Chastening – Proverbs 10:13

Proverbs 10:13 "In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding."

There are two different Hebrew words used for "understanding" in this verse. The first occurrence, H995, means, "to distinguish mentally, discern, consider, have intelligence, think, wise." The second Hebrew word for "understanding", H3820, is means, "heart, willingness, wisdom, mind." This Hebrew word is translated as "heart" over 85% of the time and as "understanding" 1.7% of the time in Scripture. As we saw several days ago, "heart" really has the idea of "attitude." Thus someone lacking a Godly attitude/heart/understanding will be chastised.

When I think of understanding and wisdom, Job 28:28 always comes to mind as great working definitions.

Job 28:28 "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." Then the fear of the Lord is defined as hating evil in Proverbs 8:13. Thus wisdom = the fear of the Lord = hating evil.

Though the second half of the verse is unpleasant, "but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding," at the same time, it is a great promise to us of God’s care. God will not allow his children to get away with sin, or anyone. He makes a special effort to discipline His children. The rod and reproof give wisdom. Though chastening is painful, it is a reminder of God’s love for us when we begin to wander away from Him (Prov. 29:15, Hebrews 12:4-11). Why does God chasten us? Here are several reasons from this Proverb and from Hebrews 12:4-11:

  1. God wants us to have understanding, that is to depart from sin, so we do not destroy ourselves. He gives us a little pain now, to save us a lot of pain later (Prov. 29:15).
  1. He loves us, and disciplines all His children. A lack of chastisement shows we are not really His children (Heb. 12:5-6)
  2. For Godly success in life (Heb. 12:9, Prov. 6:20). Remember the reproof and instruction are the way of life.
  1. So we might be partakers of His holiness (Heb. 12:10). God does not want us satisfied with the status quo. He wants us to continually pursue after His holiness, that is to be like Him (Lev. 19:2, 1 Pet. 1:13-16).
  1. Chastening bring s spiritual maturity. It yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them exercised by it (Heb. 12:11).

Now let’s apply the Proverb. Is God’s wisdom evident in my speech? Are there words or things I say that are contrary to Godly wisdom that hates evil? Remember a hatred of evil slash fear of the Lord is just the beginning of wisdom. Am I careful not to use God’s name flippantly (Exodus 20:7, Mat 12:36-37)? I am grieved by people who are Christians who use God’s name in vain regularly in interjections? It is so common, even in conservative circles. God says he will not hold him guiltless who uses His name in vain (lightly, without thought). When God uses the rod on me, does it impart to me the understanding He wants me to have, or do I dig in my heels and insist on my own way? Have I thanked the Lord for His discipline and love for me? Am I submissive to His leading in my life? Do I have sin in my life that I do not want to give up? Am I void of understanding? Am I like the fool that has no heart to seek after wisdom, which starts with hating sin (Prov. 17:16)? In what way will I share God’s wisdom with others today?

I pray that God will fill us with His wisdom and understanding as we humbly seek after Him.


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