Monday, January 23, 2023

A Father’s Discipline (Proverbs 3:11-26)

"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction" (Prov. 3:11).

Returning to our study of Proverbs, in chapter 3:11–12 we find Solomon dealing with the important theme of discipline and chastening. Solomon not only directs his child to consider his father’s discipline, but God’s. While the prospect of parental discipline, especially physical chastening with a rod, has been rejected by modern “intellectuals,” the idea of God brandishing the rod of chastisement on His children has become altogether unthinkable. Yet despite the world’s ideas, God disciplines His children.

Our response to His discipline reveals our character. “Nowhere, indeed, are our corruptions so manifest, or our graces so shining, as under the rod,” Bridges wrote. “We need it as much as our daily bread.” We need discipline because we are so prone to sin. But often people respond to God’s discipline with stoic reserve, behaving as if it never happened. Others become “irritated by looking at the rod, rather than at the hand that inflicts it. [Such a person] shrinks from searching into the cause. He disregards his Father’s loving voice and purpose. Hence there is no softening humiliation; no ‘acceptance of the punishment of iniquity’; no child-like submission; no exercise of faith in looking for support.”

That God disciplines His children is not debatable. Spend your time, therefore, learning how to behave under His discipline. Discipline is for correction. Bridges advises, “Kiss the rod. Acknowledge its humbling, but enriching, benefit.… This very rod was sent in love to the soul. Perhaps we were living at ease, or in heartless backsliding. The awakening voice called us to our Bible and to prayer. Thus eyeing God in it, we see it to be love, not wrath; receiving, not casting out. We might perhaps have wished it a little altered; that the weight had been shifted, and the cross a little smoothed, where it pressed upon the shoulder. But now that our views are cleared, we discern blessing enough to swallow up the most poignant smart. We see the ‘needs-be,’ for our preservation from imminent danger, and for the ‘trial of our faith.’ … Faith understands the reasons of discipline; acknowledges it as a part of His gracious providence.… [God’s discipline] is correction—this is for your humbling. It is only correction—this is your consolation.”

Are you facing some trial that could be God’s discipline? Prayerfully ask God to reveal what you need to correct, what lessons you need to learn. Examine the areas in your life that this trial seems to be highlighting. Humble yourself, begin to make necessary changes, and thank God for His loving correction.