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Blog - Proverbs 3:12

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Proverbs 3:12

"For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." (Pro 3:12)


One of the ways that God shows us that He loves us is by chastening and correcting us when we sin. If God loves you, He corrects you; therefore, if you receive God's correction, you know that He loves you. Just as an earthly father will not spank other parents' unruly children (though he may be tempted to), but only his own whom he loves, so God doesn't correct the spawn of Satan, but rather only His own children whom He loves. God doesn't love the wicked, as it is written, "thou hatest all workers of iniquity" (Psa 5:5), and therefore He doesn't chasten them as a father chastens his children. The purpose of God's chastening of His children is for correction. To correct is "to set right, amend (a person); to cure of an error or fault; to admonish or rebuke, or to point out the errors or faults of, in order to amendment; to punish for faults of character or conduct (properly, in order to amendment); to chastise, chasten" (OED). The Lord may punish worldly men or even kill them for their wickedness, but He doesn't do so for correction as He does for his children. Paul expounded on this principle in the book of Hebrews.

Heb 12:6-11 - For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Those who are not chastened and corrected by the Lord are bastards, not sons. Korah, who was an unregenerate rebel (Jud 1:11-13), was punished by God, but not corrected in a fatherly way when "the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation" (Num 16:32-33). When the wicked are consigned to hell at death and to the lake of fire after the resurrection, they "go away into everlasting punishment" (Mat 25:46), and "shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev 20:10). They are not going there for correction from a loving God, but for "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" (2Th 1:9) and to "drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and [they] shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb" (Rev 14:10). Better to chastened in this life by a loving Father than to be tormented for all eternity by an angry Judge.

Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. God corrects His children even as (just as) an earthly father corrects his son whom he loves. An earthly father who loves his son will not "spareth his rod", but will "chasteneth him betimes" (Pro 13:24). Betimes is "at an early time, period, or season; early in the year; early in life" (OED). Therefore, God corrects His children early and "in measure", not leaving them "altogether unpunished", but also not making "a full end" of them (Jer 30:11). A father chastens his son while there is hope and will not "spare for his crying" (Pro 19:18). Just as a good father will not end the punishment when the first tear drops, so God will not end His chastisement as soon as the pain is first felt, but will continue it until the lesson is learned. When a child whose father loves him rebels, he will "beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell" (Pro 23:14). Our heavenly Father will likewise lay stripes on His children to deliver them from the hell on earth that awaits them if they continue in their sins.

May God be praised that He, just as a good earthly father, chastens and lovingly corrects us to mold us into the obedient and godly children that He would have us to be.


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For the previous blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 3:11.
For the next blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 3:13.

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