“Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”
It is the responsibility of parents to teach, correct, and reprove their children. Parents are to set standards, and when children disobey, it is the responsibility of parents to apply appropriate discipline. It is a core truth in all forms of leadership: If you permit it, you promote it.
In this proverb Solomon states an uncomfortable truth: To fail to discipline is to fail to parent. Solomon says that to fail to discipline is like putting a death sentence on your child. Overly dramatic? Maybe, but the point is that ignoring, making excuses, and enabling your child’s bad behavior has a crippling effect on the child.
The primary reason parents fail to punish their children is not because they don’t want their children to be uncomfortable, but because the parents don’t want to be uncomfortable. The goal of parenting is not to prepare the road for the child; it is to prepare the child for the road.
“A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.”
This proverb makes an observation about people who are perpetually and habitually angry. These people contain the seeds of their own punishment. Because they are always angry, people don’t want to be around them. The observation is actually addressed not to people who cannot control their anger, but to those who try to help them get out of the problems their anger creates. It is a reminder that because the problem is habitual, we should not try to rescue such people. Like the fool who does not deserve a response (26:4), the perpetually angry person should be left alone.
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
The Lord designed us to think, plan, and act. However, he calls us to think, plan, and act in alignment with his standards and principles. Our plans and projects should be guided by the wisdom of the kingdom of God.
The more I read scripture, the more it becomes evident that God calls us to be thinkers and planners. I do not believe this proverb speaks primarily to “seeking the will of God” as part of our thinking and planning process. Many Christians act as if God’s purpose is hidden. They behave as if God’s will is a secret that can only be discovered by some super-spiritual process of interpreting signs and signals.
But God’s will is not hidden. It is not a secret. Scripture is crystal clear that God’s will is that you be ...
- Saved (1 Timothy 2.3; 1 John 2.40)
- Spirit-filled (Ephesians 5.15-18)
- Sanctified (1 Thessalonians 4.3)
- Submissive (James 4.7; Ephesians 5.21)
- Willing to suffer (1 Peter 3.17; 4.19)
- Saying thanks (1 Thessalonians 5.18)
Read each of the verses referenced in the above list, and you will see that we are told explicitly that these six things are God’s will for us. With that understanding, go ahead and set your goals, make your plans, and take action. Just make sure that what you do, why you do it, and how you do it aligns with God’s purpose and principles laid out in Scripture.
Or to put it very simply, trust God and do the work.