Spare the Rod?

Blog #51 March 6, 2023

Proverbs 23:13-14
23:13 Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 
23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. 

How many times have you heard the words "spare the rod and spoil the child" attributed to the bible? I am sorry to say that I cannot find that catch phrase anywhere in Christian scriptures. The concept of corporal punishment, whether it is needed, whether it is even effective is nearly as old as the existence of parents and children, teachers and students. I am not much of an advocate of corporal punishment, but again as always I have to agree with God and concede that it is effective, up to a point.  

Genesis 6:57 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying, Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so, when they begin to grow up sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.

If there is any validity in the success of pain as a tool for instruction it is the very simplicity of the lesson offered. It is most effective when the lesson needs to be learned quickly and detailed communication is impossible. For instance, a three year old does not have the ability to understand why playing with an electrical socket, or darting out into a busy street might get them hurt. But, they do have the ability to grasp the concept that performing these dangerous acts can cause them pain to their backsides. As the child or student grows in the ability to understand, we should use that ability and strive to move away from pain based instruction but too many times we don't. We seem to be a society that uses fear to corral and contain our people. We seem to believe that we as a society are unable function peacefully unless we begin life by learning to fear our parents, live life as an adult realizing we need to fear every governmental agency that has the right to arrest and detain us, and end our life knowing we are about to meet a judgmental God we need to fear.

Psalms 89:32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.

Corporal punishment as method of instruction gives the student base-line knowledge i.e. this action results in pain, but it fails to open a path by which further growth can occur. This shortcoming creates a twofold problem. Either the student becomes withdrawn enough to refuse further growth, and they refuse to approach or go beyond those things known to cause them pain. Or, they will turn away way completely from what we are trying to teach them and refuse to grow any more because that might get them hurt. We see the same situation with new believers and the concept of God and Church.

DC 22:23a-23b 
22:23a And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying, The heavens, they are many and they can not be numbered unto man, but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine; and as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come;
22:23b and there is no end to my works, neither to my words; for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man.

In the churches of the world the concept of God and man together are both simple and straightforward. Humanity seems to be creatures bound to the ways of lust and pride that command their hearts. Without instruction, life would end forever at temporal death with no hope of eternity. God is our eternal Creator and Judge and in His wisdom He has created for those of us who wish to be His Children a means by which they can overcome the sin in their nature. Simply put, Jesus died for our sins. By accepting His sacrificial death as sufficient for the sins of our life we can be baptized in water and cleansed of our sins, receive God's Holy Spirit, and be saved. At the same time we will be a given a book that at first will focus on certain rituals and traditions that we must perform so we can prove to God and the world that we worship God. Again we see simplicity at its finest: fail to do these rituals, turn away from these traditions, God will judge you unworthy of His Kingdom and you have to spend eternity in a place of eternal torment. Sadly this describes the God brought to me as a child and a young man. Not a lot of comfort to be had, but take heart Brethren there is a better way, and it is given to us that we might share it with the world.  

Isaiah 7:14-15
7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
7:15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.

God here offers us another way that one might grow in the ways of the Kingdom. Most of us agree that this is a prophecy of Christ and the way He will grow in the word. By accepting Christ as our savior and striving for a unity of oneness with Him and His ideals we will be taught to learn and grow as Christ did. Notice, I said offered not mandated. We have to reach out to God, humble ourselves to the His ways, and allow our thoughts and even our hopes and our desires to change and grow. God will not force it on us. The scriptures reveal both how Jesus grew and who His teacher was. 

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up of the Spirit, into the wilderness, to be with God.

Luke 4:1 And Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was let by the Spirit into the wilderness.

You can see that it was the presence of the Spirit of God in Christ life that fostered His growth. Now you must ask yourself how Christ came to be in possession of this Spirit. As a child in a Jewish household, Jesus grew to know God through a life lived in and confined to the understandings offered through the Laws of Moses. The rigid discipline offered by this system sufficiently allows the Spirit of God to lead a child yet to have the depth of experience that allows them the authority to choose freely. But for a person aware enough to appreciate their relationship to others, the world around them, and the God they seek to serve, it is not. They see that a fellowship restricted by traditions and rituals is just that, restricted. It doesn't allow us to grow fully in God's ways. It is through the labor of Jesus our Christ and Savior that we were given a way by which we might receive a fullness of God's knowledge and His understanding.  

