Selected Sunday Scriptures- #56

The first passage for today comes from the Book of Proverbs:

18 Three things are too wonderful for me;
    four I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a maiden.

(Proverbs 30:18-29)

This passage appealed to me today in large part because I believe that we can understand all of these. Science can help us explain how a bird can fly. Or a snake’s movement works. Science helps ships navigate on the seas, and explains how sails actually work. And of course this blog exist in part to try and explain that fourth mystery, which one might call socio-sexual interactions between men and women. Worth noting is that this part of the Book of Proverbs is not attributed to Solomon.

 Something that I have always found interesting is the constant call in both Proverbs and Sirach for the disciplining of children. A few examples:

Do you have children? Discipline them,
    and make them obedient from their youth.

(Sirach 7:23)

He who spares the rod hates his son,
    but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

(Proverbs 13:24)

Many more examples exist, especially in Proverbs. What I find interesting is that some commentators see these verses and conclude that those who lived in biblical times were terribly cruel to their children. Myself, I come to the opposite conclusion. I think that many parents were far, far too lax. After all, how many good kings of Judah ended up having bad sons? More than a few. My own suspicion is that the wisdom writers were so vehement about the importance of discipline because parents were pretty bad at it. The constant moral troubles of Israel and Judah would seem to back this up.

And when we look at the world around us, the importance of discipline, even and especially harsh discipline, becomes apparent. Of all my peers that I still communicate with or know about, few if any that were poorly disciplined in their youths have turned out well. Most have fared poorly, and I know of several that have spent time in prison (and who weren’t necessarily the type you would expect to end up there). Whatever else I can say about my parents, I am grateful to them for their strict discipline when I was growing up. I cannot imagine what a wreck my life would be without that.

Since we are on the topic of discipline, this passage from the Letter to the Hebrews seems appropriate:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons?—

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor lose courage when you are punished by him.
For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

(Hebrews 12:3-11)

 We reap what we sow. Both in ourselves, and in our children.

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5 Comments

Filed under Selected Sunday Scriptures

5 responses to “Selected Sunday Scriptures- #56

  1. Marlon

    It is not the physical mechanisms of how the 4 phenomena work that are mysteries; the author could explain any of them without contemporary science.

    What is noteworthy is that all four happen without an obvious process.
    One sees the eagle in the sky, it flies away and then nothing. No mark in the sky saying eagle John was here.
    A serpent slithers on a rock. No mark on the rock saying serpent Bob was here.
    The wake of a ship on the sea disappears as the water re-forms.
    A man romances a woman, a bond is formed, and then, a marriage, or a baby, or a failed relationship, seemingly out of nowhere. Who knew they were together?

    There is a similar NT parable: Mark 4:26-29
    26 And He said,
    “Thus is the kingdom of God:
    As if ever a man should be casting seed on the earth,
    27 and he may be drowsing and rousing night and day, and the seed may be germinating and lengthening, but how – he, he does not perceive it.
    28 Spontaneously the earth is bearing-fruit, first the blade, thereafter the ear, thereafter the full grain in the ear.
    29 Now whenever the fruit may be giving itself up, straightway he is dispatching the sickle, for present is the harvest.”

  2. mdavid

    DG, And of course this blog exist in part to try and explain that fourth mystery, which one might call socio-sexual interactions between men and women.

    I believe the emotions that control sex are best understood and predicted as tools for procreation (i.e. the Darwinian). But since we’ve recently separated sex & babies via effective birth control, along with FI overwhelming our culture, this is difficult for most to internalize. But for those who understand it and learn to think this way, it’s empowering.

    I saw a poster on my church bookstore that said “Real men love babies”. I resisted to urge to modify it as “Real men love MAKING babies” or “Real men love bab-es”. Religion + FI = a potent weapon for propaganda. And the pain that follows for the unsuspecting is considerable.

    Re: discipline, mothers are terrible at this. Genetically programmed for unconditional love, most lack the ability to think objectively when disciplining children. Removing men as the head of their household, which has happened by law, is probably the most dangerous thing humans have ever experimented with.

  3. Proverbs is my go to book. I probably read it 3 to one vs other sections of the Bible. Not sure how I want to phrase this but…. I think it’s the most important book of the Bible in a day to day living, dealing with day to day problems etc sense.

  4. @ ton

    Yes, Proverbs is great for daily living. I know most Protestant Bibles don’t include the Book of Sirach, but I would recommend it as well. It is an even further refinement of what you find in Proverbs, and well worth daily reading.

  5. Thanks my freind I will search for it on the interwebz.

    I think way to many get spun up about some self conceived notion of holiness and let it all slip away by ignoring the day to day “common sense” ancient wisdom found in Proverbs and the Old Testament

    Not to mention the Old Testament’ s old school advice on masculinity (which most Christians try to ignore or so in into something else entirely)

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