RESCUING OUR CHILDREN: CORRECTING FOOLISHNESS (The Rod)
Thousands of books have been written about parenting and systems of controlling your child’s behavior. I was exposed to a multitude of behavior management programs in my 17 years as a secondary school teacher and administrator. There is one thing all these programs have in common – pragmatically they all work. Most are based upon behavior modification techniques of stimulus and response. The outcome is a child who around their parent or others who the child is conditioned to respond to, will behave as trained or will receive the known consequence. The child stays out of trouble in these controlled environments and the parent’s stress level is reduced.
Another common element in these parenting paradigms is a consistent correction format that in many of the Christian programs is spanking the child regimentally. The correction may include prayer, reading Scripture and then a hug. What I want to point out from the Scriptures the next few days is that the concept of the rod for correcting foolishness as used by God as a model for us is not so narrow.
Starting out, the definition of the word rod as found in the Old Testament is that is was a staff, scepter or a branch. Examples of how it was used are it was to beat cumin (Isaiah 28:27), as a weapon (2 Samuel 23:21), a shepherd’s implement (Leviticus 27:32), an implement to protect and guide (Psalm 23:4), and a mark of authority (Genesis 49:1).
The word rod is used in many forms in the Scripture when applied to correcting rebellion and foolishness which shows that God disciplines in a variety of ways:
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men (2 Samuel 7:14)
Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me. (Job 9:34)
For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. (Isaiah 9:4)
Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! (Isaiah 10:5)
I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; (Lamentations 3:1)
What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? (1 Corinthians 4:21)
(The rod and the gospel tomorrow)