We have discussed the relationship between the rod and authority as found in the Bible. I think it is an amazing thing that Proverbs does not just say “If you love your son, you will discipline him” or “Withhold good things from your child when he disobeys”. No, it says to use the rod of discipline – the same rod that God uses with his people.
The father is told to bring his child up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (we will discuss what this means in the next post). Proverbs makes it clear that loving your child includes hurting them. You do not want them to remain bound to sin like a prisoner. Instead, you must hurt them in order that they will understand that bad decisions reap harmful consequences.
This pain is a mere shadow and exhortation to the child that they seek true obedience from the heart. That is, spanking a child should be accompanied with an explanation that disobedience yields pain. Above this, a life of disobedience to God will yield eternal punishment where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. If you take the Bible seriously, you will teach your child that although this punishment is temporary, this is a mere pinch compared to the magnitude of God’s wrath.
Thus, the connection between God’s authority and parental authority. Before I go on, let me say this: I do not want these posts to be justification for abuse. Physical discipline is NOT giving pain to a child for no reason. Tomorrow I will discuss what godly discipline is. Today I want us to see the connection between the rod of parental discipline being an extension of God’s righteous rod.
Ephesians 1-3 explains what has happened in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Chapters 4-6 explain the practical nitty-gritty outworkings of this truth in the lives of believers. Read the following:
Eph. 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Children have an obligation to obey their parents because this is the expression of obedience to God. The child should obey the parents not because they are bigger, but because they have been placed over him as authority (to guide and teach him right from wrong). The obligation to the parent (especially the father who is the head of the household) is that he disciplines the child in a certain way – namely, in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. This is not the discipline and instruction of the way his parents did it or the way he thinks he should do it or the way irritated people in the supermarket think he should do it. It is the way that God has shown us. As a whole, it is teaching the child the Bible – God’s two-edged sword that convicts, slices sin, and heals wounds.
Too many parents are disciplining their children with their only reason being irritation from their child’s whining. Instead, spanking is one of the most loving and affectionate things a parent can do. No parent hates a child more than the one who refuses to correct his child with godly wisdom. Ultimately, discipline should point to the Cross. The Son of God suffered a grotesque and humiliating and anguishing death. He bore wrath to the nth degree in order that the one who deserves to die was given life. More on this tomorrow…