17 The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
As this was written to Hebrews under the Law of Moses and that an uncorrectable son could be stoned to death this Proverb is quite understandable.
Deuteronomy 21:18 ¶ If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Under the dispensation of grace given to the Christian church which is not under the Law of Moses nor justified by it, we would spiritualize this as a rather extreme warning to young people not to disrespect their parents and expect to have anything good come of it. Christian children are told;
Ephesians 6:1 ¶ Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Christians are not under a national, theocratic legal system as the Hebrews were supposed to be. God was to be their king and these were the rules, both civil and religious for living. Many so called Christians in history have tried to claim that they were simply replacing the Hebrew theocracy and attempted to set up a church-state monstrosity in order to fulfill that twisted dream of replacing the Jews, only not with God as their head, but a king or a pope or even an emperor acting in God’s place. The Eastern Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine Empire, Russia under the Czars, England, and countries ruled by Roman Catholic kings and emperors all attempted to replace the Hebrew theocracy. Even the Puritans in Massachusetts lived under a combination of church and state as one. This is called Replacement Theology. It is my belief when Jesus talks about the “Synagogue of Satan” that’s what He is talking about. Replacement Theology has the Christian Church as the successor to the Hebrew Theocracy of the age of the kingdom ruled by David, Solomon, and their successors.
Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Christianity is different, though. It is the first religion where their god does not dwell in a temple of wood and stone but in their bodies. There were supposed to be no sacred spaces in Christianity outside of the believer’s heart. God dwells inside each believer. Many commentators have even shown how the tabernacle and the temple could be likened to the human body.
God’s rules are not our civil law. They will not be until He personally sits at the head of government during His millennial reign. In America, we are supposed to be living under a secular government, providing assurances that all religions can be practiced without fear or interference except in cases where individual’s rights to life, liberty, and the enjoyment of their personal rights are harmed by said practice. Many people seem to have forgotten this. Just as President Obama lamented how the liberal left had lost its Christian roots in his 2006 speech, “A Call to Renewal” so has the conservative right forgotten that the Founders of this country, even when they were devoutly religious personally, wanted a government that would ensure that all men could worship freely or not at all.
As Ben Franklin said, it was his wish that conditions were such that the Muslim Mufti of Constantinople could preach a sermon in the middle of Philadelphia if he so chose. James Madison, the often called Father of the Constitution, was even against paid chaplains in the military. He felt that religious organizations should provide their own lest their freedom to speak should be hindered by government controls, and this has happened.
But, back to the Proverb. We are not called to stone our unruly children, no matter how much some of you would appreciate the opportunity. These are some of our commands with regard to how we are to treat our children;
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
(Note: notice the parallel phrasing of these two verses on the same topic, showing by the use of the words how anger and wrath have similar meanings.)
If you are a Christian and you want to act as a Christian parent then I would suggest you begin by having daily devotions with your family, daily prayers and Bible reading. Take their concerns and prayers to heart and show them by example that a day of praising God and being thankful is a far better day than a day complaining about the boss, traffic, or your neighbors. Spend more time relating to them and in God’s word and less time watching the glass toilet or listening to whatever the latest trash Lady GooGoo is spewing and perhaps you won’t ever have to wish you could haul your son before the elders of the city, picking up a few good size rocks on the way.
Have you prayed with your children today? Have you read the Bible to them or with them?