October 7th 2018 – Proverbs 29:13-17

The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
    the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
If a king faithfully judges the poor,
    his throne will be established for ever.
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
    but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
When the wicked increase, transgression increases,
    but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
    he will give delight to your heart.

Proverbs 29:13-17

There is an echo of 22:2 in 13: we all share common ground in the things that matter - illness ,war, death, forgiveness (cf also Matthew 5:44,45). Kidner's note on 14 is fine and to the point: 'The test of a man in power and his hidden strength, is the extent to which he keeps faith with those who can put least pressure on him'. To do justly by them not for something in them, but for something in him a ruler of this calibre will last, and he will deserve to. 15 and 17 belong together, and underline again an oft-repeated emphasis in Proverbs. Discipline is not only needed, it is also wanted by the young generation. 'Left to himself' means lacking in love and therefore lacking in correction and care alike. It is not accidental that some of the modern movements that have succeeded in attracting and holding young people today impose strict patterns of discipline on their adherents. They know what is needed, and what is wanted! A good title for 17 would be 'Through discipline to delight'. Firm and kindly discipline God is pledged to reward. One thinks of the analogy of learning to play the piano: duty and drudgery are the order of the day for so long; and then, suddenly, you are through to delight, technique becomes unconscious, and artistry results. So it is with the training of children: for long you see little commensurate reward. But wait! Of 16, Ironside comments, 'It is a principle of God's moral government that though lawlessness may seem, like the flood, to prevail over the highest mountains, it shall surely retreat, and righteousness hold sway at last' (cf Habakkuk 2:2-4).