The following is taken from a letter I wrote to a missionary friend of mine who lives in Russia. I shared my views with him about a scripture verse that has been traditionally interpreted a certain way but I think another interpretation can be gleaned if we allow the Bible to instruct us in this matter of disciplining children.
NOTE: Interested readers may enjoy listening to my youtube video "The Sins Of Children And Youth" by J. G. Pike on my LAStreetPreacher channel.
The traditional view of spanking a child or beating him with a stick as a form of punishment has increasingly come under attack and criticism and rightly so as various cases have been documented over the years showing physical child abuse by parents
who might have meant well but who lost control of their emotions and rather than exercising tender love and a desire for correcting their children's bad behavior or defiant attitude they took out their own aggressive anger in an inappropriate manner to the harm or even death of their own son or daughter.
We would do well to remember Proverbs 22:15 how "that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall
drive it far from him."
Brother there is a meaning to this verse than doesn't seem so apparent at first glance. Many parents take this verse literally to mean physical punishment but remember if possible we always want to look for the gospel throughout holy writ if possible.
Most people read this verse looking at it as though we can just take a stick and spank the devil out of our children. No, that will not do work. Nor will spanking your child drive sin and lawlessness from him/her and many children will testify to the fact that they were spanked as children and this did minimal good because later in life these same children grew up to be hardened and calloused in their sin and some even committed heinous crimes.
Furthermore, many parents have crippled their children by physical abuse thinking that using the rod would not kill their child after all isn't that what God says in Proverbs 23:13's "...if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
Monty, it's a lie, because children who are beaten with a physical instrument which some might call a stick or paddle could and sometimes do die. Between one and two thousand children die every year in this country from corporal punishment. One hundred forty-two thousand are seriously injured from corporal punishment
every year in America, according to the Dept. of Health and Human Services and the New England Journal of Medicine. So it canít be taken literally."
I remember years ago taking a stick and beating my akita dog Misha for running out of the yard. I was angry and thought I would teach this animal a lesson. Guess what? I almost killed my poor dog because in beating my dog I unknowingly hit a vital organ which caused internal damage to the spleen. Thanks be to God I recognized my dog's pain and change in behavior which caused me to wonder if something was wrong. There was!
I took my dog to the emergency and discovered her spleen had been ruptured and realized only later that I had done this while trying to teach or condition my dog to never run away.
Now imagine if this were a child what could happen. A ruptured disc or some other injury that might be debilatating or life threatening. The child of the devil is what is being spoken of here and the rod of correction is the Word of God. It is by systematic and incessant training in God's word that alone can drive the foolishness of sin and rebellion from the unrighteous.
The Lord graciously gave me this insight last year as I was pondering this verse by comparing scripture with scripture.
We know that a foolish person is an unsaved person. For example Proverbs 9:6 "Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding." Proverbs 10:8 "The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall." Receiving commandments is akin to obeying Christ which is a proof of our love to the Savior and an evidence of our salvation.SEE John 14:15 "If you love me keep my commandments."
Other examples: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise" Eph 5:15; Proverbs: 14:3;15:5
Now the child that has "foolishness" bound in his/her is speaking of an unsaved person...a child of the devil as can be seen by comparing the following verse: Paul being filled with the Holy Spirit discerns this Elymas, a sorcerer and says, "... O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?"
So now let's read this verse again.
"Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, that is, sin, rebellion, lawlessness and iniquity is bound in the heart of an unbeliever who is a child of the devil. It is bound like a man in bound in chains and can not escape unless a great force or power unleashes the binding. No amount of spanking will drive sin permanently from anyone whether a little boy or a little girl. It might put some fear into them and get their attention for a while but it can not save their soul which is bound in sin and rebellion. Only the rod of correction can do that. And what pray tell is the rod? Lets see.
The Hebrew word for rod is "shebet" and means authority not just a stick or branch. Here's several figurative uses of the word:
Sybolizing God's Authority
Job 9:34: Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:
Job 21:9: Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. Psalm 89:32: Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.
Isaiah 10:5: O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation
Isaiah 10:15: Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.
Isaiah 11:4: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Lamentations 3:1: I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
Micah 7:14: Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.
Ezekiel 20:37: And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
Ezekiel 21:10: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree.
Ezekiel 21:13: Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod? it shall be no more, saith the Lord GOD.
Now back to Proverbs 22:15 "but the rod (authority) of correction shall drive it far from him." There is only one authority taught in the Bible that can accomplish driving "it" which is foolishness (sin, rebellion, lawlessness) from a child of the devil and that is God's word. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, FOR CORRECTION, (sorry can't find the colored graphics) for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
So by comparing this scripture we see that the rod or "authority" of God's word brings correction and what does this correction do exactly? It drives "it" the foolishness or sin far from him. Now is there any verse in the bible you can think of that speaks about our sins being driven from us? Here let me help refresh your memory if you can't remember.
The Bible says in Psalms 103:12 "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."
Ah, do you see my brother what God is really teaching us? A child of the devil can only have his or her sins, foolishnes and rebellion driven far from him or her by the authority (rod) of God's word. You can be beaten with this rod and never die.
In fact God uses it to save his/her elect. :)
Meditate on what I've written and may the Lord show you more of His truth by the Holy Spirit who is our teacher.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.
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