- Keeping commands preserves life:
Defiance is a sure trait of trouble in the making. If you have a defiant child, your heart aches not only from their wanton disrespect and disobedience, but even more because you know for a fact that things will not go well for them. Rules seem to stifle and inhibit us, but this passage tells us that wise, thought-out rules and commands are to be kept for our own self-preservation. Don’t touch the stovetop; don’t run on the pool deck; don’t go past the barrier by the cliff; don’t drive recklessly. Rules can be a matter of life and death. I am not talking about rigid, senseless rules that exist for the sake of rules. I am talking of life-giving, life-protecting rules.
The one who keeps commands preserves himself;
one who disregards his ways will die.
2. Discipline operates within a narrow window:
We all have a strong will that must sooner or later be curbed. Rules make us bristle and want to push the limits. Unfortunately, our strong will is most frequently curbed by painful experiences/consequences. Instilling that knowledge in your child, and more importantly – in yourself – is not only imperative but verse 18 implies that there is a narrow window during which to do it. God is not like a lax wishy-washy parent and will not be mocked. This matter of discipline/training is very important to him. He knows that “folly is bound up in the heart of a child and a rod of correction will drive it out,” Pr. 22:15. To every extent that I fail to correct and discipline a child, I am pushing him or her down a road of death. I am participating in his death. The wages of sin is death and the wages of defiance are a sure and expedited death.
Discipline your son while there is hope;
don’t be intent on killing him.
3. If you rescue someone, you’ll likely have to do it again:
We need to be wise in rescuing others from the consequences of their folly. From a young age we told our boys that if they got in trouble with an authority figure for misbehaving, they would be in trouble with us as well. If they mouth off to a cop or get busted doing stupid stuff, they can call us from jail to tell us where they are but not be bailed out. Consequences are an important part of discipline/training. If you remove their sting, you curtail a vital learning process and cripple their development. We all know what those adults look like. We all have areas in our own lives where we failed to say no to ourselves and we are living with the consequences.
A person with great anger bears the penalty;
if you rescue him, you’ll have to do it again.
4. Listen and receive counsel:
Sometimes we pay lip service to counsel, roll our eyes at it and walk away with no intention of carrying it out. We may even embrace it theoretically and think it a good idea but if we don’t adopt it, we aren’t receiving it. Choose wisely whose counsel you listen to. Surround yourself with wise people and pick their brains often. Practice gauging people’s wisdom over a long period of time and bring people further into or out of your circle accordingly.
Listen to counsel and receive instruction
so that you may be wise later in life.
5. It starts with the fear of the Lord and ends with peace of mind:
Fear God and you will have nothing else to fear. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. As you fear him, he will lead you in ways that result in peace even when things are hard. Unfortunately, we fear disappointing a person or not fulfilling an appetite more than we fear God and his commands.
The fear of the Lord leads to life;
one will sleep at night without danger.
6. Discipline is not only for the recipient:
Every onlooker is affected when discipline is meted. When you are training a child or other person, everyone around can learn what you are teaching. The wise learn from watching others. Don’t be the fool that has to learn everything for themselves. You don’t have enough time on earth for that. When you fail to punish a mocker (an arrogant person, a scoffer) you do an injustice to the inexperienced who are watching you. Not only are you correcting the mocker, but you are teaching the inexperienced how to do so.
Strike a mocker, and the inexperienced learn a lesson;
rebuke the discerning, and he gains knowledge.
7. We never arrive:
Training/Discipline is a lifelong journey. We can be wise for years and undo it all in a moment of foolishness when we do not heed correction. In that moment we will have strayed from the path and can face serious consequences. Never stop listening to correction. Never think you are above it. Receive it from anyone. God uses all kinds of teachers on our path.
If you stop listening to correction, my son,
you will stray from the words of knowledge.
8. God values authority:
God appoints authority in all circles of life. One of their primary jobs is to maintain justice and to punish those who mock and undermine it. “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong,” Rom 13:1-4.
A worthless witness mocks justice,
and a wicked mouth swallows iniquity.
Judgments are prepared for mockers,
and beatings for the backs of fools.
Pr. 19:28, 29.