The Home And Its Discipline
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Open your Bibles to the book of Proverbs, chapter 10, because we are not going to use any one particular passage of Scripture as a point of departure as we do many times in our discussions. Rather, we will be noticing a number of passages of Scripture. We are continuing our discussion of what we began to study our last time together, the second division of the book of Proverbs, which is referred to as The Proverbs of Solomon , as you see if you look at verse 1 of chapter 10.

You might think that is a rather strange comment to make in view of the fact that most people think that Solomon is the author of all of the proverbs within the book, but we have pointed out to you that such is not the case. This particular portion of the book of Proverbs is so-called because it represents the personal proverbs of Solomon, proverbs which he personally delivered.

We suggested to you that these proverbs are complete within themselves, having no connection one with the other. As a matter of fact, this second division of the book of Proverbs, which begins with chapter 10 and concludes with chapter 22, falls naturally into two divisions in which the truth presented by the proverb is presented in chapters 10-15 in contrasting statements and in chapters 16-22:16 in corresponding statements. In other words, in the first section, you will find the truths presented and for emphasis, something presented in contrast. In the second section you will find the truths presented, and for the sake of emphasis, some other truths that correspond to it immediately following.

Since these proverbs are complete within themselves and you do not study them chronologically in the sense that you study the first five proverbs and think of one subject, you look for catchphrases and you look for similar statements whereby you can tie these various proverbs together, or you notice all of the proverbs which are related to a particular principle or to a particular truth. We chose the later approach to notice the proverbs which are related to a particular principle or to a particular truth

The truth that we chose first to consider with you is the truth that is related to the home. We did not have time to complete our discussion in our last lesson, so we are reviewing now. In order that we might all start on the same level, may we remind you that we learned that one of the most important things related to the home, as Solomon presents it here in this portion of the Word, is the atmosphere of the home. If the atmosphere is not right, nothing will be right. Solomon said that the need for love and the need for peace is evident. Without these two ingredients, the right atmosphere cannot be maintained in the home and, it not being maintained, then the essential discipline about which we will be speaking in this study will not be maintained.

The atmosphere of the home quite often is regulated by the character of the husband and father and by the character of the mother and wife. The father and husband, we learned as we looked at the proverbs related to the subject, had the marvelous privilege of provision, as far as his family was concerned, the privilege of providing for them materially and spiritually. The individual father who provided in the manner which he should, according to the Word of God, did indeed leave his children a wonderful heritage. A paraphrased presentation of Proverbs, chapter 20, verse 7, reads: “It is a wonderful heritage to have an honest father.” Many children do not realize the heritage which is theirs.

Keep in mind that we are in that portion of the book of Proverbs where truth is presented not by corresponding statements, but by contrasting statements, and the principle goes through the division contrasting and comparing proverbs. So even though a husband and father has the privilege of provision, there is a danger that he must face constantly and that is the danger of provocation—the danger of provoking his family because he does not handle them in a scriptural way.

We covered rather in detail what is recorded in Proverbs, chapter 11, verse 29, and we presented to you the translation, “The fool who provokes his family to resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left.”

There are a number of fathers who do not know how to deal with their children, who do not know how to deal with their families. They do provoke them to resentment and they live a lonely old age because whatever love there might have been, whatever understanding there might have been, has been overshadowed by the provocation of an untrained father in spiritual matters and disciplinary matters in regard to children.

Quite necessary to the right atmosphere of the home, we learned, was not only the husband and father, but the wife and mother. The first thing that we learned about the wife and the mother—the kind that the Bible speaks about—is that she is the gift of God. You don't buy this kind of wife and mother from the marketplace. You don't find her in some place of social activity; she is the gift of God. She is the companion that God has chosen for you. Wise is the young man who seeks the will of God concerning his life's companion. The individual may join the Lonely Hearts Club and take what he can get and make the best of it; but the wise individual will wait upon the Lord, until the Lord indicates to him the one whom He has chosen, for not even a father who has your best interest at heart can give you this kind of wife as is indicated in chapter 19, verse 14, which may be translated: “A father can give his son homes and riches, but only the LORD can give them understanding wives.”

It is only when you have an understanding wife that the atmosphere to which we have already made several references can be maintained, and that atmosphere accomplishes the purpose that God intended.

