WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
TOPIC: THE IMPORTANCE OF PARENTAL DISCIPLINE
BY T. O. BANSO
“Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don’t, 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, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family. I have warned him continually that judgment is coming for his family, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them. So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings” (1 Samuel 3:11-13 New Living Translation).
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 reports of their desecration of the temple of God. 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: “I have been hearing reports from the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the LORD’s people are not good. If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede?” (Verses 23-25a New Living Translation).
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. Prior to 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 2:31). 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. Children must be raised with “a Bible and a belt” – to use the words of that song by Joey and Rory.
You must instruct and also correct, and punish when necessary. “Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank 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).
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 appropriate. 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?” (1Kings 1:6)
Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (New Living Translation). 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.
Parents must not abdicate child discipline.
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 never abdicate the discipline of their children to other persons. The consequences of such failure are serious on the child, the family, and society.
Parents must start child discipline early before it is too late. Yes, when there is still hope. “Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don’t, 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, “If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them” (New Living Translation).
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 happiness and peace of mind” (New Living Translation). The converse is also true: Don’t discipline your children and they will not give you happiness and peace of mind. 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 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 resurrected 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 the palm tree and grow like the 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 be prompt to discipline my children; I will never abdicate this responsibility to any other person. 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 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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