Tag Archive: family feud


Spare The Rod…

Day 161 Proverbs 22-24 

JUST this week I read in a CNN blog about how the frequently quoted “verse” “Spare the rod, spoil the child…” is not  actually in the Bible.  The blog says, “The popular saying is a distillation of Proverbs 13:24: “The one who withholds [or spares] the rod is one who hates his son.”  Hmm.. You know the actual verse seems almost WORSE than it’s “phantom-verse” version… spoiling your kids would be a lesser offence than HATING them in my book.. but really It’s a pointless argument because the REAL issue is what does “Withholding the rod” actually mean?  Does it literally mean beating our children with sticks?

   The explanation I was given growing up was that a Shepard’s rod was used to guide sheep NOT beat them.. the verse was referring  to guidance not physical violence.  Problem solved.. OH but there is a new verse in town that seems pretty clear about what kind of rod we’re talking about and what us parents are to do with it.  Chomp on NASB’s version of 23:13-14:

 13 Do not hold back discipline from the child,  (OK Got it, makes sense..)
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
14 You shall strike him with the rod
And rescue his soul from Sheol. (AKA Hell)

WOW… we’re beating our kids with sticks out of HELL!!  Who needs Jesus dying on crosses we’ve got hell-repelling RODS of parental discipline!!!  Eureka!  Suddenly the saying “beat the hell out of them” makes so much more sense!!

See now, THIS is when literal translations, taken out of context can get totally out of hand… LOL.  For those who don’t know me let me be clear: I DO NOT advocate child abuse.  You might take issue with some of how I parent my kids and that’s fine, I take issue with it too, and am always coming up with better ways to parent.. shouldn’t we all?

   What is Proverbs really trying to tell parents about parenting?  PARENT them!! Kiddos are not perfect little creatures, they will be breaking your rules from time to time… And for a good long while I sure did think that when my kids acted up it meant I was a bad mommy because good mommies do not have kids that misbehave! Misbehaving children is a clear sign of NO discipline in the house, right?  Well a deep depression later and after many many many parenting  books I realized my thinkin’ wasn’t right…  Discipline was good, absolutely necessary, and an expression of love… but not a 100%  solution to misbehavior.  In truth, God knows FIRST hand there is no salvation from our sins other than in Christ.  It don’t matter how big your stick is!

   So what’s up with the rod?!  Well here is my simple explanation:  It’s what King David used on Solomon when he was a youngin’.  My Dad got a belt (ouch) sometimes even I got spankings (ouch) and my kids get time outs, restrictions, and (I’ll fess up) the occasional swat on the rear too.  Rods are what they used at the time… sorry they didn’t have Positive Discipline A-Z parenting guides back in the day… Sorry they didn’t have it ALL figured out back then like we’re SO convinced we are now… With all this fuss about HOW to discipline you kids don’t miss the most important part of the message: the point is don’t let your kids rule the roostYou are the parent, they are the child.  You are in charge, they will at times try to take charge and you MUST NOT LET THEM…  Story of my life on an hourly basis!!  I find it humorous that this was an issue thousands of years ago much like it is today!  Kids were never “good” for their parents and parents were always struggling trying to figure out how to parent them!  I take consolation in knowing that parenting was NEVER easy throughout history!!  Why else would there be verses like:

22: 6 Start children off on the way they should go,
   and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

23: 22 Listen to your father, who gave you life,
   and do not despise your mother when she is old.

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Brat

Day 24 Genesis 35-37

When I read about Jacob telling his brothers and his father about his dreams, and yes I know they are prophecy dreams and it all comes true in a grand way… but I can’t help but think that Jacob got a kick out of sharing these dreams with his family…  What brat, and given his brothers’ history of WAY over reacting he is not even a very smart brat.  I don’t think Jacob needed to be killed or sold into slavery for rubbing prophecy dreams in his brothers’ faces, BUT if God were to fulfill the prophesy dreams He gave to Jacob, Jacob HAD to be knocked down a few notches.  So one could argue that God knew  about Jacob’s tendency to brag and his brothers’ habit  of being quick to anger and used this situation to set up some VERY important events.

     Best I can tell almost all prophets are annoying.. on their good days.  

Book of Sin, House of Sinners

Day 23 Genesis 32-34

Jacob means the deceiver.. and deceive he did.  The bible is NOT some sugar-coated fairytale of perfect people.  Jacob cheated his brother, lied to his father, his family was a mess because of his favoritism, even in the face of reconciliation with Esau (which I have to give Esau some credit for) he lied then just so save his butt.  His deceitfulness was passed onto his children whos wrath over the rape of their sister was WAY over the top and uncalled for.  Yet this is the Jacob who is bestowed with the name Israel…  Really, THIS guy gets to have a country named after him?! Because really, he didn’t do much of anything all that impressive.  Thus far, the bible is a book of sin and sin and sin, or as my brother put it moral ambiguity.  God it is such a wonder You didn’t pack up and move on!  I’m sure there is some alien race out on a different planet  that is much better than us!  Vulcans, yeah, I bet their bible is a bit more squeaky clean than ours.. or do they not believe in God?

