June 23rd 2018 – Proverbs 13:19-25

A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
    but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
    but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Disaster pursues sinners,
    but the righteous are rewarded with good.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children,
    but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous.
The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food,
    but it is swept away through injustice.
Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
    but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
    but the belly of the wicked suffers want.

Proverbs 13:19-25

There was not time in yesterday's Note to deal with 24, a verse too important to pass over without some comment. We must not make the mistake of thinking that this is merely an Old Testament emphasis, for it is taken up in detail in Hebrews 12:5-11. It is certainly true that imperfect motives must be guarded against, and also undue severity, as Paul makes plain in Ephesians 6:4, where there seems to have been some tendency towards these errors, but the obligation remains. We have already seen, in 4:3, 4,11, the place of tenderness, constructiveness and example in the relationship between parents and children, and this should make it clear that there is no essential incompatibility between these qualities and the firmness of discipline advocated here. A recent medical report indicated that the psychological disturbances in young people caused by over harsh and repressive treatment by parents was much more amenable to successful treatment than the psychological disturbance caused by lack of discipline. This should be reassuring and heartening to those who take the teaching of Scripture seriously. 'Betimes' means not 'at times' or 'from time to time' but 'in time'. Literally translated, the phrase reads 'he seeks him early with discipline'. This can mean both the application of discipline from the early days of the child's life and the instant checking of the child's misbehaviour as opposed to the punishment only at the end of a long series of warnings and repeated verbal scoldings. 'It is not love, but the lack of it, that leaves a child to himself, to develop, unchecked tendencies and propensities which shall result in future sorrow' (Ironside).