ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE PSALM 23 ADVENTURE, Part 36
April 6, 2017
Uncle Roy Archer was a shepherd in the truest sense of the word. Many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit his ranch and see a modern-day shepherd at work. You all probably understand that there is a huge difference between a shepherd and a sheep-herder. A shepherd leads his sheep. A sheep-herder drives his sheep, often using a sheep dog. What I saw and what I learned watching Uncle Roy is germane to where we will be going during the next few weeks.
Once again, here is the complete statement David makes as he describes our walk in the Paths of Righteousness through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou Art With Me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
When folks think of the “rod,” they associate it with the shepherd’s staff and make the two synonymous with each other. They are not. There’s a cliché that has been around for who knows how long that goes like this: “spare the rod and spoil the child.” I’ve even heard folks quote this as though this were a verse of Scripture. It is not! There IS a principle, however, embodied in this statement that does come from the Word. Take a look at a couple of statements from the proverbs of Solomon.
Proverbs 10:13-14: In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
Proverbs 13:24: He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Here is the statement where folks get their cliché.
Proverbs 22:15: Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
And finally, one more from the Proverbs before we change the theme.
Proverbs 29:15: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Before we move on to what I consider to be the most important aspect of the rod in God’s economy, let me refer you to these scriptures we’ve just looked at and share a recent story with you.
Most folks see these verses and immediately think of the rod as a symbol of punishment. There are those in our society today who see a father spanking his son or daughter and immediately jump to the conclusion that they are guilty of child abuse. Many of you will remember the book published initially in 1946 by Dr. Benjamin Spock in which he admonishes parents against the use of spankings and instead says, “talk to your children. Don’t spank them. That’s abusive.”
Let’s see … I think the title of that book was, How to Raise Children for Fun and Profit. (smile) Not really, but it might as well have been. The title of his book was actually, Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. In fact, Dr. Spock probably did more with his book to destroy our nation’s understanding of biblical child care and educate a new generation of families who didn’t really know how to raise children.
And indeed, that mindset and philosophy has become the political correctness of this generation. It is the reason why we have such open rebellion, disobedience and disdain for authority in our society today.
It has become so integrated into modern thinking that school teachers even tell their students that their parents do not have the right to administer spankings and that they as children have a right to call the authorities and accuse their parents of child abuse. The Enemy has so instilled this kind of thinking into our society that we have preachers teaching that “God is a loving God; He would never allow harm to come to you, and He would never permit events in your life of a hurtful nature.” This teaching is a perversion of the truth because it leaves out the element of discipline.
The result is that when many would-be Christians experience the correction of the Lord, they rebel against it and some even turn away from the Lord because they do not understand the significance of His love. Consider this amplified version of Proverbs 13:24.
He who refrains and restrains himself from the use of the rod for correction is the enemy of his son, (and treats his son as his enemy), but the father who loves and cherishes his son will discipline him, instruct, rebuke and chastise him quickly. (Proverbs 13:24, RAC Translation and Amplification)
Real love is at the root of true discipline. When a person receives discipline and instruction in love, it creates a wall of authority around them. There is a sense of safety and protection that nothing else can bring.
Walking in the Paths of Righteousness, the Lord was leading us and directing our footsteps because his very nature, authority, personality and character were at stake in us. His discipline in our lives was critical to that development. It is also what has generated the sense of safety and protection needed for our confidence in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
I need to share a couple of quick stories with you to illustrate what I’m talking about.
When our daughter, Danielle, was in the ninth grade, she had a sociology class with a teacher who spouted the Dr. Spock insanity. Because of the “liberal” mindset, this teacher also told her students that they were entitled to call the police if their parents spanked them.
Danielle could be pretty mouthy as a teenager, and there were times when she would get on her high horse and try to ignore our instructions or requirements. There came a day when she had been instructed to get certain tasks completed before she left for school. She did not do them and ran out the door to get to school before we realized that she had left her tasks undone. When she came home from school, I let her know that she was going to get a spanking — her age notwithstanding.
“You don’t have the right to spank me,” she smarted off. “If you try, I will call the police.”
I laughed and said, “Sweetheart, we’ll take care of that right now.” I picked up the phone and made a call to the police department. We knew the police officer who patrolled our residential area, and sure enough, the dispatcher sent him to our house. When he arrived, Danielle and I were both standing at the front door, waiting.
