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24 He that spareth [chasak] his rod [shebet] hateth [sane] his son [ben]: but he that loveth [ahab] him chasteneth [muwcar] him betimes [shachar]. KJV-Interlinear 24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently. NASB
Every principle of doctrine generally has a dual application to which it can be put. There is the worldly application, or the application of truth to the situations surrounding our everyday lives. And, then there is always the primary application which is the spiritual one, the application between God and you.
This is one of the most misapplied verses when it comes to the disciplining of children. Many have used it to justify beating children. Thinking that beatings are the best form of discipline.
Now granted some kids probably need a good whipping every now and then, but what children really need most is an environment with fair boundaries within which good training and upbringing can be taught.
What we learn from God is conducted within the environment of fellowship. In it, He has our ear and when we pay attention, then we learn. God gives us positive feedback through blessing.
Likewise children need to, want to learn, and from that wanting, they will generally be motivated to learn and thus follow the good principles they are taught.
Wanting to learn is always encouraged when there are blessings and benefits which result from that learning. Anyone who tries and tries, and receives only criticism or negative feedback will sooner or later become discouraged. Positive feedback is the best form of correction.
So, now for our verse. Spare discipline and the child will learn to hate. Remember that there are only two forms (another pair) of attitude. Love is the content of the Word of God as applied from within the fellowship sphere. And hate is the antithesis, or anything, or any attitude (be it sweet or sour) which exists outside of the fellowship sphere.
Discipline is the concept of corrective guidance. Many women have tremendous talent for leading children in life by the mere sound of their voice. Likewise, in the military you will find real tough drill sergeants who are somewhat less sweet in their demeanor, and in their vocabulary.
Both approaches have their place. The former, the mothers approach, is one of nurturing and love and encouragement. The drill instructors approach is to drive home the realities of war and need for strong discipline in order to keep the troops alive and to defeat an enemy who is bent on killing you.
Throughout our lives we will face different types of discipline. Some will come from parents, some from teachers, some from coaches, some from employers, some from life in general - like the speed limit along the highway. All of these are intended to form a level of self discipline inside of you so you can face the realities of life on your own, and successfully.
Children who are defiant in their upbringing, will have a tough road of dissatisfaction, of hate, of discouragement, of crime, of frustration, and on and on. Their life will be miserable.
In our spiritual lives this same principle applies. No matter what your age, you will be a child of God all of your Christian life - no matter whether you are twelve years old, or a hundred and twelve years old. Anyone of us during our lives will either be compliant with Gods commands, or we will not.
One of the objectives of advancing in ones spiritual life is to attain a level of autonomy or independence in your thinking and in your self determination.
Often times immature people cry out for freedom and their want for being independent from God and everyone else. Their goal of independence is valid, but their method and path is wrong. Anyone who drives away from God does not advance to independence but deeper into the slavery of their sin nature. That is a prison from which it is difficult to escape.
On the other hand, advancing in your spiritual life leads you to voluntarily submit yourself as in a woman with her husband, only in this case we are submitting ourselves to Gods rule and in so doing we gain real freedom.
In life, God gives us information and within that information, boundaries in which we can learn the easy way or the hard way. How stubborn or open minded we are will determine the outcome of our life.
Some have a tremendous level of pride and that prevents them from subordinating themselves to others. From their self imposed pride, they have a difficult time adjusting to life. They will meet authority with self justification, defensiveness, an argumentative attitude, or anything which elevates themselves in their own mind and puts down any authority figure, and they will just not give up any ground.
Others will be really submissive and will roll over on their backside if someone just looks at them.
You want to be in the middle ground somewhere. Recognizing Gods purpose for your life. Recognizing Gods place for you in your life. Recognizing what God intends for you to learn, and from all of that, to grow up in your spiritual life.
When God enforces discipline against you in your life, you need to recognize it and get yourself back on track in your spiritual growth. If God sooner or later begins to withhold discipline from you, then you are either on the right track and you no longer need it, or you are so far gone in your defiance, that God has in effect turned His back on you.
People who will never change will be allowed to live out their lives in utter misery. The story of Pharaoh is a good study of this principle. Pharaoh hardened his own heart for six plagues, and then it was God who began to harden Pharaoh's heart with even greater trauma in the land.
Discipline is the framework of orientation to life leading to self discipline wherein you gain true independence in life. God gives us boundaries in life, inside of which there is blessing, and outside of which there is misery. Every person has a different personality and different needs and therefore will receive a different individual approach from God as to their daily dealings in life.
The same is true with children. We are not all cookie cutter offspring so each child needs to be dealt with individually. Positive reinforcement always works. Negative reinforcement needs to be applied in unusual cases of a repeated patterns of continued defiance. One tantrum does not make a life time pattern.
God deals with us in grace, but God is in charge. Don't misinterpret Gods graciousness for weakness - that will cost you dearly.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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