12 ¶ Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. 13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. 15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. 16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
Matthew Henry takes these verses together and with good effect. He points out how in the first part we have a parent instructing his child, then a parent correcting his child, and thirdly, a parent encouraging his child. This was written under the Law given to Moses to the Hebrews by a wise king to his own son. We, as Christians must temper it with verses written specifically to us Christians.
First, with regard to instruction and correction.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Your child, first and foremost, from an early age, needs to have a strong daily dose of God’s word placed in their hearts, in their minds, and on their lips for instruction and correction. The rod of correction won’t hurt him or her if done in a loving manner and not in anger but the Bible is the key to instruction and correction.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Admonition is, in the sense given in the next verse, is something you learn from.
1Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
An ensample is to learn from while an example is to follow or is a type of something. Small distinction but important. Are you an ensample and an example to your child? I will say again, look at your child, imagine what kind of person you want him or her to be, then you be that person.
Christians are to raise up their children in the Lord’s nurture and admonition, in His instruction and correction, not your opinion or how you were raised as being the standard but by the words of God in this Book. What does God say is right or wrong, good or evil, not your Dad, Mom, or grandparents. It is what God holds as important, not your mentor or boss, that you should impart to your children, and certainly not what pop music, movies, or TV holds as valuable.
This group of verses make it clear that the parent who doesn’t correct his child doesn’t care for their salvation. It also points out how glad a parent is when their child does right. Just imagine the joy a parent feels when a child chooses wisdom and righteousness and speaks the same, and secondly, just imagine the joy and gladness a parent feels when, having done wrong, the child turns to do right. Can you not imagine God’s joy when we trust in Christ or when a Christian turns from sin?
Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.