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The chastening of the Lord. What is it?

Seeing that our example of parenting is God our Father, let’s examine how God nurtures us his children. Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 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.

The writer of the book of Hebrews takes his quote from the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: Vs 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

It’s important to note that the word ‘scourge’ used in the Hebrews 12:6 text does not appear in the Proverbs 3 text from which it is quoted. It’s a word that implies to flog and to inflict physical pain on another and commonly used in punishment of perceived crime in societies (Matthew 10:17; Matthew 23:34; Mark 10:34; Acts 22:25).

Seeing however that the word ‘scourge’ is mentioned once in the Hebrew text, hence not the emphasis, and is not present in the Proverbs text from which it was quoted, it appears to have been wrongly imputed by the translators. The key word in the text therefore is ‘chasten’ which means to correct by instruction, by teaching.

It is consistent with the character of God to speak to his children and not to inflict pain on them. God corrects his children by instructions delivered by speaking.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

The chastening of the Lord is based on the love of God and it is to train by instructions, not to mete out punishment. Hebrews 12:9 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.

The writer of the book of Hebrews parallels the way natural fathers correct and how God our Father does. While the natural father corrects for his own pleasure, wanting his children to revere him, the correction of God our Father is for our own profit. Seeing therefore that in raising a godly home, parenting must mirror how God our Father relates with us his children in Love, parents are to correct by the spirit of God walking in the spirit and walking in Love.

This is because conflicts can sometimes occur between parents and their children. Parents must expect their children to be exuberant, play pranks.

Christian parents should allow their children make their choices as they grow older as they are unique individuals in and by themselves. The role of the parent is to guide their choices by way of counsel rather than imposing their own choices on them. Believing parents must be careful not to paint God in a bad light to their children.

Key Note: For believing couples, parenting should mirror how God our Father 'fathers' us. Hence, as the Father’s nurturing and chastening is via words, instructions, and not inflicting pain or oppressing us, godly parents should do the same.

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