If you have a wife who is a gift of God, you will have a wife who is a homebuilder. She is described in Proverbs, chapter 14, verse 1, which reads:

Proverbs 14:

1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish woman tears it down by her own efforts

The gift of God is the wise woman who spends all of her time building her house, and we discussed with you in our last lesson the manner in which a homebuilder could operate, how she could, as did the wise woman in the book of Proverbs, build her house out of seven pillars.

If you get your wife in some other way than God intended, if God does not give her to you, if you get her by whatever means you may desire, you will not get a homebuilder; rather, you will have a homewrecker. When we speak of homewreckers, we are not speaking, as we mentioned in our last study, of the slut down the street who loves to embroil men in adultery and thus wreck homes; but we are talking about the individual who lives within the home, who becomes a homewrecker in three ways. First, by tearing down her own husband, and we examined statistics for that. As suggested in chapter 19, verse 13, of the book of Proverbs, the homewrecker drives her children away from home. The children will stay at home as long as they have to, but the first opportunity that they get, they will leave.

The homewrecker is also described as a woman without discretion. The very striking picture of the ridiculous situation which is presented when one finds a swine with a jewel of gold in its snout is comparable to a woman who is a mother, to a woman who is a wife, and yet is without discretion.

Exercise of the Discipline of Children

That brings us up to the point of discussion in this lesson, that which is essential to the kind of home that God would have all of us have—the kind of home that is a testimony and a witness to our Lord Jesus Christ. The thing that is necessary is not only the atmosphere which we have described, not only the husband and father and the wife and mother, but the exercise of the discipline of children. Though you may have all that we have been talking about in relation to husband and father in a measure and wife and mother in a measure, if the exercise of the discipline of children is not forthcoming, then you cannot expect the blessing of God upon the home.

Remember that we are studying the book of Proverbs, which means that we are not reading any particular text in consecutive order; rather, we are looking at the proverbs which are presented related to the subject of the discipline of children. A perusal of the proverbs within the book itself will emphasize to you the need for it. Why is there a need for discipline? Let us let the Word of God speak to our heart. Though some of these things you may feel you already know, let us recognize God's emphasis upon them.

In Proverbs, chapter 22, verse 15, you will notice the statement:

Proverbs 22:

15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Let us recognize immediately that when we are using the word foolishness , we are not talking about humor. We are not talking about the native energy that resides in young life. We are not talking about a sense of humor that is related to the young that the old fail to comprehend. Never interpret the word foolishness in that way. The word foolishness , in the book of Proverbs, should always be interpreted in the light of the context. It is always a reference, first, to rebellion against authority and, second, to rebellion against God.

Correction for Rebellion

Rebellion against authority is bound up in the heart of a child, and there is only one thing that will drive him from it and that is the rod of correction. The emphasis should not be placed upon the rod, primarily, though it should not be neglected. The emphasis should be placed upon correction.

There are various ways in administering correction. By no means spare the rod; it is essential, but don't be so wrapped up in using the rod that you miss the point. The point is correction, and sometimes correction can be accomplished in other ways than the rod.

Some of you know that I have a hobby of sorts—my interest in antiques, I was reminded of this verse of Scripture while visiting an antique shop some time ago, when I saw a very interesting looking chair. It had a low seat, low enough for a child. It had a high back, high enough that the head of the child was lower than the top of the back of the chair. It had wings or sides on each side of the back, and the chair was of such interest to me that I looked up the owner of the shop and said, “Tell me something about that chair.” He said, “Well, this is a rather unusual chair. We need them in America very badly.” I said, “What do you mean by that?” He said, “This is a pouter's chair.” I said, “What do you mean by a pouter's chair?” He said, “In England, when children were disobedient and the parents felt that it was time for them to be a little quiet and view the act of disobedience and get it in perspective, they faced this chair against the wall and the child was to sit in the chair facing the wall, much as we would stand children in the corner, until they had thoroughly thought over their act of disobedience and were ready to discuss it intelligently.” You see, sometimes the rod can be the pouter's chair. It does not have to be the strap always.

