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Blog - Proverbs 3:11

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Proverbs 3:11

"My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:" (Pro 3:11)


Chastening is not a joyous, but a grievous experience (Heb 12:11). Chastening is "disciplinary punishment, chastisement, correction" (OED). Punishment is painful and therefore has the tendency to provoke resentment rather than appreciation from the receiver. Thus the reason that Solomon instructs us to not despise the chastening of the LORD. To despise is "to look down upon; to view with contempt; to think scornfully or slightingly of" (OED). Just as a child whose father punishes him for his disobedience will often view that correction with contempt and scorn while his behind is stinging, so God's children likewise look with disdain upon His discipline while they are suffering it. When the child later understands that the chastening of his father was for his profit (Heb 12:10), not his destruction, he then gives his father reverence (Heb 12:9). So it should be with Christians and their Heavenly Father. They must realize that God chastens them because He loves them, "for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" (Heb 12:6). Jesus warned the church at Laodicea that "as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Rev 3:19). If you "endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Heb 12:7). A child is not a son, but a bastard, if his father chastens him not (Heb 12:8); therefore, enduring chastisement from God is evidence that one is a child of God.

Though God's correction is not pleasant at the time, it yields "the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb 12:11). And herein is the reason to not despise the chastening of the LORD, for it is for our happiness, not our hurt; it's a sign that God loves us, not loathes us; it yields a life of righteousness, not reproach. So the next time you are being chastened by God for your sin or foolish decisions, thank God for the rod.

Job 5:17 - Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

What form does God's rod take? The LORD has sundry and divers methods to punish his disobedient people. God chastened Israel by making them wander in the wilderness for 40 years for their unbelief and rebellion. While in the wilderness, the LORD let them suffer hunger to prove their faithfulness.

Deut 8:2-5 - And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. 5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

Men are God's hands (Psa 17:14), and sometimes He uses rods in their hands to lay stripes upon His children who are in need of it. In the Davidic covenant, God promised to punish Solomon thusly if he committed iniquity, which promise was also a prophecy of the sufferings of Christ for the sins of the elect which He bore.

2Sa 7:14 - I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

Jesus Christ was "stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted" (Isa 53:4) and it "pleased the LORD to bruise him" (Isa 53:10). It was God the Father who laid those stripes on Christ through a scourge in the hands of men (Luk 22:63-64; Joh 19:1-3).

God also chastens His children by allowing them to reap what they have sown (Gal 6:7) and by letting them "eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices" (Pro 1:31). This can be in the form of poverty coming to the sluggard (Pro 6:9-11) or alimony and STDs to the adulterer (Pro 5:10-11). The more grievous the sin, the more severe the punishment. If we are often reproved by the Almighty and we harden our necks, we can expect destruction without remedy (Pro 29:1).

Understanding that God's chastisement is for our good, we should not "be weary of his correction", nor try to avoid it when it is deserved, but should rather pray as Jeremiah did that God will "correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing" (Jer 10:24). We can embrace God's correction while at the same time seeking mercy, as did the prophet Habakkuk who besought God to, "in wrath remember mercy" (Hab 3:2) and as David who pleaded with our heavenly Father to "rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure" (Psa 38:1).

Though painful, God's chastening is ultimately for our good, for "when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (1Co 11:32). But, even though the correction of the LORD is for our good, it is still painful and can be justly avoided if we judge ourselves, "for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" (1Co 11:31).


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For the previous blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 3:10.
For the next blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 3:12 (coming soon).

For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.