I explained the situation to him. Danielle, of course, tried to explain to him that it was against the law for me to spank her.
The officer looked at her, then he looked at me and said, “Would you like me to hold her while you give her a spanking?” The shocked look on Danielle’s face made us both laugh. It was absolutely classic! The officer went on to explain to Danielle that there is a huge difference between the discipline of spanking, and child abuse, and that she needed to listen and obey when she was given instructions.
He held her arms while I gave her a couple of swats on her rear end and that was that! It ended, once and for all, Danielle’s belief that she could do as she wanted, without any threat of spanking. It also produced a change in her mindset that matured as she got older, married and had children of her own.
Today, Danielle is probably one of the most disciplined of all of our children, and her two sons are mirror images. Anthony (Junior) is in law school (hmmm...I wonder how that happened!), and Joseph is an artisan in marble and granite.
The degree of discipline that was necessary for Danielle also produced an ongoing level of relationship in which she is closer and more communicative with us than all of the rest of our children. There’s not a week that goes by when she doesn’t call just to see how we are doing.
David goes on to use the following Word from the Lord to demonstrate that the lovingkindness of the Lord is always the overriding element in any discipline or correction.
Psalm 89: 2-3: Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
One more of these examples is much more current. Everyone knows that we are raising four of our grandchildren. Alden is the oldest at age nine. Because of all the lack of discipline he has had in the past, he has also been one of the most difficult to deal with. We have had to pray with him constantly for deliverance from issues stemming from the past years. Alden has also been the one who has received the most spankings.
The other day I had to give him a good spanking because of issues with stubbornness. About an hour later, he came to me and said, “Grandpa, I love you.” The more discipline that he receives, the greater the degree of closeness and affection we are seeing. Each night, when the children are put to bed and we pray with them, one of the things that I pray over them is that they will have dreams, visions and visitations from the Lord. We’ve already shared with you Jasmine’s visitations with Jesus.
To preface what I’m about to share, we have had a wonderful friend in the form of Jim Christianson. Jim was a retired trial attorney from California who had to give up his practice because of multiple brown recluse spider bites that went undiagnosed for too long before the doctors realized what had happened. He ultimately lost his legs through multiple amputations along with his left eye. We have had him in our fellowship – and really a part of our family – for more than four years. The four grandchildren had become very close to him. Last Friday night, he went home to be with the Lord.
This morning, sitting at the breakfast table, Alden said to me, “Grandpa, I dreamed last night that I went to Heaven.” I said, “Alden, that’s wonderful! Did you see Jesus?” “Yes, and Jim was with him. He was standing up next to Jesus and he had his legs and he looked real good. I asked him why he didn’t come back to earth and he said, ‘Because I’m very happy here — and besides, I don’t want to lose my legs again.” It was a bit humorous, but for Alden, it was very real and very important. He then proceeded to tell me that Jim took him to see his new house, and that it was very big and beautiful. I asked him if it was like a mansion, and he nodded his head.
“Then I got to walk on streets with Jesus that were like diamonds. They were so bright I couldn’t look at them.”
He then expressed disappointment because “Grandma woke me up to give me colloidal silver.” He went back to sleep and immediately dreamed that he was in Heaven with Jesus. “Jesus showed me Bethlehem, where He was born.”
I’ve given you the somewhat abbreviated version, but I wanted to share these things with you to make the continuing point that discipline produces real fruit in our lives. There are many other examples that could be shared, but you get the picture. The objective of the rod of discipline is to produce the fruit of righteousness. When that same discipline is administered in love, it produces a bond of love, and it also produces a sense of safety and peace.
For Alden, it has been producing significant change. Because the discipline is being administered with the understanding that the objective is for us to be like Jesus and to develop His character and nature in us, Alden is desiring more and more to know Him. The back-to-back dreams last night are some of the evidence of the development taking place in him.
I’ve made these points because the Paths of Righteousness (that we walk in as we follow the Lord) also bring the discipline necessary that produces the knowledge of absolute safety and protection. The Rod of Discipline comforts us and develops a wall of authority around us that the Enemy cannot penetrate. We get to know and understand that the Lord sets these boundaries for us in order to keep us from getting ourselves into situations where the Enemy’s purpose is to bring destruction and death. The Rod of Discipline is for our protection against evil.
There is another, totally different, aspect of the Rod that comforts us and brings us peace as we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. That’s where we will pick up this discussion next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
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