Train Children to Have a Convicting Conscience

Turn to chapter 20, verse 11, and notice:

Proverbs 20:

11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

This verse of Scripture emphasizes the need for discipline by suggesting that parents observe the activities of their children. A child is known by his doings—if his doings are pure, if his doings are right, if his doings are evil, if his doings are wicked. What are the actions of your child? Let them be an indication to you of the need of discipline. Do not always assume that your child will always do what is right because rebellion is bound up in the heart of a child, and sometimes the only way that you will know about the rebellion and hence the need for discipline is to observe the action of your child.

There is a suggestion in verse 30 that demands our very close attention. It reads:

Proverbs 20:

30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

Many folk notice only the first part of this verse: “The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil…” They feel that in the administering of corporal punishment if the baby has not been left black and blue, then the punishment is ineffective. There have been many children injured by well-intentioned parents because they feel that the only way to make the discipline effective is to cause the blueness of the wound, but this a complete misinterpretation of the passage of Scripture. The phrase, “the blueness of the wound,” refers to the condition of a boil just before it is ready to burst and release the poison that is contained in it—“the blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil.” When the boil heads, you know soon the puss will be forthcoming.

By comparison, “…so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.” Speaking from experience, not scientifically, it is my experience that the most painful time that you can endure with a boil is just before it bursts. The most painful time you can endure with an infected tooth is just before the infection is lanced or it bursts. The suggestion is that stripes cleanse the inward part of the belly in the sense that stripes, as painful as they may be, are necessary for the formation of a convicting conscience. As a matter of fact, some translators have suggested that the last part of this verse might be translated, “…so do stripes train the conscience.”

You recognize that all men are born with consciences. You recognize that the Bible has much to say about consciences. Some consciences are evil, and an individual who follows an evil conscience will do evil. Some consciences are seared, as with a hot iron, so that people can do many things and never be bothered by consciences; but godly parents, as were the parents of Paul, can so train children that they will have a convicting conscience, a conscience that will convict them of that which is not right.

There have been many young people who have been raised in godly homes who have been saved from absolute ruin after they left home because of their training. Their training was such that every time they did that which was evil, their conscience hurt them, and they felt so uncomfortable in doing it that it was just easier not to do it than to do it. Parents, don't be afraid to develop a Bible-oriented conscience in the hearts and lives of your children. Let them know that things are right in the sight of God and man and things are wrong in the sight of God and man.

Having looked at the need for discipline, we should spend a moment of time looking at the method of discipline. When I say the method, I am not speaking at the moment of the rod. I am not speaking at the moment about the pouting chair. I am not speaking of any other methods you might have devised for discipline because discipline means far more than punishment. Discipline, chastening, as we have emphasized repeatedly to you, involves the idea of child training.

Train a Child in the Way He Should Go

I would like to suggest three ways to you in which you should train your child. First, you should train your child in the way that he should go. This is a familiar verse of Scripture and does not need a great deal of elaboration, but we look at it briefly. Notice Proverbs, chapter 22, verse 6:

Proverbs 22:

6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I would like to suggest to you that if this passage of Scripture is used as it is commonly used: “Train up a child in the way he should go; that is, take him to Sunday School; make sure he doesn't miss; make sure that he is there every Sunday morning and every Sunday night; make him go whether he wants to go or not; then when he gets up to be about eighteen years old, he probably won't want to go any more. Don't worry about it too much. From about eighteen until about twenty-five or twenty-six, he will sow his wild oats. He may even sow his wild oats until he is about ninety-eight, but he will come back to the Lord because you have trained him right.”

I want to tell you, Beloved, if that is what that verse of Scripture means, it means absolutely nothing to me. I have never been impressed with a ninety-eight year old man who tells me he is going to give his life to the Lord. I am impressed when a young man eighteen to twenty says that Christ is going to be all in his life.

What kind of promise is this, that you train up a child in the way he should go and know eventually that he is going to come back? That isn't the meaning of the verse. Train up a child according to his individual bent and when he reaches the age of maturity—that age will vary—then he will walk in the direction in which he has been trained.

If you have done the job right, before he gets out from under your wings, you won't need to worry needlessly what he will do when he is out from under your wings. There will always be the need for concern because Satan is fighting a continuous battle, and he is never going to let your children alone. I hope you don't make the mistake of saying, “I raised him. Now it is up to him.”

