Read Deuteronomy 21 -- 23
Moses expressed the seriousness of parents' responsibility to discipline theirchildren, saying: If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not listen to them: Then shall his father and his mother take hold of him, and bring him out to the elders of his city . . . And they shall say to the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us. . . . Then all the men of his city shall stone him . . . to death; so you shall put away evil from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
Evidently, this law was effective in encouraging discipline since the Bible records only one instance of stoning a rebellious son whose father was an Egyptian. This young man had blasphemed the Name of the Lord on the Sabbath during the wilderness journey (Leviticus 24:10-16). This act of rebellion was properly viewed as a community offense. In this severe statute, we discover a basic biblical principle: To ignore the importance of submission to God-given authority is to foster rebellion in the home and the community, as well as against God.
Parents are God-appointed authorities and are to be His representatives to their children. Consequently, parents have a most important responsibility to be godly mothers and fathers who alone can train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6). However, no child (or wife) is required to obey a father (or husband) when asked to do something that is in direct rebellion to the Word of God. The Word of God is always our highest authority. All parents are training their children, consciously or unconsciously, either to develop a desire for the things of God or to adopt an unwillingness to follow the will of God and the laws of our judicial system.
Some object to this concept of discipline, claiming it will suppress a child's ability to think for himself. But our Creator teaches: He who spares his rod (of discipline) hates his son: but he who loves him disciplines (diligently) (13:24; 3:11-12; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13; 29:15-17). To permit disrespect toward God-given authority in the home, school, or the community is to do great harm to ourselves and our children as well as to foster rebellion toward God.
All of us were born with a self-centered Adamic nature that rebels against authority. Pity the undisciplined child who will one day face the unavoidable problems of this world and who will be unprepared for the harsh realities of life's discipline. The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself (undisciplined) brings his mother to shame (29:15).
God instituted parental discipline for the best interest of the child. However, discipline of every kind, including spanking, should always be done by a loving parent acting, as the representative of Christ, in a corrective rather than an angry, vindictive manner. Once we have corrected our child, fellowship should again be restored between parent and child as we express our loving concern. Just as God loves the sinner but hates the sin, so parents must express His love to their children through discipline.
Through the ordinary experiences of life, God demonstrates His love to us as His children by disciplining us: Whom the Lord loves He chastens (disciplines), and scourges (applies His rod of correction) every son whom He receives (as His child) (Hebrews 12:6).
Christ Revealed: Christ died on a tree (cross) in our place, submitting to the penalty of death imposed by the Law for our sins (Deuteronomy 21:23). In the evening He was taken down from the cross, signifying the Law had been satisfied (John 19:31; Gal. 3:13).
Word Studies: 21:4 strike off means break off; 21:5 every stroke means every case of dispute; 21:15 hated means unloved; 22:8 battlement means guard railing; 22:19 amerce means to punish with a fine; 22:30 discover his father's skirt means commit adultery with his father's wife.
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Optional Reading: Luke 23
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:19