WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 28, 2023
TOPIC: THE IMPORTANCE OF PARENTAL DISCIPLINE
BY T. O. BANSO
“Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives” (Proverbs 19:18 New Living Translation).
The tragedy that befell Eli the priest and his household in the Bible, underscores the importance of parental discipline. There is no record that the LORD found Eli wanting in the performance of his duties as a priest to the nation of Israel.
Eli’s problem with the LORD had to do with his failure in discharging his responsibility as a father. He failed in the area of parental discipline.
When the LORD spoke to Samuel about Eli and his household, He told him, “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them” (1 Samuel 3:11-13 New King James Version).
God’s charge against Eli was that he failed to discipline his children. If he had disciplined them, God would have exempted him from the judgment. But he didn’t. He only gave them a slap on the wrist when he heard a bad report about them. The sins of his children included seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:22) and desecrating the sacrifices offered to God.
This is how Eli reacted to the negative reports about his sons: “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him” (Verses 23-25a New King James Version).
Evidently, God expected him to do more than that, especially as the children didn’t listen to him as stated in verse 25b. The LORD said Eli honoured his sons more than Him (1 Samuel 2:29).
Because of the sins of Eli’s sons, they died together in the battle, and their father, upon hearing the news that the Ark of God had been carried away and the sons died, broke his neck and died. Before that, God had decreed that Eli’s family would no longer serve as His priest, and all the members of his family would die before their time (1 Samuel 2:30-31). All this happened because of Eli’s failure at parental discipline.
Hebrews 12:7b says what son is there whom his father doesn’t discipline? God expects parents to discipline their children. This includes instructing them in the way of the Lord and correcting them when they’re wrong, using the rod when they’re still young and there is a need for it. Parents must use “a Bible and a belt”, to use the words of that song by Joey and Rory, to raise their children.
You must instruct and also correct, and punish when necessary. “Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death” (Proverbs 23:13-14 New Living Translation). The Bible recommends physical punishment where necessary as part of the process of raising one’s child.
According to Proverbs 20:30, “Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart” (New Living Translation). Proverbs 22:15 says a similar thing: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (New King James Version). The New International Version uses “the rod of discipline” instead of “the rod of correction” while the New Living Translation uses the phrase “physical discipline.”
Refusing to beat your child to correct or discipline him or her is contrary to the Word of God. The Bible knows that there are certain things our children won’t get or do right except we apply the rod of correction. “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15 New King James Version).
Don’t leave your child to himself or herself. You may not beat the older members of your household, but you should correct them, as you consider proper. They don’t have to like it now, but later in life, they’ll appreciate it. Don’t be like David, who never rebuked Adonijah, his son, at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” (1 Kings 1:6)
Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (New International Version). Your children don’t have to enjoy being disciplined.
Also, you, as a parent, may not enjoy doing it. Nevertheless, you have a responsibility to discipline your children, and where necessary, apply the rod of correction. To withhold the rod of discipline is to destroy your child.
The rod is for correction, not to kill your child, or harm or injure him. That will amount to child abuse, and it is criminal. Children should not be flogged for every wrong done and without regard for their safety.
It is an error to think that what the teachers in school or the Sunday school teachers in the church do can replace what parents should do at home. As it is often said, “Charity begins at home.” Parents must not abdicate the responsibility of disciplining their children to other people. The consequences of such failure are serious for the child, the family, and society.
Parents must start disciplining their children early before it is too late. Yes, when there is still hope. “Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives” (Proverbs 19:18 New Living Translation). Some parents claim to love their children and fail to discipline them; some of them only begin to discipline them when it is almost or already too late.
Proverbs 13:24 says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (New International Version). Disciplining members of your household, especially your children and young ones under your care, is part of your spiritual responsibility as a parent or guardian. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad” (New Living Translation). The converse is also true: Don’t discipline your children and they will not give you peace of mind and make your heart glad. I pray that your children will give you joy and peace of mind in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, I receive Your help to discipline my children while there is hope. Father, help me to love my children in a way that I will not ruin their lives. I will not abdicate to anyone my responsibility to discipline my children. My children will give me joy and peace of mind in Jesus’ name. Father, touch the heart of every rebellious child to respond to parental discipline.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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