by Dr. Rene F. Brown
The other day I was having lunch with several friends, and we invited a lady to join our table as they were discussing politics, religion, and solutions to America’s problems. I found it interesting that in all of their discussion they were not able to apply biblical solutions to the discussion. I chose to remain silent throughout their dialogue because I wanted to see what many people think about issues that I learned early on should not be talked about in public, namely religion and politics. On several occasions, they talked about what fathers and mothers are not doing and what schools need to do, what is wrong with the government, etc. With June being the month of Father’s day, I thought I would share in the words of what my former pastor, Dr. W. L. Templeton, calls “scattering remarks.”
My father has always been and still is my greatest hero. So many of the values he instilled in me are the things I cherish the most. Although he suffers from Alzheimer’s now, I remember many of the talks we had as we worked side by side. I also remember the discipline I received from him growing up. I didn’t like discipline then, and I don’t care for it now. However, I remember on one particular occasion I had to go to the doctor. I have always been afraid of doctors, needles and shots. Whenever I had to go to the doctor I would really act up and so my mother would have my father take me.
On this particular occasion, the doctor was going to give me a tetanus shot because I had stepped on a nail. My father said, “Don’t look at the doctor, look at me.” He said this several times and with a stern sort of confidence, so I felt it was in my best interest to do what my father said. After all, I had experience with the kind of pain he could inflict if you disobeyed him. The doctor was the one who was going to inflict pain, but if I stayed focused on the one who loved me and could ease my pain it would make the shot easier to take. When people or life causes us pain, if we could somehow stay focused on the heavenly father, the one who loves us and can ease the pain, things would be easier for us. Let us examine God’s word to help us expound upon the subject of a Father’s discipline and his unfailing love.
Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Deuteronomy 8:4 says, “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. Job 5:17 says, “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”
In Hebrews 12:4-11 it is written, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
God disciplines us because we have rebelled and need to repent, to keep us from sinning, and to prepare us for blessings. It is through discipline that we are able to mature in Godly character. No matter how much it hurts, discipline doesn’t harm us, but instead makes us stronger, giving us wisdom through learned experiences.
The proverbial writer further explains the importance of discipline in our lives. Proverbs 22:15 tells us, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 23:13-14, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” And lastly, Proverbs 29:15 explains, “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”
Looking back over my life, I could never put a price tag on the things that J. C. Brown Sr. taught me. Oh how I long to draw words of wisdom from him now, but that is difficult. However, I can always draw wisdom from the word of God. Often times we know the price of everything but don’t know the value of anything. It took me a long time to understand the value of the word of God in a person’s life. The first 25 years of my life were spent trying to please my earthly father. It was not until I got into the word of God that I realized how much more valuable it was to please my heavenly father.
If God’s people would come back to him and seek his guidance many of our problems would be solved. We receive God’s guidance by first learning God’s truth, which is revealed in his word. And it is through his word that we gain the ultimate key to wisdom. Thus, I will close with the words of Proverbs 3:1-4, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”