The Difference between Chastening and Sowing and Reaping

Hebrews 12:6 - For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.


  1. Chastening – To instruct, to correct, punish, reform, reprove, teach, educate, instruct, learn teach. An act of punishment intended to instruct and change behavior.

  2. Sow – Bear seed, or scatter seed.

  3. Reap – harvest.

Chastisement is an act of God upon disobedience, while sowing and reaping is the natural consequences of actions – right actions or wrong actions. When homosexuals and drug users get AIDS, it isn’t chastisement, it is sowing and reaping.

Chastening is on the individual believer who sins, not on his family members, even though family members might have to endure when their loved one is chastened.

Sowing and Reaping is the natural results of actions – right or wrong.

Chastening happens quickly, even though God might wait longer than we think he ought to wait.

Sowing and Reaping is a slow, gradual consequence of all our cumulative actions.

Duet 8:5 - Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

Chastening is to instruct, not just to reap the results of an action. Chastening is done out of love, Sowing and Reaping has no emotion with it – it is just the natural result of good or bad.

Deut. 21:18-21 - If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

These verses show the difference between chastening and sowing and reaping.

Compare Numbers 14 to chastisement and sowing and reaping. In verse 11-12 God told Moses he would completely destroy Israel and establish his covenant with Moses. They had sowed the wind and would reap the whirlwind. God punished with terrible instruction that generation of Israel by not allowing them to go into the promised land. They would all die, except Joshua and Caleb. Verse 25 – the judgment would start the next day – immediately. The people would go into the wilderness immediately, and the 10 spies who brought back the evil report died immediately (verse 37).

This is the same thing that happened in I Cor. 11:27-34 – Some in the church were sick, and some had died. According to verse 32 – they were chastened of the Lord that they should not be condemned with the world.

What is chastening?

Sickness – but not all sickness.

  1. II Kings 13:14“Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.” Elisha had not sinned, and was not being chastened by God when he got sick. He got sick as a natural result of sin that worked in natural body. Death came because Elisha is a son of Adam, like all the rest of us.

  2. Ex. 15:26“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”

  3. Deut. 7:11-16 – God said he would bless Israel if they would keep his commandments, and would take away all sickness, and put none of the evil diseases of Egypt upon them. Remember Moses who died at 120 years and was still strong.

Affliction – but not all affliction.

  1. Haggai 6:6“Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” If Israel would do what God told them to in building his house, he would make them prosperous once again. See verse 10,11 – Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. 11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.”

  2. The trouble Israel had in Egypt was not chastisement, because they had followed the commandments of God in going into Egypt.

War – but not all war.

  1. Hosea 7:12 – Israel had tried to flee from God by going to Egypt and Assyria. God would catch them and punish them in those places.

  2. Hosea 10:10 – “It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.”

  3. II Samuel 7:14 – “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:” Sometimes the chastening of God might look like sowing and reaping.

  4. I Sam 17 – the war when Goliath was killed was not caused because God was chastening Israel.

  5. I Sam. 13 – The war when Saul disobeyed the command of God to destroy all the Ammonites was not because God was chastening Israel.

Death – but not all death.

A Good Attitude Toward Chastisement

  1. Job 5:17 - Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: There is joy when God chastens because we all know he will never allow things to get out of control. This is why David requested to be in the hands of the Lord when he numbered the people.

  2. Psalms 94:12 - Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; Chastening is teaching from God.

  3. Proverbs 3:11 - My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

  4. Chastening is correction.

  5. Proverbs 13:24 - He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Chastening is instruction in love, sowing and reaping happens even to those God doesn’t love at all.

  6. Proverbs 19:18 - Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Chastening brings tears because nobody likes to be instructed with chastening. But when a person is chastened, there is still hope that he is able to learn something.

  7. Rev. 3:19 - As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Sowing and Reaping

  1. Job 4:8 - Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

  2. Psalms 126:5 - They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

  3. Proverbs 22:8 - He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

  4. Hosea 8:7 - For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. This passage shows that we sow a little sin, but reap a big crop.

  5. II Cor. 9:6 - But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

  6. Gal 6:7,8 - Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.