Text: Hebrews 12:4-13
I. It appears that at least some people realize that modern child-rearing philosophies don’t work. From our website people are continually looking for answers to questions, such as
A. What kind of consequence or punishment should you give a child who lies, steals, is rebellious, is disobedient, is using drugs, or is having sex?
B. What is the proper amount of punishment for a particular situation?
C. When is a child too old to spank? Should a teenager be spanked?
D. Is spanking legal? How do you properly spank?
E. The Bible makes a parallel between a father punishing his child and God disciplining us - Hebrews 12:4-13
F. Parents can learn much in handling difficult situations by seeing how God dealt with similar situations.
II. The goal of punishment
A. To bring about a change in behavior
1. A foolish son is a source of grief - Proverbs 10:1; 17:21, 25
2. A child left to himself brings shame - Proverbs 29:15
3. He is a destructive force in a family - Proverbs 19:13
4. Reproof is a way of life - Proverbs 6:23
5. Correct and he will give you rest - Proverbs 29:17
B. Change is preceded by sorrow
1. Some parents avoid hurting a child’s feelings
a. Do not withhold correction - Proverbs 23:13-14
b. Withholding is a sign of hatred, because it means you don’t care - Proverbs 13:24
c. Equivalent to an illegitimate child - Hebrews 12:8
d. Love for the person is the motivation - Revelation 3:19
e. II Corinthians 7:8-11 - Sorrow needed to motivate change
C. Acknowledgment of wrong
1. Confession is part of the healing process - James 5:16
III. Types of punishment
1. Most people vent their frustrations at another and call this a rebuke, but this is not the correct usage - Leviticus 19:17
2. Rebukes are scoldings or warnings geared to improve a person - Colossians 1:28-29
3. The words can be stinging (i.e. hurt the person’s feelings) - Titus 1:13
4. Rebukes not only help the person being scolded, those who overhear also learn - I Timothy 5:20
5. It may hurt to hear, but later the one rebuke will admit that it was what he needed to hear - Proverbs 28:23
6. It is effective, but only if the person is willing to listen - Proverbs 17:10
7. It improves the person - Proverbs 25:11-12
B. Spanking (Rod)
1. God punishes with rod and stripes (i.e. painful experience) - Psalm 89:30-34
2. Chastening can be painful - Hebrews 12:11
3. To drive out foolishness - Proverbs 22:15
4. For those who don’t think - Proverbs 10:13
5. Instills respect - Hebrews 12:7
6. Properly administered spankings won’t cause permanent harm - Proverbs 23:13-14
7. Needs to be combined with rebuke - Proverbs 29:15
a. Rebukes give the reason why. Spanking gives a consequence.
C. Confiscation of goods or removal of privileges
1. In list - Ezra 7:26
2. God used this to take away Israel’s wealth that they were spending on false gods - Jeremiah 5:7-9
a. The idols were destroyed and Israel’s wealth was carted away
3. Effective if item used to commit the “crime” is removed.
a. For example, if a son takes the family car and stays too late, it is appropriate to remove driving privileges
b. If a teen is involved in drugs, they shouldn’t have access to things that make gaining drugs easier, such as a cell phone.
4. Also effective to establish what is necessary verses luxury
1. Used for crimes that cause monetary harm to others - Exodus 22:4-6
2. Repayment should be more than what was stolen or damaged
3. Use for stealing, property damage, damage due to neglect or carelessness.
a. A form of repayment is to do work to repay the debt, especially if no monetary means of repayment is available - Exodus 22:1-3
b. Israel used temporary slavery to handle bad debts. As Israelite gave up to six years of service - Exodus 21:2
c. God used it for Israel’s sins when He sent them into captivity - Isaiah 50:1
(1) 70 years for each Sabbath year not kept - II Chronicles 36:20-21
d. Note that work doesn’t have to be given to the one whom the debt is owed.
