Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
14 Punish them with the rod
and save them from death.
“Do not withhold discipline” implies that discipline is a necessity for the health of the child. To withhold discipline is to withhold care; it is to shirk one’s responsibility to provide for the welfare, in this case, of one’s child. To withhold discipline signals that the parent either does not truly care for the wellbeing of his child or that he is too fearful to carry through on what is right.
It is heartless not to let one’s child experience repercussion for his sin. It is cowardly to avoid setting and enforcing rules of behavior. No adult has ever thanked parents for failing to discipline or for not setting boundaries.
Parents can abuse and too often even good parents mishandle discipline. Thus, parents are to continually examine themselves. But they nevertheless cannot escape their responsibility before God. They must be the ones with an eye to the future, something their children cannot see.
And they must be willing to accept discipline themselves. Do they accept discipline from authorities – government, the workplace, the church? All who have some measure of authority have the same responsibility to exercise discipline. We are all willing, so we say, to accept the discipline of the Lord, but we rarely are willing to accept the Lord’s discipline that is meted out through his human instruments. If you expect your children to accept your discipline, let them see you model how that is done.
Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
2 Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
play the melodious harp and lyre.
3 Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;
4 this is a decree for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 When God went out against Egypt,
he established it as a statute for Joseph.
I heard an unknown voice say:
6 “I removed the burden from their shoulders;
their hands were set free from the basket.
7 In your distress you called and I rescued you,
I answered you out of a thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.[c]
8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!
9 You shall have no foreign god among you;
you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11 “But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices.
13 “If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”