The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life
Proverbs 25:11-20 Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise reprover to a listening ear. Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest Is a faithful messenger to those who send him, For he refreshes the soul of his masters. Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely. By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, And a soft tongue breaks the bone. Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it. Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house, Or he will become weary of you and hate you. Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor. Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble. Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.
In the group study, Growing Kids God's Way, which many of us are currently taking, or have taken in the past, you will find a plethora of comprehensive lessons regarding the responsibility of parents to discipline their children in accordance with God's standard, His Word. You will find much practical application for a variety of circumstances you may find yourselves in as a parent. One of the foundational principles taught in the course is the idea of childish behavior, versus foolish behavior. In a nutshell, childish behavior involves behavior which stems from a child's inherent makeup, which in its proper context, isn't necessarily sinful. For example, children generally love to run, everywhere. An example of childishness could be a child running through our very Spartan sanctuary bumping into unsuspecting mothers holding babies, or being trodden underfoot by the men attempting to set up or tear down the sound equipment and chairs. Foolish behavior in a child is that which contains an element of rebellion to authority within it. An example of this might be a child who, after being told to not run in a certain context, continues to do so. Childishness morphs into foolishness. Quickly.
The Proverb today, 25:11,12 says "Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise reprover to a listening ear."
Matthew Henry has this to say of this Proverb:
Solomon here shows how much it becomes a man, 1. To speak pertinently (relevant and on-point): A word upon the wheels, that runs well, is well-circumstanced, in proper time and place—instruction, advice, or comfort, given seasonably, and in apt expressions, adapted to the case of the person spoken to and agreeing with the character of the person speaking—is like golden balls resembling apples, or like true apples of a golden colour (golden rennets), or perhaps gilded, as sometimes we have gilded laurels, and those embossed in pictures of silver, or rather brought to table in a silver network basket, or in a silver box of that which we call filigree —work, through which the golden apples might be seen. Doubtless in was some ornament of the table, then well known. As that was very pleasing to the eye, so is a word fitly spoken to the ear. Especially to give a reproof with discretion, and so as to make it acceptable. If it be well given, by a wise reprover, and well taken, by an obedient ear, it is an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, very graceful and well becoming both the reprover and the reproved; both will have their praise, the reprover for giving it so prudently and the reproved for taking it so patiently and making a good use of it. Others will commend them both, and they will have satisfaction in each other; he who gave the reproof is pleased that it had the desired effect, and he to whom it was given has reason to be thankful for it as a kindness. That is well given, we say, that is well taken; yet it does not always prove that that is well taken which is well given. It were to be wished that a wise reprover should always meet with an obedient ear, but often it is not so.
Do we believe this? Do we believe that a timely, well spoken word of rebuke is to be received as a kindness? If so, please hear me this morning.
Fathers, many of us have sons and daughters who have fallen into a pattern of unruliness within the sanctuary on Sunday mornings both before and after church which has morphed from childishness to foolishness. I have personally witnessed mothers in the church correct the raucous behavior, and have done so myself, only to see the children resume the unruliness mere moments later. Worse, I have watched as children receive correction from folks in the church, only to see the child grumble, or have a mild temper tantrum in response.
The thoughtless behavior is not limited only to the younger children, but also manifests itself in the older young men, particularly the preteens, who seem unable to stay gainfully employed about their fathers business, but instead linger around as if they have never been instructed on what young men of their age ought be doing on a Sunday morning.
Now, right now you are probably wondering, "Is this my little Timmy? Could he possibly be referring to my little precious?" "Well, what about his sons, I have seen them do this or that?". Maybe you are even tempted to come ask me for names after church.
Fathers, my response to all wondering such as this is: I am not above this rebuke, and like me, it is your job to know the state of your children and to discipline them. One does not have to look very far or very hard to see some of what I have laid out this morning. It is your job to instruct your children on how to conduct themselves in church, interact with adults in authority, and to know what God's expectations for them are as covenant children. If you are waiting until after the church potluck, after you have heard one too many complaints, or after someone gets hurt: you are doing it wrong.
4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, ESV)
Fathers, you must discipline your children. The rod of correction drives foolishness out of the heart of a child, and when you beat them they will not die. Disciplining your sons and daughters is in fact the most loving thing you can do, because just as our Heavenly Father disciplines the son whom He loves, we are to do the same, otherwise your sons are illegitimate.
At this time, if you are able, please join me in kneeling as we confess our sins to our Holy, Holy, Holy Triune God.
We are eternally grateful for the patience and longsuffering You display to us sinners.
We are thankful for all of the rebukes and corrections You give us through the preaching of Your Word, even though at the time they may have been painful.
We are indebted to You for the wrath You poured out upon Your Son for our sins, giving us a clear picture of the seriousness of our rebellion.
Father, please forgive us for our neglect of our children's discipline. Please forgive us for our sluggishness in the correction of our children's childishness and foolishness.
Father, help us to love our children in such a way that they are a joy and blessing to be around, rather than a curse.
In Jesus Name we pray, amen.
Please join me in standing and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:
Zephaniah 3:14-17 Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more. In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. “The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 11/29/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)