Monday, August 29, 2016

Proverbs 29:17-21 -- On Delicate Correction

"Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.
Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length."
Proverbs 29:17-21

Proverbs sometimes seems like a bunch of disparate thoughts thrown together, but as I was reading this today, these seemed to go together really well.  I like the themes of son / servant and words / correction.

The first verse asks us to correct our sons, the third tells us that words alone won't do the job (referring to servants), and the last says that servants become sons, if they are brought up and taught "delicately."  Those seem to be part of each other; I think saying that correction requires being careful and delicate--setting an example and living the law, not just preaching and talking the talk.  Also, that delicate correction can make servants into sons (which is kind of the gospel, right), and perhaps the opposite as well... that heavy-handed correction can turn sons into servants.

I think the vision / law verse is talking not only about prophecy and the structure of the gospel, but also about the correction that runs through the rest of the verses.  We have to have an idea of who we are and where we are going, but there also have to be consequences for sinning and mistreating others, because we need that kind of structure in our lives (so we can turn from servants to sons, metaphorically, right?).

The hasty part is also interesting, going along with the whole correction and law ideas, part of that structure that we need is internal structure--thinking before we speak, choosing the kind words to say (the whole delicate idea again), and this could apply metaphorically to the parent or the son or the servant.  We all need that structure in our lives, in our quest to become sons, and to raise sons.

Today, let's work on correcting not only in word but in deed.  Not only externally, but internally... not only others, but especially ourselves.  Let's work on being worthy to be grow up into God's family rather than just serving him.  Let's find vision, and happiness, in God.

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