“He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, and the rod of his anger will fail…Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:8, 15 NKJV
Notice that the word “rod” is used twice in this chapter. It is an interesting Hebrew word referring to a literal stick, which could be used for several different purposes. According to my “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible,” an Old Testament rod could be used for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling or walking. If you think about it that means it represented correction, instruction, power, authority and leverage, in the hand of the one using it. It could represent action taken either for you or against you, as was Aaron’s rod in the hand of Moses. As an instrument of God’s control, that particular rod was an indicator of either blessing or cursing based on how people reacted to the presence of its owner!
Here in our scripture for today, we see this word used in connection with discipline. In the first instance, an evil man is pictured misusing his rod. He wields it in anger and fails or “comes to nothing.” Meanwhile, a good father, using his rod to discipline and train his son in verse fifteen, drives failure away. One multifaceted instrument, two radically different results!
The point Solomon is making is that a rod is much more than a ruler’s staff or parent’s paddle, it includes everything found in the meaning of authority. Used properly, a father’s authority, directed wisely in the punishment of his child, actually drives the fleshly forces of failure within their human nature far from them. Used improperly, as an extension of an ungodly ruler’s uncontrolled temperament, this seemingly “successful” man eventually ends up being corrected himself!
We have a responsibility to use our authority as parents and leaders, but be careful how you use it! The man who does so foolishly invites foolishness, while the man who uses it wisely releases foolishness from his family!
The “rod” includes corporal punishment but is much more than that. It is a very important aspect of raising successful children. Remember, you should only punish your children out of your true love for them and with the discretion of a wise man. If you do, it will drive evil away from your home…if not it will most likely drive your child far from you!