Friday, August 7, 2009

Proverbs 23: 13-25

13Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
14You shall strike him with the rod
And rescue his soul from Sheol.
15My son, if your heart is wise,
My own heart also will be glad;
16And my inmost being will rejoice
When your lips speak what is right.
17Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But live in the fear of the LORD always.
18Surely there is a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.
19Listen, my son, and be wise,
And direct your heart in the way.
20Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
21For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe one with rags.
22Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.
23Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
24The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him.
25Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.

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

"My son, if your heart is wise, my own heart also will be glad; And my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right."

--Proverbs 23: 15 & 16

This is not a "rocket science" verse, though we will talk medical science in just a paragraph or so. When our children begin to accept and show signs of housing wisdom in their hearts, they will be taking those initial steps in following the Lord's way. "Listen, for I will speak noble things; and the opening of my lips will reveal right things," says Wisdom in 8:6. To see children demonstrate their fear of the Lord and the acceptance of Wisdom's words is a witness of pure joy on their parents' part. The "training up" period begins to show dividends, and the glad heart exudes true happiness.

"Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things." (vs. 16, KJV)

I don't need to bring up the King James' for clarification. I bring it up for its interesting choice of words, and exploration of meaning (of course!). 'Reins' in the Hebrew translates as "heart, inward part, kidney." [Strong's] We know Solomon uses 'heart' regularly when talking about the innermost part of a person. Here's what Strong's adds: "According to Hebrew psychology the reins are the seat of the deepest emotions and affections of man, which God alone can fully know." "Search me, O God, and know my heart," (Psalm 139:23)

Not surprisingly, kidneys are the body's filtration system. They were made to take out impurities and keep our blood clean. Know my "heart." Know my reins, that they might be purified.

On another tangent, 'reins' more commonly for us refers to the part of a horse's bridle that directs the movement of the horse. My last Bible study group looked at James' words on the evils of the tongue. James 3:2 says, "For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well [as the tongue]. I hadn't heard of 'bridle' used as a verb and, not being a horsewoman, I wasn't quite sure what the noun meant either.

Turns out, the bridle is a 3-part system used with a horse. A headstall includes the various bands and straps seen in the photo. The bit goes in the mouth. Held by the rider, the reins are attached to the headstall.

As I was searching the dictionary, I discovered that there is an adjectival form of 'bridle'--bridlewise. It means "trained to obey the pressure of the reins on the neck instead of the pull on the bit." I wrote "WHOA!" in the margin.

Think about discipline for a bit (tee-hee!). At first, it's so much about the big pulling on the mouth--a form of "the rod," if you will. Eventually, through parents' consistent efforts and prayers, children move to a stage in which they understand that a mere feeling of pressure from the reins is all the disciplinary measure required.

I realize the Hebrew for reins doesn't refer to the parts of the bridle. But, you can't deny the tie-in between the two.

"Yea, my reins shall rejoice...." as you, my son, no longer require the greatest measure of my discipline, but have grown to accept and love wisdom as your own. "My own heart will also be glad."


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 23: 26-35 (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).


T. Anne said...

13 & 14 always weigh heavy on my heart. I have one chance to get it right with my four kids and the Lord knows best. God help me. :)

Sue J. said...

I think you need to say that prayer before you do something. That's hard when you feel like you're "in a moment." Will I lose something if I don't act?

Problem is, sometimes we act so quickly out of our own thinking that we lose the opportunity to address a situation differently.

What you don't want to do is avoid the discipline. If you consult the Lord, I believe He will work through the situation, even when you feel you only have "one chance." My failure is the seeking before the acting....

Thanks for sharing!

Kelly Combs said...

I remember when we studied this a while back, and you explained the bridlewise thing. And your comment "Whoa!" Talk about a pun!


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