He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently, (13:24).
A flood of memories materializes every time I read this verse. My youngest child was the more compliant of our two. Whereas our oldest was strong-willed, our son typically only needed a stern glance to adjust his behavior. But when he was about nine, a rebellious attitude began to emerge. One morning, when praying for him about this, the Lord happened to have me in Proverbs 13 (and since my son was born on the 13th of his birthday month, it seemed especially pertinent).
When he awoke that morning, I told him I wanted to share with him what the Lord had given me for him from His Word. Together, we read Proverbs 13:24:
He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
When I finished reading that one sentence, my son who completely understood the impact, looked up at me and said, “Please hate me.” My reply came immediately. “Son, I can’t. I love you too much.”
It was only a few days later, when I asked my son to get off the couch and attend to something, that he just sat there. I asked a second time, and still nothing. The third time, I presented my request with a heartfelt nudge; “Son, you can either get up and do what I am asking you to do right now, or I’m going to love you diligently.” That moved him. And if we would take to heart the impact of God’s love in our lives, it will move us too.
For He is the Perfect Father Who will not withhold His rod. And because of His great love for His children, He will always Discipline Us Diligently.
Consider Him Who Disciplines Us Diligently
Yesterday, we saw more than two dozen examples of the fruit yielded in a life rooted in our Savior, the Root of the Righteous. His Father Heart is always desiring His children to prosper in His blessings and favor.
But like my son, sometimes it’s not the promise of favor that moves us. Today, let us consider the undesirable consequences should He leave us to ourselves, that we might gain insight into His great love that moves Him to Discipline Us Diligently.
- does not listen to rebuke (13:1)
- violence (13:2)
- comes to ruin (13:3)
- craves and gets nothing (13:4)
- acts disgustingly and shamefully (13:5)
- wickedness (13:6)
- the lamp goes out (13:9)
- insolence and strife (13:10)
- fraud and dwindling wealth (13:11)
- deferred hope (13:12)
- the due penalty from despising the word (13:13)
- snares of death (13:14)
- hard and treacherous way (13:15)
- foolish folly (13:16)
- adversity (13:17)
- poverty and shame (13:18)
- foolish abominations (13:19)
- companion of fools (13:20)
- pursued by adversity (13:21)
- forfeiture of heritage (13:22)
- need and hunger (13:25)
How do we respond to Him Who Disciplines Us Diligently?
Often, when our children were younger, they would ask permission to do something they already knew the answer to; and their reasoning sounded something like, “So and so does it.” And when this kind of request came, my husband and I would always reply with a simple quiz, “What’s your last name?” They understood immediately the implications. They were to behave according to the guidelines of our family, not someone else’s.
Oh, that we would accept His Diligent Discipline that we would grow up to be children who bear well His Family Name.
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness, (Hebrews 12:5-11).
For every negative consequence listed throughout this chapter in Proverbs, there is a clear contrast presented of the blessing that yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who trust in Him Who Disciplines Us Diligently.
- wisdom accepts His discipline (13:1)
- fruit of our mouths bring good (13:2)
- preserves his life (13:3)
- soul is made fat (13:4)
- hates falsehood (13:5)
- guarded and blameless way (13:6)
- light and rejoicing (13:9)
- receives counsel (13:10)
- increasing wealth (13:11)
- desire fulfilled (13:12)
- reward in fearing the commandments (13:13)
- fountain of life (13:14)
- good understanding and favor (13:15)
- prudence and knowledge (13:16)
- brings healing (13:17)
- honor (13:18)
- desire that is realized and sweet (13:19)
- companion of the wise (13:20)
- rewarded with prosperity (13:21)
- leaves an inheritance for children’s children (13:22)
- satisfied (13:25)
Oh, that we would come to fully understand that because He loves us so, He can never hate us. Because He loves us so, let us never reject His reproof, but let us always trust Him Who Disciplines Us Diligently.
My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights, (Proverbs 3:11-12).