No, it isn't. You still have a tremendous responsibility of intercessory prayer. Though they may be past the stage where they are taking orders from you, they are never beyond the reach of your prayers. You are a very foolish person if you don't continue to bathe your children in prayer that they might continue in the way that they should go.

Discipline in Love

The second method that I would call to your attention, I have phrased in the words in love . Your discipline should not only be in the way that your child should go, but your discipline should be in love, and if there is one thing that I would feel led to emphasize more than any other one thing about discipline, it would be the matter of discipline in love. It is described for you in chapter 13, verse 24. Notice:

Proverbs 13:

24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

The very chastening is the evidence of the love. Of course, there is one other word in the text which indicates even more distinctly that the chastening should be in love, and that is the word betimes . That word means absolutely nothing to us, but if we were to recognize that the word betimes might be translated by the words keep in order or when necessary , it would mean more. Read the words that way:

Proverbs 13:

24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him [when it is necessary—he keeps him in line, keeps him in order] .

You see, the reason the emphasis is placed upon love here is that many parents do not chasten their children until they are angry, and then children associate chastening with anger. There are parents who let their children get away with proverbial murder, and do absolutely nothing about it until they have to. By that time, they are angry. By that time, they are exasperated. By that time, they are not even disciplining sanely and sensibly, and the only thing the child knows is that he has done something to make the old man mad and he doesn't even know what it is, and the madness is far more noticeable to him than the discipline. If every act of discipline could be administered in love, if every act of discipline could be administered because of love, then it would be effective.

I do not mean to say to you that you should use the cliche that is much outworn: “This hurts me more than it does you.” That is ridiculous. They know it doesn't because in their minds all they are thinking about is the discipline, and it is not hurting you as much as it is hurting them. If you could convey to them that the reason that you are disciplining them is that you love them too much not to discipline them, then the discipline is much more effective.

May I remind you that you don't get that across to them by simply telling them that. You get that across to them by showering your love and affection upon them constantly so that your discipline shall be as God's judgment—a strange and unusual act. The Bible says that God is a God of compassion and love, and the Bible says that judgment is God's strange work. It is not something that He does all of the time. It is something that He does when He has no alternative. All of the rest of the time the description of God is that God is love, and that is the way that children feel about their parents. We, as parents, should so live with our children that when they think of Mother and when they think of Daddy, they think of love. Then when the need of discipline arises, you don't need to tell your children that you are disciplining them because you love them. They will know that you are because this is a strange work with you.

Discipline Administered in Time

The third suggestion that I would like to make to you in relation to discipline is that the discipline should be administered in time. Notice, please, chapter 19, verse 18:

Proverbs 19:

18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

We are interested in the first part of the verse, at the moment: “Chasten thy son while there is hope…” That is the reason for my suggesting to you that the chastening ought to be in time. Do it while there is hope. It is too late sometimes. Sometimes you let things go to the place where all the disciplining in the world will not make any difference. I am often asked, “What can I do in this situation? For whatever reason, I have failed.” I have had parents say to me, “I don't know why I have failed,” but this is the situation that exists. They say, “What you are suggesting about discipline isn't working now. What am I going to do? I did not chasten when there was time.”

I have only one answer for that, Beloved, and that answer is to salvage what you can. Salvage what you can. Don't go about in your pride, refusing to admit your failure. Admit your failure to your child if you have to. Admit your failure publicly if you have to, and salvage what you can, for an undisciplined child is going to need you and need you sorely in his adult life. There may be this time of childhood and youth when (I have to blame the parent; I don't blame the child) the parent was faithless in the discharge of his responsibility and his child would have nothing to do with him or receive nothing that he had to say; but an undisciplined child will eventually meet his Waterloo. An undisciplined child will eventually come to the place of defeat, and he will long for somebody to turn to for help. But if you have closed the door, he is not going to come to you. If you have closed the door in the midst of your self-righteousness and tried to make out like you haven't made the mistake, he is not going to come to you. You are not going to have the opportunity to salvage what might be left. My advice always is to keep the door open because there will come a time when they will want what you have to offer, though they may not want it right now.

