Tag Archive: parenting

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.


The Law

Day 37 Exodus 22-24

The law… recently someone said to me, “I’m so glad I live under the grace of Jesus Christ and not under The Law.” But as I struggle through reading these, and I have to warn you folks we’re going to be resting on this subject for MONTHS, I can’t help but think.. Can you imagine life without the law? It would have been a disaster. When I say I struggle, I mean I STRUGGLE, even when I try and think of some of this stuff in context of the time I still am a little taken aback at the brutality, and inequality.  I have to say though a nation of what was only a few months ago slaves would certainly need laws, and I think strict laws would work better for this bunch rather than flexible lenient laws.  I can only assume under the Egyptians the brutality of a judicial system for slaves would make Mosaic Law look pretty mild and fair.   This body of broken children of God called Israelites needed God’s love and as a good parent knows that includes discipline.  Are our kids perfect? No. Do they get punished? Yes.  As to the severity of some of these laws, well I have to trust that God knew what was best for back then.  He knew down to the individual what laws needed to be dictated, and He knew they would ultimately fail…

The Got Questions Article “What is The Mosaic Covenant?” really helped me digest some of this, Especially the following: “The Mosaic Law would reveal to people their sinfulness and their need for a Savior, and it is the Mosaic Law that Christ Himself said that He did not come to abolish but to fulfill. This is an important point because some people get confused by thinking that keeping the Law saved people in the Old Testament, but the Bible is clear that salvation has always been by faith alone, and the promise of salvation by faith that God had made to Abraham as part of the Abrahamic Covenant still remained in effect (Galatians 3:16-18).”

     Lord, I ask as I sift through these ancient laws that you soften my heart.  Help me to understand the why behind it all.  Lord some of this makes sense.. some I really struggle with.  I want to know why women are so poorly treated… I can only guess that through your laws their lot in life is improved.  Always remind me that I do need You, there is no doing this on my own and earning my way to heaven… only Your grace, forgiveness and guidence. I Love and thank you Lord.

Prodigal Promises

 Day 16 Genesis 12-15

Christmas  of 03 my family and I were all gathered at my In-laws for Christmas.  I was just pregnant enough to start wearing maternity clothes and all of us were eager for the opening of a single “present.”  During my ultrasound I had the tech withhold telling us if it was a boy or girl.  Instead I had her write it down on a piece of paper for me to read Christmas morning. 

    My first kiddo was a wonderful little boy, and while I loved and cherished having a son, I had always pictured myself parenting a daughter, at least one.  Well my very first impression when I read the card telling us we were going to have another little boy was, “My oldest son is going to have a little buddy!”   There was some speculation among the family that I’d be disappointed when we found out I was having another boy.    But the moment I KNEW for sure I was happy about little man number two and I had peace over the idea of a daughter… because the seed of adoption had already been planted in my heart.

   God promised me, prepared me and created me to be the mother to not only my boys but also my girl.  But the moment I felt peace with the idea of eventually having a daughter, like Abram hearing the news about his descendents, I  also found tremendous doubt. 

     Everyone talks about adoption… says things like, “Oh I want to adopt!”  But how many of us actually accomplish this?  The list of why we would never actually adopt was long, and legitimate.  It wasn’t so much that I doubted God’s ability, I doubted mine… I knew me, I was the queen of good ideas that never came to fruition.  The likelihood that fear would forever prevent me from adopting was  a VERY real possibility.  Praise God it wasn’t just up to me.  Adoption was God’s plan for my life, whether I believed it or not.

    God planted the seed, God closed doors till it was time for the doors to be flung open and God clearly led the way to the exact child He had predestined for me to parent, before she was born, before I was born.  With God all things are possible,  with Erika.. not so much.  But if it really matters to the Lord, He can still use a broken failure like me to complete his master plan. 

    Abram was old, Abram was not perfect, but he was a friend of God, the Prodigal Promiser.

Abel-like offerings

Genesis 4-7 

   God’s start with mankind seemed really rocky.  I don’t think it’s God’s fault, or rather if he is all knowing then theoretically he could have predicted all this so perhaps it is his fault.  But it was the humans that distanced themselves from their Creator, not the other way around, so it’s the human’s fault.    This reminds me of the paradox of parenting. When a child makes a mistake, whose “fault” is it, the child or the parent? Often God’s interactions with humans remind me of my struggles parenting… God is an interesting parenting role model though… he’s certainly a “let them fail and learn on their own” kind of Dad. It’s not like he doesn’t try to tell us what’s right and what’s wrong it’s just that sometimes we’re hell-bent on doing what’s wrong. Because of our sin we experience a separation from God (thus the need for Christ’s intervention).  In Genesis 5:21-24 there was a man who “walked steadily with God.”   His name was Enoch, Great-grandfather to Noah.  Enoch doesn’t die, God just takes him, was Enoch therefore without sin?  Who knows, well God knows, but this occurred so early in Earth’s history we get three verses on the guy and that’s it.  

     Through today’s tales of murder, giants,  and floods, it was Enoch that stood out to me.  I’d be hard pressed to described my walk with God as “steady,”  more like “fleeting.”  What is it that’s preventing me from walking steadily with the Lord?  I could come up with all sorts of excuses, laundry ironically jumps to mind first, but just the general day-to-day life really.  But do I really get off so easily blaming my circumstances? No.   I dare say Enoch had day-to-day duties to attend to as well.  My mind goes back to Cain and Able’s  first offering, we can’t just offer God some of our life, we have to offer Him the best of us…

Lord, your Word is wonderous, and I have largely ignored it.  Thank you for hanging in there with me. Help me to understand what giving you an Able-like offering looks like in my life.