Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. 16 Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Discipline Or Oppression?
In today’s passage we find that Solomon wants us to discipline our children. And apparently there is even a time when it is appropriate to use a rod on them. (from the Hebrew; I think this likely refers to something like a staff or stick to steady one's self when walking) I suspect some have used this verse as an excuse to take out their frustrations on their children… maybe even beat them so that they could hardly move. Please do not read this into the verse!!! It is not there. In fact the very next verse which we read says how we should not to oppress the poor to benefit ourselves. You see… God does not approve of oppressing others not the poor as his word says and certainly not our children.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
So we cannot provoke to oppress our children and yet at the same time Paul and Solomon both say we must discipline them. In Ephesians Paul helps us even more saying how the discipline we give should point them to the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 says: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
So then spankings… I received my share growing up… with a belt, a paddle and a switch come to mind… also the bare hand… …spankings have their place and there is a time when they are the best possible tool. We need to be good at using discernment… not only for the appropriate measures but also in knowing our child’s heart and what type of discipline points them to the ways of the Lord the best. And that's not all… we must check our own heart and if we are responding to them in hot anger simply wait. We must do all things with love for our children good and to the glory of God.
As far as verse 16 speaking of oppressing the poor or giving bribes to the rich… all for our own benefit. I believe we have spoken on this in a number of Proverb devotions. But let me say this. Whether it’s our relationship with our children or our spouse or our friends or if its how we relate to the rich or poor. We need to look out for their eternal good. Let them see us living lives of love and always pointing them to the awesomeness of Jesus and how he is good news of great joy and the greatest treasure in the Universe. How he lived a perfect righteous live and died a wicked sinners death… a death meant for us… How when he rose from the dead he defeated the hold that sin had through the law (the wages of sin is death) and God gives us that same power over the hold sin had over us in life so we are not slaves to sin as we walk with Him. And one day God will raise us no longer subject to the entropy associated with sin… no more pain, sickness, arthritis, covid-19… no more death and with him forever.