Discipline in Sincerity

Look at chapter 19, recognizing the emphasis that we placed upon the matter of discipline in time. Notice verse 18:

Proverbs 19:

18 Chasten thy son while there is hope [while there is time. Now notice the last part] and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

Many people read this verse and interpret it: “When you discipline your child, don't worry if he cries.” This is one of the unhappy translations in our King James text, and it does not suggest that you keep on beating your child, not being concerned about his crying; rather, it means what I might refer to as the fourth method of chastening: Chasten your child in sincerity. Do you do that? Perhaps if you look at this translation which has been suggested, you will know. Notice: “Do not indulge your angry resentment by undue chastisement and set yourself to his ruin.” Chasten your child in sincerity—that is, do not indulge your angry resentment by undue chastisement.

I ask you this question to provoke your thinking: Do you chasten your children in this way? Do you indulge your angry resentment in the chastening of your children? Some people do. For example, in homes where there are two families—the children of the wife by one marriage and the children of the husband by another marriage—children are chastened because of the angry resentment of one parent or the other. The parent resents the presence of the other children.

If they were to be asked, they would say, “I love them as much as I love my own,” and they would fight you about it; but buried deep within their lives is the fact that they do resent them and they do chasten them unduly. Then pass from that to the fact that sometimes parents don't particularly want the children they have. They don't want them, but they are there, and they can't turn them out in the street. Occasionally they enjoy them when they are particularly cute and when they do something that brings a certain amount of pride, so they can stick out their chest and say, “That's my boy.” They tolerate them, but when they get in the way, when they interfere with vacations, when they interfere with certain things that certain parents want to do, then they chasten them out of the resentment of their hearts.

What is the Spirit of God saying here? He is saying that you are setting yourself to the ruin of that child. There are many children today who are disciplinary problems and people are trying to find out what the reason for it is. They are trying to find out what caused it. I will tell you what caused it. The discipline, in many instances, that they have suffered has been due to resentment and the child knows it. Oh, the parent may very piously emphasize that he is doing it for the child's own good, but the child knows that he is doing it purely out of resentment.

I don't suppose I need to tell you, but I will remind you that children have an uncanny ability of detecting insincerity. They have an uncanny ability at detecting insincerity and particularly on the part of their parents.

Response to Discipline

We have been talking to you about discipline. We would like to talk to you now about the response to it. If you have not learned already, let me remind you that all children do not respond the same way to the same discipline. It isn't enough to discipline. You must recognize that all children will not respond the same way. You must recognize that in many families there is a Jacob and there is an Esau. You must recognize that in the text which we are considering, there is the wise son and there is the foolish son. We would like to examine with you a few proverbs which tell us the difference in response to discipline as it is emphasized by the wise son and the foolish son.

Turn back with me, please, to Proverbs, chapter 13, verse 1, and keep in mind the two are presented together, but we are considering only the wise now. We read:

Proverbs 13:

1 A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

There are two boys together there—a wise boy and a scorner. A wise boy hears his father's instruction. A very literal rendering of this statement might be: “He listens to his father's instructions. He sees the reason for his father's instructions.” A wise child who knows that God has placed his parents here for the purpose of leading them in the right way will see the reasons for his father's instruction.

I never read this verse of Scripture without realizing that there is a tremendous responsibility resting upon me as a parent. It isn't enough to tell my child. It is important for my child to see the reason for the request, the command, that I may give.

Again I ask you in order to provoke your thinking, how many of you parents take the time to see to it that your child sees the reason for the command that you give? Wait just a moment. I am not saying that your child will agree with the reason. I am saying that your child can see it.

I have never insisted that my children agree with me, but I have insisted that my children see the reason for what I am saying, and honor it because you are not told anywhere in the Word of God that your child has to agree with you. Personalities conflict, but they should agree with the principles, and you should see to it, as a parent, that they do see the reasons for it.

Turn over to Proverbs, chapter 15, verse 5, and we see that a wise son regards what his father has to say, for we read:

Proverbs 15:

5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.

The wise son is the prudent son. You notice the last part of the statement: “…but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” The word regardeth may be amplified to read, “consider each suggestion.” The wise son is going to consider each suggestion that his father makes. Does that bring anything to mind, Fathers, about the way to deal with your children? Do you order like a military general or do you very calmly and quietly make a suggestion?

You say, “Well, I mean for my kids to do what I tell them to do.” I do, too, but there is a vast difference in ordering like a military general and suggesting like a loving father.