(1) Hence, “community service” can be an appropriate punishment
1. This is not often thought of, but it is every effective, especially with teenagers who are easily embarrassed
2. God used shame to correct Israel
a. Exposure of sins (nakedness) - Isaiah 47:3; Jeremiah 13:26-27; Nahum 3:5-6
b. Shame not easily forgotten - Jeremiah 23:40
3. Daniel confessed that Israel’s shame was due to their sins - Daniel 9:7-8
1. In list - Ezra 7:26
2. Popular today – usually called “time out,” sending a child to his room, or grounding a child.
3. Example: God having Israel wander in the wilderness for 40 years - Numbers 14:33
4. Effective on a social child or a child who sought trouble to gain attention.
5. Also delay receiving what is desired.
a. A child violates curfew to be with friends, then grounding for a period of time not only takes away freedom, but also access to the cause of the problem.
1. In list - Ezra 7:26
2. It is a rejection of misbehavior - Proverbs 14:32
3. This is what the church uses when withdrawing from wayward members - I Corinthians 5:13
4. Necessary when a child’s actions can cause harm to the rest of the family, either by violence or by younger children learning from the wayward child.
a. A teen goes off to college and moves in with her boyfriend. The response is a complete cutting off of all funding. If they want to be independent of parents rules, they are independent of parent’s support.
1. The punishment of David for his sin with Bathsheba
a. Rebuke - “You are the man!” - II Samuel 12:7-8
b. Rod - “The sword shall never depart” - II Samuel 12:9-10
(1) Note paring with the sin of having Uriah killed with a sword
c. Shame - “I will take your wives before your eyes” - II Samuel 12:11-12
(1) A secret sin is made open
d. Confiscation - Death of the child - II Samuel 12:14
(1) No benefits from the sin
IV. Applying punishment
1. More pleasant to be punished by the righteous - Psalm 141:5
2. Not in anger, but justly - Jeremiah 10:24
a. Where God does not sin, man makes mistakes in anger - James 1:19-20
b. Fear that in anger, punishment might be over applied
c. God’s punishment is always just - Nehemiah 9:33
3. Sins not overlooked - Jeremiah 30:11
4. Adjusted to what was done
a. Repay - Isaiah 65:6
5. But probably less than what is deserved - Ezra 9:13
1. God punishes all sins - Amos 3:2
2. It doesn’t matter who sinned - Romans 2:8-9
3. It doesn’t matter how long - Exodus 34:7
4. This is a mistake many parents make
a. If one or two corrections doesn’t end the misdeed, it “obviously” doesn’t work, so they search for something different instead of deciding whether what is done is just or fair or a proper deterrent
(1) For some children, they will always push the limits.
(2) They have a hard time restricting their own behavior, but they draw comfort from a limit being there.
b. Worse are those who punish only when convenient.
c. Punishing only when sufficiently angry or frustrated
(1) Many children know exactly when the limit is. They continue their behavior until they see the limit is nearing.
1. Proverbs 13:24 - Love means prompt punishment
2. Ezra 7:26 - Speedy punishment
3. Discipline while there is hope - Proverbs 19:18
a. There is a limited window of opportunity
b. Wait too long and punishment is not connected with crime
c. Wait too long and period of enjoyment that might be considered worth having even if punishment later comes
d. Wait too long and becomes harden to sin
e. Wait too long and no longer trainable
1. Throughout we have been noting how the punishment is matched to the crime
2. It helps in remembering the misdeed is wrong
E. Giving choice - I Chronicles 21:11-14
1. Notice severity is balanced by time
V. Response to punishment
1. Fool despises, wise accepts - Proverbs 15:5; 12:1; 13:1
2. He does want correction - Proverbs 15:12
3. He doesn’t want advise - Proverbs 1:30
4. Goes astray when instruction is rejected - Proverbs 10:17; 19:27
5. Rejection of instruction brings ruin - Proverbs 5:12-13
B. Second thoughts
1. Careful, but not necessarily learn - Proverbs 19:25
2. Even while rejected, there will still be some learning - Proverbs 21:11
1. Proverbs 9:9 - The wise learns, even from punishment
2. Proverbs 5:31 - Will become wise
3. They understand it is to their benefit - Proverbs 27:5-6
4. It is precious to him - Proverbs 25:12