Sparing the Rod
1. Clearly Solomon’s point is that the rod should be USED on our children IF we love them!
a. One commentary noted that “sparing the rod” was figurative language and that the Bible did not mandate corporal punishment for children.
b. Such a view was not arrived at by a careful consideration of the meaning of the text.
c. It was obviously arrived at by a careful consideration of what men are saying in our day and age… and in particular what psychologists are saying.
d. There isn’t anything that would lead one to believe that this is figurative. In fact, there are quite a few passages where chastening is mentioned… and involves corporal punishment for children.
• 22:15 -?Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.?
• 23:13-14 – Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.? 14 ?Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
• There isn’t any way around this language. It speaks of using a ROD… a stick of some sort… and beating with it.
e. As a side note: what IS a rod?
• It is not a baseball bat… or a pipe…
• Rod: rod; staff; branch; offshoot club…
• Beat: hit, strike, or smite…
• The rod mentioned in Proverbs is a stick used for hitting. Period.
» BUT — Solomon is not encouraging brutality with children…
» Nor is physical chastisement the only instrument of child training mentioned. (cf. 22:6)This is positive instruction.
» And without positive instruction—beatings are of no avail…
» Positive instruction is the MAIN means of child rearing. The corporal punishment is for disobedience or rebellion.
• In our day and age, we need to use extreme caution in the WAY we discipline our kids. Christian parents have lost their children for following the commands in this book…
• But with a little wisdom and common sense, we can make that an unlikely occurrence in our homes.
• I would advise that you use the thin rod from the plastic mini-blinds.
» Some years ago I was counseling with a parent who was in trouble with the social workers for the way this parent’s children were being treated. Spanking became an issue.
» This individual was using a wooden spoon… and I suggested—right before the social worker that she should NOT use a big, thick wooden object like that… and suggested the mini-blind rod.
» I brought one to show to a social worker in Salem who, after examining it, agreed that it would be an acceptable form of corporal punishment.
» I showed her how it flexed… how skinny it was… and that when applied to the rear end it was unlikely it was to leave a mark…
» With a hard wooden spoon, if you miss and hit a bone, you could do some damage… and have some “splaining” to do!
» What I did not tell her was that it stung a lot more than a wooden spoon…
» It fits the bill as a “rod”… it stings and thus does the job… and it is not quite as intimidating looking to a social worker.
• A word of caution with social workers:
» I understand that many of them have quite liberal views and are often against corporal punishment altogether.
» But keep in mind, that they are ministers of God to thee for good! (Rom. 13:4)
» I have found that if you treat them with respect, they are often quite reasonable people…
» If you come flying at them with 10 Bible verses and a holier than thou attitude… he is likely to make a mental note about you… and you will be put in the “kook” category—which could really make things worse for you!
2. Solomon states in this verse that the rod SHOULD be used and not spared.
a. The rod needs to be used because our children are sinners!
b. They are not only our children, but they are children of Adam… and have the fallen nature of Adam.
c. Even as a child, that nature is there. It may not have manifested itself in all the ugly ways of an adult… but the nature is there…
d. The rod is to restrain the child… and keep the manifestation of that sinful nature in check… whether the kids are saved or not—the rod works!
e. Spare: withhold; restrain; keep back…
• Don’t spare in its use…
• Don’t hold back… use it, and it will bear good fruit…
• What would cause a parent to spare?
» Often if the child cries… or puts up a fuss…
» Prov. 19:18 – Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
» Of course, we are not to go overboard… but don’t go underboard either!
» Sparing the rod is a much more common sin than using the rod in excess… both are problems… but sparing the rod occurs more often.
3. The parent who spares HATES his son!
a. Of course the kids will try to convince us of the opposite.
b. Remember little Elizabeth Shafer? Her father told me that when she was about 2 and he had to give her a spanking, she cried out, “You’re killing me dad!”
c. Kids think: “If you loved me you wouldn’t punish me like this!” When the exact opposite is the case. The Bible says if a parent DOESN’T spank their child they HATE them!
d. In what way is it hate?
• Prov. 22:15 – foolishness is in the heart of a child. It is like a disease that will handicap them the rest of their lives. If you know it’s there… and don’t do anything to remove—you can’t possibly love that child!
• What if it were malaria and you had a cure for malaria in the cabinet, but you chose not to use it, because it was too much trouble to get the child to swallow the pill… that isn’t love. That’s neglect… and worse if the child dies!
• We have a cure for the disease of foolishness… and shame on us if we don’t use it!
• It IS an act of love to discipline a child… sacrificing self for their good!
• It is an act of hatred and neglect not to do so.
1. The parent who truly LOVES HIS CHILD, will discipline him.
a. This is following the pattern of our heavenly Father… (Cf. Prov. 3:11-12)
• Our heavenly Father doesn’t spare the rod.
• He uses it on EVERY one of his sons… out of love. (Heb. 12:7)
• He is our pattern of parental love… manifested in chastening…
b. Parent-inflicted pain in his youth enables him to avoid a lifetime of self-inflicted pain!
c. A little discomfort now spares them from years of disaster…
d. 22:15 – ?Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.?
e. A parent who loves his child will do what is BEST for the child. God says that discipline is best for them!
f. 23:13-14 – Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.? 14 ?Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
• The term for hell = the grave.
• The point is that disciplining a child when young may deliver him from death! You could save his life! Isn’t that love?
• The little boy who disobeys positive instruction to stay in the yard and goes across the street needs a good spanking… one he won’t soon forget—and that could save him from going in the road again and getting killed by oncoming traffic…
2. The loving parent will chasten him “betimes.”
a. Betimes: to seek diligently; to seek early; seek earnestly…
b. In other words, don’t wait…
• Don’t wait until 3 days later… when it is forgotten…
• Don’t wait until they have become so disobedient that you end up disciplining in a fit of anger…
• Don’t wait until it’s too late…
• Don’t wait until the police knock on your door… if we don’t discipline our kids, the judicial system may have to.
c. Begin early in life… from the earliest stages in that toddler’s life… don’t allow the child to gain the mastery early… chasten early!
d. Bad habits are best broken early. It’s much easier to quit smoking after your first cigarette than after smoking for 25 years!
e. Deal with the issues of rebellion when they are young… the young, tender plant is most easily bent… Charles Bridges put it this way: “bend the tender twig before the knotty oak is beyond our power.”
f. Kids are like wet cement… make your impression on them while they are still able to be formed… before they become hardened and it’s too late.
3. Parents should demonstrate TRUE love… a Biblical kind of love to their children.
a. Ps. 103:13 – “like as a father pitieth his children.” It is natural and right for a parent to have pity on his child.
b. But love also demands that a parent express the tough side of love too—in using the rod… ignoring the cries… knowing that it is for the child’s good… it may even save his life!