Monday, February 20, 2023

Heeding Discipline (Proverbs 13:18; 15:5, 10)

"He who hates correction will die" (Prov. 15:10b).

We will structure our study of Solomon’s proverbs by grouping them under various topical headings. Solomon covers a wide range of subjects including marriage, work, self-control, the fear of the Lord, and others. First on our list is an examination of Solomon’s instruction to young people. Solomon compiled these proverbs for his own children, who would one day be leaders in the kingdom of Israel. Their actions would affect not only themselves and their immediate relations, but an entire nation. Solomon knew the particular sins that were most common in young people. He, therefore, sought to expose these sins and give the appropriate remedy so that wisdom might be nurtured even in the very young.

One of the most common traits in young people is a refusal to heed discipline. By nature they are rebellious and prideful, foolishly thinking they know better than their parents. They often consider any discipline and correction to be unjust and demeaning. Even young people who profess Christ as Lord are guilty of this transgression. They buck against parental authority like a wild colt that refuses to be broken (Job 11:12). Yet, as Charles Bridges reminds us in his notes on Proverbs 13:18; 15:5 and 15:10, discipline is ordained by God for the purpose of restraint, formation of character, and instruction in His law. Discipline was not invented by parents for the purpose of frustrating their children. It comes as a divine ordinance from God Himself, who disciplines His own children because He loves them. Subjection, therefore, to parents is not an option but a duty required by God. “Subjection to parents is the law of nature, recognized by the most uncivilized nations,” Bridges wrote. “Much more is it the law of God. The authority of parents is the authority of God.” Not to heed the discipline of your parents is to rebel against God—and if this remains the prevailing principle in your life, you will prove yourself, not to be a child of God, but a child of perdition. Solomon tells us shame, disgrace, poverty, and eventually eternal ruin will fall upon those who persist in despising the discipline of those God has placed in authority over us. Do not be like the fool, who despises his father’s discipline. Humbly submit to it as God’s way of loving and protecting us.

Using the verses for today, write out a short study on the purpose and necessity of discipline. Do this even if you do not have children. Set a family time to go over your study with your children. If you don’t have children, apply the study to yourself as a child of God.