     I read this passage this morning before church and it must have been at the forefront of my mind.  I LOVE worshiping with this congregation.  Mostly because they seem to keep it real.  Not a soul there claims to be without sin at some point in their lives.  Some have been through multiple divorces, drug abuse, illegal gang activity, prison. They wear it on their faces, some have the scars and the tatoos that prove where they’ve been in life. Yet here we all are laying it out before God.  I’m not saying we’re perfect now either, those seeking perfection in their church don’t last long with us. It’s fascinating to me what image some seem to think  a church needs to fulfill.  Even more intriguing is the idea that church is full of hypocrites. .  .  Well if you think church and the bible is full of perfect people, or at least people who think they are perfect then I can see where they are coming from.  We as humans are by nature imperfect.  So if the bible were to be an honest book, which I believe it is then the people in the bible will all be imperfect as well, minus only one: Jesus. 

     God honors those who come to Him, even when we’ve sinned.  We’ll see this again and again… That’s the lesson I took from Jacob, the man who wrestled with God, the man granted the name of a nation.

Manipulation

Day 22 Genesis 30-31

  Boy Howdy if we thought family dysfunction started in the 20th century one needs only to read the book of Genesis!  I scoff at the notion that life was ever any easier “back in the good ol’ days!” Us humans sure do know how to screw life up… and yet God still wants a relationship with us.  I’m thankful God isn’t Human, he would have thrown in the towel on us long ago.

   Rachel and Leah’s attempts to manipulate Jacob’s affection towards them was interesting… Did bearing Jacob many sons help increase his love for Leah?  And what was up with the mandrake?  Why would sex with their husband ever be available for trading in exchange for mandrake… aren’t those the screaming baby plants in Harry Potter?  I’m aware they are real, but if they are THAT good why then don’t we go buy mandrake bars instead of candy bars? Clearly they had yet to discover chocolate, now that I might understand.

   All joking aside, I think affection from our spouse is a touchy issue.  Any attempt to manipulate the person to give affection just makes it that much less genuine, and the need that started the manipulation in the first place grows and grows till it’s really dysfunctional.  Why do we, especially women, have to be so emotionally tied to adoration from our spouse?  Why should our happiness be so linked to being appreciated?  I don’t think manipulation is a solution to the problem.. figuring out where our happiness needs to come from instead might be a better step in the right direction.   Leah was unable to attain Jacob’s primary love even through manipulation, or God blessing her with the ability to bare children.  Was Jacob’s love for Leah what God’s goal He saw that she was not loved and allowed her to conceive?  That’s not the impression I was getting..  I’m working through this in my head but I don’t think I’ve come to a solid conclusion… I do not envy Leah.

On a side note:  reading about this polygamous family does not really sway me to think polygamy is a walk in the park.  Sorry Sister Wives.. I still don’t think more than one wife is a great idea.

First Covenant

Day 3 January 3rd

Genesis 8-11

The word that stuck in my head this morning was covenant.   God’s special promise to all living creatures to never again flood the entire earth. All covenants have a sign.. this one is a rainbow, a clear message that says, “I still promise.”

In 8:21 he acknowledges that mankind is “bent towards evil ways but I guess he’s willing to work with that from now on.  Not that it’s acceptable, just workable (really with as bad as humans can get now, wowza they must have been awful during Noah’s time).

Genesis 9:6-7 is interesting, slightly, given the virtual total destruction God brought over the entire earth, now to say that Human life is precious because we reflect God’s very nature.. So we’re bent towards evil YET we reflect God’s righteousness (always doing right).  I think we  posses the ability to comprehend righteousness, but are incapable of achieving it.   I’ve frequently said life (or church, work, family the list goes on and on) would be perfect if humans weren’t there to muck it up.

Last thing.. Noah cursing Canaan for looking at his drunk naked body, then blessing Canaan’s brother’s for covering him up. Oooo, that is really messed up.  It’s not that what Canaan did was all that great, but neither is getting drunk and passing out naked.  It’s great that the other bros did the respectable thing and So yeah Noah should have said thank you, and perhaps sorry.  Here is what I take issue with, it’s so clearly pitting brother against brother.  To Curse one and bless the other.  Noah is setting up some dangerous family issues here, and it’s a theme we’ll see over and over and over again. I know the passages are more of a history lesson about the region’s different settlements than painting an accurate family tree, but the divisions we see established by “Noah” from early on CEARLY still exists today.  Who are the Canaanites today?  Who are the Sons of Shem and Japheth?

Lord,  I can sense that knowledge of right from wrong through the fog of selfish sin.  If I could just set my path straight towards you, and free myself from distractions.  I’ll never be without distractions, without sin.  So I’m that much more thankful that you are the God of second chances.  We don’t deserve it.  Like Luke looking at Darth Vader  you see the good in us (yes I just quoted a Star Wars movie to the Creator of the Universe, I dare say he chuckled).  Thank you for never giving up.