Mark 1:8 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him;

John 1:31 And John bare record, saying; When he was baptized of me, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

Rejoice when you realize that our unity of oneness with Christ begins at the beginning. He received the Spirit of God in the same exact way we do. 

Acts 2:38-39 
2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

This is one of God's most important promises. Consider just how it can affect your life to open your heart to the understanding of the true nature of God. Yes, He is the eternal judge of all righteousness, but He is first our loving Father. The way I approached a full understanding of all that is available here is this: If I die today and end up in Hell and eternal punishment, God didn't put me there. In fact I ended up there by ignoring and refusing all of the many ways God was using to teach me how to change and grow that I might come live with Him, forever.

Isaiah 7:14-15
7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
7:15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.

The butter and honey spoken of here is the word of God, the gathering of people fellowshipping in the unity of oneness, and the righteousness that grows in the hearts of those laboring for the Kingdom of God. Only fullness of this "butter and honey" and the understanding it offers has any hope of replacing the corruption in the heart of the natural man with the good things of God. 

2 Nephi 1:122-125
1:122 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments;
1:123 And be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit,
1:124 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein,
1:125 Which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

The goal of our labor in God is more than just changing the actions of people. Whether it is our children or the corrupt world around us, we seek to change the heart of the reprobate. We want them to choose of their own accord truth, humility, and righteousness. The rod applied to the backside teaches how to avoid pain, but goes no further. What then do we use to allow the reprobate a chance at repentance, redemption, and an eternity with the Father?

1 Nephi 3: 68 And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God;

The Rod of Iron applied to the heart teaches virtue, which inspires a person to grow and through virtue create righteousness within their heart and within their life. In that, the rod can surely open the reprobate mind to the virtue that can live within them, cause their hearts to grow with humility, righteousness, and purpose, and save them from hell.    

Proverbs 23:15-16
23:15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. 
23:16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

In this passage, God unveils for us the joy deep within our very being that is possible when we open the hearts of the corrupt and unknowing to the wisdom of God. 

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

This is as true for the parent, as it is for the minister, as it is for God. The righteous works of the student shows growth and pleases the teacher, but all know joy when the object of their righteous labor chooses to turn fully away from the ways of man and join them in God's labor. When they are freed from the bondage to discipline and memorized protocols, they begin to create righteousness within their own hearts. Then the teacher knows that the Spirit lives in their lives and will guide them to an eternity of purpose with the Father in Heaven. Such is the joy of a God-given victory. Such is the joy of the labor. Such is the way of the Kingdom. 

Look to the world and understand how needed is our labor. See how effectively the reprobate mind has made even the temporal life of the natural man a hellish self-destructive cage. Show me the scourge of wine in the days of Solomon, and I will show you an affluent society in bondage to legal drugs. With the onset of readily available addictive painkillers, the trials of this shadow society now affect my next-door neighbor. Show me the scourge of fornication that Solomon dealt with and I will answer with a people who seek to confuse and destroy the very concept of family. The world is so lost to the concept of God that they are reduced to depending on the legal system and the laws of man to save a concept of righteous unity that only God can repair. Our culture is convinced that the way to end debt is to borrow more money. We use the word friend to describe someone we have never talked to, hugged, or seen face to face, and we are proud of it. We extol and agree to be led by people who live their lives perfecting the ability to lie. We have repeatedly been given the truth, yet we deny its veracity and even its existence. But, we are not lost; God has the way. 
Matthew 11:29-30 
11:29 Then spake Jesus, saying, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
11:30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Brothers and sisters, as individuals or as a people gathered for the purpose of God we are to verify temporally the truth of this message. We are to be the temporal voice that shouts this message to the world. We labor with our temporal hands reaching out with comfort for those in need. We are the temporal feet that travel to them, and the temporal arms that lift them up from the depths of despair. Though our love for all is inspired and fuel by God’s Holy Spirit, its temporal nature is the key that will unlock the hearts of the world. Do we bring to the world a God to fear or do we offer them a place in a family with a Father who will love and protect them. Which would you rather have?

Walk to day with God in your heart.
Be lifted up.

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