Proverbs 13: 24-25
At first glance these two verses may seem to have nothing in common, but you might be surprised at how truth can be woven intricately together. Let’s start by looking at verse 24.
24 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Before I became a father, I thought I understood verse 24. I thought to myself, “Of course, what a no-brainer. I’m definitely going to discipline my children. I for sure don’t want my kids to be those who throw fits at the stores and talk back to their parents.” Looking back on those thoughts I’m amazed how naïve I was. When you experience the miracle of fatherhood and motherhood, you understand that your children are, arguably, your everything. You never want to see any harm come to them. You don’t want to see them sad or hurting and will virtually do everything in your power to make sure that they are sheltered from things that might harm them. So, when you are commanded to discipline your children with the rod, as a parent, things become a lot more real. If that’s not bad enough, if we don’t discipline our children then we are said to hate them. How could that be? I believe that as much as we love our children we are called to raise them in the ways of Christ. You do not have to teach a child to be selfish, but you do have to teach them to share. The tendencies to live for one’s self are natural to our human nature. If unaddressed, the child is in danger of all sorts of things developing that could be harmful to them later in life. As the saying goes to the child being disciplined, “This hurts me more than it hurts you”. We as parents must be strong and obedient to the Lord in the stewardship of our children. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) explains this. “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” We know all this as truth because our loving Father in Heaven also disciplines us as His children. Hebrews 12:6-11 (NLT) reveals God’s Fatherly love for us saying, ”For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” Discipline should be known as a trait of absolute value. Yes, chastening is painful to both the one receiving and the one doing the disciplining, but what comes from godly chastening are the values that save souls and build the Kingdom of God. Let love abide, trust the Lord and lead your children into his wonderful grace just as God also, through kindness, led us to repentance and grace.
25 The godly eat to their hearts’ content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.
In verse 25 we discover a beautiful truth about seeking a godly lifestyle above self. A content person may be defined as someone who is satisfied with what they have. We know through reading the Word that one of the fruits of the spirit is joy. (Galatians 5:22-23) That same joy, the joy of the Lord, is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) When we fully put our faith in Him and entrust all that we have to Him, He will give us rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28 (NIV). You see, in Christ there’s a peace that surpasses all of our understanding. (Philippians 4:7) When we delight ourselves in the Lord He in turn gives us the desires of our hearts. (Psalm 37:4) The beauty here is that the more we grow in Christ the more our desires mirror His. We then begin to become the person we were always meant to be from the beginning. It’s not hard to see then why, in contrast, that the belly of the wicked will go hungry. If we’re just speaking spiritually, living apart from God is like living in a desolate wasteland. Your spirit cannot be nourished by our creator. It then begins to feed on itself revolving all the more over in its own wicked self loathing, victim mentality that blames God and the world for its misfortune. Do as David did and come out of the desert and seek nourishment in His presence. Psalm 63 “1 O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! 4 I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.”