminding us of the love God has for us – as the love of a father for his son. Our heavenly Father instructs us because He loves us and wants the best for us. Like the congregation addressed in Hebrews, we are students instructed by God and trained by Him with His Word, so that we can run the race of faith with endurance. “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” (Heb 10:36). He teaches us so that we have eternal life with Him.
The word used for “instruction” in the Hebrews 12 quote above is often translated “discipline”. The two go hand in hand. Instruction involves discipline, such as practice and receiving correction. The Lord instructs and disciplines us, His children, so that we gain divine wisdom to run the race of faith with endurance and so that we may share in His holiness.
Essential to this is regular participation in the Divine Service through which God makes and keeps us holy. And we have His Holy Scriptures to instruct and discipline us throughout the week. We pray, as in The Collect of the Word, “Grant that we may so hear them (all Holy Scriptures), mark, learn, inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your Holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life”.
To coincide with the new church year, we are beginning a monthly challenge to encourage congregational discipline and instruction. For December, you are challenged to pray Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayers every day. For your convenience, these are both included in the “Guide for Prayer and Meditation” bulletin insert (They are the last prayers listed in bold type under the “Morning” and “Close of the Day” columns).
 Translation by John W. Kleinig, Hebrews, Concordia Commentary, Concordia Publishing House, 2017