Proverbs 19:25 – “Smite [strike; punish; beat; hit] a scorner [mocker; scoffer], and the simple [silly; foolish] will beware [be prudent; shrewd; be the wiser]: and reprove [convince; judge; correct; argue with] one that hath understanding [discern; perceive], and he will understand [discern; perceive] knowledge.”
Proverbs 19:25 may be viewed by some as either “tough love” or provocative and “politically incorrect”. For the sake of today’s devotional, permit me to state that Solomon is not counseling parents to abuse their children in the name of discipline; however, it is undeniable the word of God teaches corporal punishment (Proverbs 3:11-12; 13:24; 29:15). The writer of Hebrews states God loves and disciplines His children after the manner a loving father disciplines and trains his son (Hebrews 12:6-8).
I would be amiss to limit the application of Proverbs 19:25 to the arena of the home. Remember, Solomon’s counsel is to a son who will one day reign as king, judge and executioner. Our nation’s lawgivers and judges would be wise to observe the benefits of corrective discipline for our schools and criminal system.
Three individuals are noted in verse 25; the first is the scorner who spurns godly wisdom and hates instruction. His heart is against God and he despises human authority. He is unteachable and “heareth not rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1). He rejects those who correct him because he has no appetite for spiritual counsel [“A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.” – Proverbs 15:12]. The second individual is the simple who, though silly and foolish, observes the punishment of the scorner and is made the wiser. The third individual is described as “one that hath understanding” (19:25c). He heeds correction and is made wise by godly counsel.
Our second proverb is one parents, especially those with adult children who are spiritual prodigals, would be wise to consider and heed.
Proverbs 19:26 – “He that wasteth [spoil; rob; destroy] his father, and chaseth away [drive away; put to flight] his mother, is a son that causeth shame [disappoint; put to shame], and bringeth reproach [confounds; be ashamed].”
Too many Christian parents adopt a policy of rescuing their children out of trouble and the consequences of sins. Though well-meaning and often driven by a burden of self-imposed guilt, such parents unwisely fall into a pattern of enabling the sinful attitudes and actions of their children. What begins as a parent’s foolish decision to take the side of a rebellious child in their youth can, in their adult years, break the health, spirit and financial security of their parents.
The fifth commandment states, “Honour [obey; treat with respect] thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12). Mom and dad, allowing a son or daughter to continue in their sin, challenge and mock your role as a parent is contrary to the Law of God and nature!
Proverbs 19:26 serves as a warning to parents of prodigals: Enabling a child’s sinful patterns and bailing them out of the consequences of sinful choices “wasteth his father”—literally, pillages a family’s savings and taints his father’s reputation and good standing. The emboldened prodigal also “chaseth away his mother” (19:26b). What a tragic picture! The prodigal cares only for himself and is insensitive to the natural instinct a child should feel for his mother. In the end, the prodigal brings shame and reproach on himself and his family!
A parent or grandparent reading today’s devotional may be caught in the vicious cycle of enabling a child to continue in their sin. Sadly, some parents and grandparents allow guilt and past failures to drive their decision to “assist” their child, inevitably driving themselves into financial straits. To you I say, “Stop the insanity and the enabling!”
1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith