Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Proverbs 22: 10-16

10Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out,
Even strife and dishonor will cease.
11He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.
12The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.
13The sluggard says, "There is a lion outside;
I will be killed in the streets!"
14The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;
He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.
15Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
16He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Today's Thought Question:
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

Quick word on Verse 14: "The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it." The Amplified Bible uses the phrasing "he with whom the Lord is indignant and who is abhorrent to Him will fall into it." The King James Version echoes the use of 'indignant.' These seem much more accurate terms rather than cursed, and relays to us the basic idea that God is not happy with those who side with the adulteress.

Today, Verse 15:

"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him."

Having done quite a few parenting studies, this verse rears its head in the deep discussions on spanking. To spank or not to spank, this is one of those verses that suggests "yes." One can imagine a physical rod used to "remove" the idea of repeating that sin in the mind of a child. Of course, then there's the crew that will say the rod is not actually physical but a representative action of discipline--anything but spanking--but one that will, nonetheless, deal with the problem at hand.

It's a lively debate, for sure.

The Hebrew for 'rod' is scion, which is a twig or a shoot for grafting. So, to me, this implies that the rod used in verse 15 is a physical rod. But, as a parent speaking, what is most important in this phrase is 'discipline'--correction, rebuke, reproof. Speaking as a parent of a child with autism, who struggles with understanding right and wrong to begin with, spanking has been a very difficult road to try. In fact, it's not the first choice of discipline at our house.

What we can say is that the discipline needs to be strong and consistent. Firm, like a rod. Because at our house, we have to do a lot of repeating for the discipline to take hold. We know that if we are not consistent, that the teaching doesn't stick.

(Not mine, but don't we all know one like her?)

Having said all that, truly, the first part of the verse is the critical part. Foolishness is bound up IN THE HEART of a child. Whether we spank or time-out or take privileges, we need to ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to speak to the child's heart. Discipline teaches right and wrong; it's a beginning. Praying for the hearts of our children to "fear the Lord" is something that can't be avoided. The beginning of wisdom, yes? How will they understand anything else if they don't have a foundation of wisdom? No matter how many times I repeat the lesson, it's up to the Lord to make it understood in the heart of my child.

For the parent, it's a tough place in which we stand--in between our child and God. Not responsible for their behavior yet responsible to faithfully fulfill our role as caretakers of God's child. Responsible for "training them up in the way they should go" (22:6) yet knowing that their road is planned by God.

We need to pray for our children as we would pray for ourselves--we, being children of God as well.

"...And when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel—each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward this temple--then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men), so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers."

--I Kings 8: 38-40 (the words of King Solomon, in dedicating the Temple)

Photo: http://www.kidsbehaviour.co.uk/images/13292.jpg

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 22: 17-29 (The first set of the Solomon-compiled proverbs)
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

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Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).


Chatty Kelly Combs said...

I really liked your commentary today. The spanking thing is tough. I have a little one (who reminds me of the one in the photo) who needs a firmer hand than my older.

The other verse that stuck out to me was #14, which you also covered. I love the visual of the mouth being a deep pit. That is great writing!

Leaving tomorrow! :-)

Sue J. said...

Something I was processing last night but didn't actually write....

Interesting that scion refers to a twig or shoot for grafting into something larger, like a tree or bush or maybe even a vine. When we are not in the vine of Christ, it means we have fallen into sin (bound up in our folly, if you will).

Extrapolating....sometimes we are the scion receiving discipline, wisdom, heart repair so that we may be grafted back in to the body.

Carmen said...

This was good, Sue!

The verse that stood out to me today was verse 13. Interesting excuse. There probably were lions around in those days, but I doubt it kept everyone housebound. People who are lazy and looking for the easy way out seldom accomplish anything. It's sad, really.