Proverbs 3:11-12 (NKJV)
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Last week we learned that the reason God puts His childen through trials and tribulations, the reason that He chastises us, is because He loves us. God is absolutely sovereign, absolutely in control of each and every event, good or bad, which befalls us. Hence, no matter what we are experiencing, we can be assured that God intends it for our good – regardless the motives of others involved.
Today, I would like to turn our passage to the direct issue which it is addressing – discipline in the home. We have been meditating upon the lessons which the fathers of Israel are to teach us as the people of God. And here in our text is one of them – fathers teach us about our Heavenly Father.
Solomon words are quite plain: “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” A righteous father, one who loves and cherishes his children, is one who is concerned for each child’s spiritual and personal growth and maturity. A father knows that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” and so he utilizes discpline to “drive” this foolishness far away from him. And the practice of fathers in performing this salutary function for their children teaches us, teaches the entire community, about God Himself and His determination to sanctify us, to make us increasingly men and women of character by disciplining us.
So fathers, how are we doing? Are we engaged with the discipline of our children? Are we concerned for them? Or are we distracted by other things, thinking that other things are more important? Hear the Word of God: he who fails to correct his son hates his son.
But not only must we be engaged in discipline, we must also be engaged in a way that glorifies our Father in heaven, that imitates His character toward His children. Hence, our discipline must always be for the good of our children – must be designed to bless them and strengthen them and make them ever more faithful servants of Christ Jesus. Discpline is supposed to be a gift.
So what are ways we can be tempted to distort this? Our chief temptation is to discipline our children not for their good but for our good. So we discipline them to get them out of our hair – to prevent them from disturbing our tranquility or our enjoyment of some other activity. Or we discipline them because we are frustrated with ourselves or with our day at work – we take out our frustration on them. Or we discipline them because we are concerned what others might think of us, because we are embarrassed by their behavior. In all these cases, the discipline is for us rather than for them – but this is not how our Heavenly Father treats us. Consequently, if we discpline our children this way, we are teaching a false Gospel, a Gospel that says, “God is so concerned about Himself that He has no time for His creatures.” Let us teach a true Gospel, a Gospel that says, “God is so happy in Himself that He has abundant time to lavish affection on each of His children.”
And for you children out there, remember that this passage teaches you an important lesson – if your parents love you, they will discipline you. It is the permissive parent, the parent who says, “Oh do what you like I don’t really care” who truly doesn’t care. So when your parents hold you accountable, when they discipline you and give you consequences for your behavior, be sure to thank them for loving you and caring for you. Discpline is a gift – and we all know to say thank you when we’re given a gift.
Reminded that we engage with those we truly love, let us kneel and confess that we have failed to love our children as we ought, failed to respect our parents as we ought.