July 23

Read Proverbs 12 -- 15

In Today's Reading:

Moral virtues; pitfalls of evil.

Verse for Today:

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (promptly) (13:24).

The greatest contribution we can make to our children's future is to teach them obedience and respect: first, to Christ as personal Savior and Lord of their lives, then to their parents and all who are in authority, including school teachers, law enforcement officers, and to the laws of government. As a prerequisite to teaching a child submission to authority, it is vital that parents are an example of submission to authority.

God said: He that spareth his rod (fails to discipline) hateth his son (Proverbs 13:24). The rod is the symbol of authority that God has committed to parents for training their children. To apply the rod means to exercise authority. The rod must be administered firmly, yet lovingly. The rod of authority does not allow parents to release pent-up frustrations by shouting demands, slapping faces, or severely spanking their children. These are examples of mental, verbal, and physical abuse. We must not expect adult perfection in our children; they are not robots and they need the same loving-kindness and patience from us that we desire from our Heavenly Father. Even mature Christians are prone to forget how many times through the years the Lord, with long-suffering and love, has forgiven our failures.

An important responsibility of parents is to discipline their children at a very young age to prepare them for later life. Chasten [your] son while there is hope, and [do not let your] soul spare for his crying (19:18). Withholding the rod is not a sign of love for the child, but a sign of weakness in the parent, and it does a great injustice to a child. The reason is that foolishness (sinful ways) is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction (discipline) shall drive it far from him (22:15). The ultimate purpose of the rod and reproof (is to) give wisdom: but a child left to himself [brings] his mother to shame (29:15).

Biblical discipline follows the example of our Father in Heaven, Who corrects everyone whom He loves (see Hebrews 12:6). The psalmist expressed it this way: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I [have] kept (obeyed) [Your] Word (Psalms 119:67).

We can develop our children's respect for God-ordained authority and, at the same time, provide them with an assurance of both our love and God's love. It is important to spend time with our children, especially reading the Bible and praying with them each day. Teaching them to love the Lord and developing a respect in them for the things of God are both parents' responsibility (Deuteronomy 6:2-9; Proverbs 22:6). Our children need to see their parents' submission to our Father [Who is] in Heaven (Matthew 6:9). Let them see us reading and studying God's Word, let them hear our prayers for them, and let them see our personal desire to please the Lord. What children observe in the lives of their parents is what they grow up believing to be right.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord (as His representatives): for this is right. Honor thy father and mother, (which is the first Commandment with promise) (Ephesians 6:1-2; also Exodus 20:12).

Christ Revealed:

As One Who hates lying (Proverbs 12:22). He that sat upon the throne said. . . . All liars, shall have their part in the lake which [burns] with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:5).

Word Studies:

12:1 brutish = stupid; 12:11 vain = void of understanding; 12: 25 Heaviness = Worry; maketh it stoop = causes depression; 13:11 vanity = dishonesty; 13:16 layeth open = exposes; 13:24 betimes = diligently and promptly; 14:1 plucketh = destroys; 14:23 penury = poverty; 15:1 grievous = harsh; 15:17 stalled = fattened; 15:27 gifts = bribes.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Timothy Johnson (IL) and Justice Anthony Kennedy · Pray for one another · Country: Nepal (24 million) a mountain-ringed Himalayan state between Tibet and India · Major language: Nepali · Limited religious freedom · 89% Hindu; 7% Buddhist; 3% Muslim; .3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that Christians would be united as Christ and God are one (John 17:11).

Optional Reading: Philemon 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 3:23