Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 20:30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.
Broken For Our Brokenness
What could Solomon be trying to tell us today? Well, I think we see Solomon giving an example of how discipline is to be used for the good in a person who is caught up in crime or an evil heart with unrepentant sinful actions. We’ve touched on how one of the qualities of a good king should be mercy… but here the most merciful thing is discipline. We can see how this works when a child gets in a pattern of disobeying their parents. They don’t come to their parents and confess when they’ve messed up but they wait until they get caught to apologize... and then they disobey again and instead of repenting and confessing they hide their sin again until once again they are caught. These times clearly call for a spanking… but it’s a spanking for their good.
Solomon may be alluding to criminals in Israel... thieves and murderers who break laws of the land that are in place… but this principle of discipline extends to others… for example we looked at how children need a firm hand at times… and likely it will be various discerning measures of discipline that can work for their good… But what about the people who don’t live under the authority of parents any longer… and they don’t actually break the laws of the land… Of course laws can’t regulate all the actions that flow from the heart… things like of not loving our neighbor or going about lying and cheating and gossiping...
And these people are actually us sometimes… right? We can easily become cold and hard and blind and dull of hearing… And we too need help and correction… an attitude adjustment if you will, for our good… our growth… But who will give us this discipline we need?
Well, first off it’s interesting to ponder how kings and parents and others may use the same tools used by broken people like strokes (which might include spankings) or even blows that wound… and they use them to cure brokenness. But the thing is… physical brokenness can be for our spiritual good. After Adam and Eve sinned and thus were broken spiritually God broke the world in that sickness and disease and depression and pain… so much more… all kinds of entropy and even death…
God could have made things easy and removed all sickness and disease… He could have made a way for all to be rich and want for nothing physically… But of course that would not have helped the brokenness that our sin caused between man and God.
But the brokenness of the world… every trouble we might face reminds us of our spiritual brokenness. Mans sin which brought about our separation from the fellowship of our Creator.
And so yes, although we have the righteousness of Christ positionally, a broken world still works for our good practically… He is doing a work in us and so the brokenness still works for our good. And not only that but because he loves us personally, he corrects us individually… He knows what strokes and prods of love we need and even the blows that wound and leave scars that will be for our good.
Hebrews 12:5 …“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. … 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Brokenness in the flesh and in the world even the Universe points us to righteousness and the Lord who makes us whole.