The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Pr 29:15

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The Rod

What is it and what is it for?

While the rod may be looked at as a means of punishment that is not it's primary purpose.  A rod is nothing more than a straight slender stick.  There is nothing intrinsically good or bad in it.  But while it can be used to cause harm, the scriptures teach us how to bring much good from it. 

A rod is the only biblically authorized instrument for correcting a child's behavior.  That is not to say there are not other ways to correct behavior such as instruction or teaching but the rod is a divinely authorized instrument to correct improper behavior and to instruct in proper behavior. 

While there are various means for correcting a child's behavior such as instruction or teaching the rod is not considered by the scriptures to be an optional means for correcting behavior.  Pr 19:18 says, Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

What then is the purpose of the rod?  According to Pr 29:15,  One purpose of the rod is to give wisdom!  The appropriate use of the rod makes a child wise in determining right from wrong.  Wisdom is more than knowledge though.  Wisdom is the ability to apply that knowledge to life's situations.  By early training with a rod, a child quickly learns there are consequences for sin.  He learns to identify sin on his own and avoid it because he has the wisdom to know there are penalties for sin.

To Use the Rod or Not to Use the Rod

To train with a rod or not to train with a rod.  That is the next question before us.  This remainder of this lesson will focus on what the Bible says about using the rod.

First, we must settle ourselves with the question of whether or not to use the rod.  In our modern feminist, atheist, secular humanist, Freudian psychoanalyst, God hating culture, the use of the rod is considered somewhere between passť and outright barbarism.  The use of the rod is looked upon as being inferior because we are much smarter today than people where a thousand years ago.  In other words God is not as smart as we are.  But the Bible tells us that "... the foolishness of God is wiser than men."  1Co 1:25  With that in mind, I'll take the wisdom of God over the wisdom of men any day!

The Bible identifies the number one reason why fathers and mothers will not correct their children with a rod in Pr 13:24.  To put it simply, He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.  I know a lot of parents think they love their children but never chasten them with a rod.  Well I have bad news for them.  He that spares his rod does not, according to Biblical standards, love his own children.  But the parents who love their children, chasten them betimes (early).

Proverbs 13:24 teaches unequivocally that all people regardless of their religious beliefs, regardless of their social standing, regardless of how they feel about it, are responsible to God to use the rod for chastening their children. 

Not only does Proverbs 13:24 teach the use of the rod but the following three verse likewise teach it's use.
Pr 19:18  Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Pr 22:15  Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Pr 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

No one can deny the scriptures teach the use of the rod but let's look deeper into Proverbs 13:24.  It teaches more than just the fact that we are to use a rod.  In fact this passage of scripture assumes it.  With the assumption that the reader will be using the rod, the Bible here teaches the consistent use of the rod.  When the passage says "spareth" it not only means it should be used early but "spareth" also means to keep back, withhold, refrain.  In other words this is instruction against keeping back the rod when it is deserved, or withholding the rod when it is deserved or refraining from using the rod when it needs to be used.

Too many parents try the rod once or twice way to long after it is due and then when they don't get any results they give up and say it doesn't work.  But Pr 13:24 teaches that it is to be used early (betimes).  The Hebrew word translated "betimes" means to seek or seek early.  In other words a parent is supposed to seek the early use of the rod in training children.  Doesn't this challenge the norm which is to wait and wait and wait while the problem grows worse and worse and the child becomes completely unmanageable.  The point is you are going to have to start early in a child's life, even while they are infants, and be consistent in order to be inline with Pr 13:24.

Pr 29:17 states, Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.  The appropriate use of the rod when consistently used to reinforce the instruction of the parents, is a great blessing.  The correct behavior of your children will give you rest and bring delight to your soul.

Elder James Taylor

 
 

10/1/2006

 

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