Monday, May 14, 2007

Wisdom: The Rod of Discipline

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
-Proverbs 13:24

Boy did I hear this Proverb growing up! My parents may not have known much from the Scripture by memory, but they certainly knew this one. But is the sole purpose of this Proverb to endorse corporal punishment?

Some may be tempted to take the Proverbs as a whole as simply being a guide or instruction manuel for right living. But what is the sole purpose of all Scripture? Why do we have this and other Proverbs?

Certainly, as St. Paul says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16

But, the main purpsose of all Scripture is to bear witness to Christ, as St. John says, “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

As Christ told the travellers on the Emmaus road, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27

So, how does this Proverb bear witness about Christ? We clearly see that Christ, through His holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death, was not spared the rod. But Christ did not bear that punishment for His own sake. He bore that rod of discipline for us and has made us partakers in His sonship. Through His blood, we have become full sons and daughters of God Almighty.

And, perhaps it is a stretch, but have you ever thought of that rod as anything different? My parents, when they quoted this verse to me, had in mind a very particular “rod,” but could this rod of discipline be the same rod that brings us comfort? Could it be the rod of our Good Shepherd?

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Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
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