Many times I have said to one or the other of my children, in regard to something that I would like for them to do and really there is no reason for them to do it, when I have been down in the den in the chair that I use for study and I need a book that is in my study upstairs, “Would you mind getting such-and-such a book for Daddy?” I could have said, “Look, where is that book?” but I don't. I say, “Would you mind doing it?” Why do I say that? One reason is there is no real reason that they should go get it. What is wrong with my getting up and getting it?

Only one time in all of our experience have I had anybody say, “Yes, I would mind,” and they did it to tease me. I said, “Would you mind doing so and so,” and this person said, “Yes I would.” Do you know what I did? I said, “I am sorry I asked you. I will get it myself.” They said, “Oh no, Daddy, I was only teasing. I didn't mean that. I will get it.” You see, there is nothing wrong with suggesting. They know who is in charge, and the thought of this passage of Scripture is that a wise son will consider each suggestion.

I want to say to you young people and you children that your fathers and your mothers do love you. We may not be the brightest people in the world, but we do love you. It would pay you to consider our suggestions before you reject them because many of our suggestions are born in prayer and many of our suggestions are born in a deep desire for you to have God's best; so before you reject the suggestion, be a wise and a prudent son, and consider it carefully.

Notice, chapter 15, verse 20, where we read:

Proverbs 15:

20 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

Very little comment is necessary. It is just an illustration of the response that is given to discipline. A wise son who obeys is a great deal of joy to his father. You know we think about Fathers Days and birthdays and Christmas. The greatest gift a son can give to his father is reverence, respect, and obedience.

Let us notice the response of the foolish son. You see, there is a difference, and it is possible to have—we are using the word son very broadly; we are including the girls here, but we are just using son as the Scripture does—a foolish son and a wise son in the same household. Listen carefully to what I am going to say to you: If you are not very careful you will find yourself being partial to the wise son. It is easier to love the child who is obedient than it is to love the child who is disobedient. You will find yourself showing partiality evident enough to be recognized between the two, and the foolish son will become more foolish.

Keep in mind that the meaning of this word foolish in the book of Proverbs is rebellion . The rebellious son will become more rebellious because he sees you unconsciously favoring the wise son. If you have two children under your roof—one wise and one foolish—you be careful that you are not partial to the wise son.

We won't take time to turn back to these passages of Scripture. They are the same ones that we looked at before. In chapter 13, verse 1, the foolish son hears not his father. A modern term for it is he tunes him out . I hope if you haven't sense enough to know when your children have tuned you out that you will ask God to sharpen your wits. There are many parents who keep on keeping on long after they have been tuned out until the child screams out, “Get off my back.” He wouldn't do that if you were sharp enough to know that he had already tuned you out. After he has tuned you out, you are not accomplishing a thing but pouring salt in the wound and irritating and promoting rebellion.

A Foolish Son Despises His Father and Saddens Him

In chapter 15, verse 5, a foolish son does exactly what is suggested by the Word. He despises his father. This word despise is used several times, but it does not always have the same meaning. In this particular instance, it does have the idea of despising. A foolish son despises his father. This is not an indictment of the father. It is an indictment of the son. When a son feels like he knows more than his father does and despises him, it is an indictment of the son instead of the father. We would suggest that you don't let that attitude develop.

A foolish son, in Proverbs, chapter 15, verse 20, saddens his father. It is, of course, a sad thing to recognize the heartbreak that is brought into the lives of many, many people because of this situation.

In Proverbs, chapter 17, verse 25, notice what is suggested concerning the foolish son:

Proverbs 17:

25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

The reason that we are asking you to look at this verse is that the word grief here is not the same thing as the sadness in verse 20. The word grief here is from a Hebrew word that could speak of exasperation. “The foolish son exasperates the father, and he is a bitter blow to the mother.”

I hope that you are noticing the distinction that the Spirit of God is making there between the attitude of the mother and the father. We fathers get exasperated long before we should. Mother continues to take that bitter blow. A foolish son, you will notice, doesn't exasperate mother. He is a bitter blow to mother, but a foolish son exasperates father.

