Discipline in Family Life

MEMORY SELECTION: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: II Samuel 14:21-28; I Kings 1:5, 6

OUR lesson implies that it was because of David’s slackness in the way he raised his children that they were so unruly when they grew to manhood. We certainly agree that they were lawless and unmanageable, but the scriptural reason is that this was part of the punishment the Lord meted out to David because of his terrible transgression with Bathsheba. In II Samuel 12:11 we read: “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house.” This sentence was fulfilled in the agony brought on David by Amnon’s scandalous behavior with his half-sister, Tamar, and his consequent murder by his brother, Absalom. Absalom escaped to a foreign land and after three years returned. Then Absalom conducted a deliberate attempt to win the hearts of the people and supplant his father as king.

David was forced to flee from Jerusalem, with the mass of the people against him. Later there was the terrible battle in the wood of Ephraim, which was won by David’s army, but Absalom was killed in the fight. David expressed his agony of heart many times in the history of these tragedies (II Sam. 13:1 – 19:8), and even in some of the psalms. At the very end of David’s life, when David lay dying, his son Adonijah attempted to usurp the throne and was later executed as a traitor. “Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.” “Then king Solomon sware by the Lord, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life. Now therefore, as the Lord liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.”—I Kings 1:5; 2:23,24

In addition to these catastrophes, the Lord had permitted Absalom to defile David’s wives, in further fulfillment of the prophecy of the evils that were to befall him.—II Sam. 12:11; 16:21,22

David may have had difficulties with his children before God’s pronouncement of judgment upon him, but there is nothing in the Scriptures to indicate this. So we conclude that God permitted these things to happen to David as punishment.

We believe the principle stated in our memory selection is a worthy one. However, we cannot expect imperfect parents to rear imperfect children who are full of wisdom and the graces of perfection. But very much depends upon the way the children are trained as to what kind of men or women they will become.

It is a sad fact of life that many parents train their children in the way they should not go. They countenance wrong ideals, which subsequently bring forth characteristics of which they are ashamed. The children are then reproached and reproved by their peers. In some cases, the children are obliged to try to overcome these evil characteristics all their lives. What a blessing it would be if proper training had been given while the children were still young!

On the other hand, when a child has been reared under the influence of a Christian home, the results are usually different. Under such circumstances the Bible is the recognized standard; and if both parents are consecrated, the home will be permeated with an atmosphere of prayer, which will bear a constant testimony to the parents’ reliance upon the overruling providences of the Lord. Under these conditions the parents will be engendering in the minds of their children proper concepts, the principles of righteousness. The Apostle Paul, in Galatians 5:22-26, enumerates them as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and godliness. Children brought up with this kind of background will certainly reflect its influence all their lives.

We will readily admit that these are very difficult times in which to raise children properly. Nevertheless, instead of making the parents lax or indifferent in respect to their obligations, the challenge should engender greater diligence to “train up a child in the way he should go.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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