Train Children to Honor their Parents

Speaking of the matter of discipline, using the word discipline in the sense of training, there is one other thing that we should consider as we consider the proverbs that have to do with this principle, and that is the necessity for every parent to take upon himself the responsibility of training his children to honor his parents. Any father or mother who permits any show of disrespect is not being fair to his child or is he being fair to the Word of God, for God looks upon a show of disrespect of parents as a terrible thing.

He expresses it in language that is difficult for us to really comprehend. Turn, please, to Proverbs, chapter 19, verse 26, as we suggest to you that which is connected to the honor due all parents. In this verse you read:

Proverbs 19:

26 He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.

How are your children going to know that they should honor you unless you teach them that? How are they going to know that a son who wasteth his father and chaseth away his mother is a son that causeth shame unless you teach them that (listen carefully now) long after the days of obedience are ended, the days of honor continue? You see, your child will reach a place where he will say to you, “I'm too big for you to tell me what to do,” or “I'm too old for you to tell me what to do,” or “I'm my own man and you have no control over my life,” and all of that will be true. You should teach your child that after the days of obedience are over, the days of honor continue.

Someone has paraphrased the verse and it makes it easier for us to understand: “A son who mistreats his father or his mother is a public disgrace.” This is how God feels about it. There are a lot of respectable people today who are a public disgrace in the eyes of God because they are mistreating fathers and mothers.

Preachers have a way of knowing these things that many other people do not know, and in the course of my ministry I have seen a lot of old people mistreated by their sons. Oh, it wasn't that they got a big, black whip and came and whipped them every week. Even that would have been better than being ignored, but a lot of them are dying by inches with broken hearts because their children are not honoring them as parents. If you ever get to the place where you do not honor your father or your mother, no matter how high you may get in society, you are a public disgrace.

Total Disapproval of God

There is one other passage of Scripture that I would have you to notice and it is related to what God calls in the Word cursing . Notice chapter 20, verse 20:

Proverbs 20:

20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

The word cursing here means “speaking disrespectfully to father or to mother.” I am interested in the last part of the verse. I do not know what it means, and I don't know anybody else that knows what it means: “…his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.”

I know what people suggest that it means, but I don't know what it means, except this one thing: when a man has his light put out or when a man is shut out in outer darkness, he is suffering total disapproval of Almighty God, and God says, “The son who curses his father, who does not show him his proper respect, is under the total disapproval of Almighty God.”

Let me say a few words pointedly to you parents. If you permit your children to show you disrespect by sassing you, by talking back to you, by speaking flippantly to you, you are breeding a thing that God says will be a public disgrace.

May I say to you children and young people, if you forget yourself so far, no matter how much your parents irritate you, as to speak flippantly to them, showing disrespect and dishonor, God says that you are a public disgrace; and He says that your lamp shall be put out, indicating that you are out of fellowship with Him and under disapproval.

Isn't it an interesting thing that usually we think of fellowship in terms of specific sins? Some of us have our catalog of sins. We look in our catalog and say, “Let me see what I can do today and not be out of fellowship. One, two, three, four, five; it isn't there, so I can do it and not be out of fellowship.”

Beloved, there is no catalog of sin that puts you out of fellowship, but if there were, this would most certainly be in it. There are a lot of young people who are out of fellowship, and because they are out of fellowship, they are walking in the flesh, and everything is going wrong and they don't know why it is going wrong, because they are looking for some sin that they have considered wrong for themselves, and the relationship is between them and their parents. It isn't right, and because that relationship isn't right, they are out of fellowship; and because they are out of fellowship, God cannot bless them.

Conclusion

I want to say to you young people, you children, when you discover everything is going wrong and you wonder what is wrong and you are well taught enough to know that there is such a thing as being in fellowship and out of fellowship, and you wonder if you are out of fellowship, before you dismiss the idea, examine the relationship that you have with your parents. If you are in a state of disobedience to them, you are out of fellowship, and you need to confess it to the Lord before that fellowship is restored.

Parents, let me say a word to you. Sometimes that child who has proven such a problem to you and you don't know quite how to handle it and you can't understand why it is that nothing you say ever seems to be the right thing, you consider that you are out of fellowship yourself. You may be, and because you are out of fellowship, you can't get through to him; or consider that he is out of fellowship and you are responsible for it because of the manner of discipline. It is necessary for the two of you to get back in fellowship before order can be restored.


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