Proverbs 19:18, Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
The Hebrew word used in this proverb translated chasten means to instruct, with blows or with words.
God gives the father two tools to use to accomplish this instruction.
He is to use judgment as to when which tool or perhaps both tools are to be used.
He decides whether to use blows or to use words or to use both.
Chasten is a word meant to indicate that the purpose of dealing with a son is to correct him.
Chastening is needed because the father sees that the son is deviating from a prescribed way.
He is deviating from going in a way that the father expects.
He is going in a way that is not desired by the father, a way that does not please the father.
Chastening assumes that the father of the son knows the way that the son should be going. The father decides!
The way that the son is going is compared to the way that the father desires for his son.
Christian parents, Christian Fathers, Christian Mothers must know the way themselves if they are to be successful correctors of their children.
Unless you know the way you cannot provide the correction because you will not know what correction to apply.
When blind parents lead blind children, both fall into the ditch.
So the first thing a parent must know if successful chastisement is to take place is to know the way.
The second thing a parent must know concerns the purpose of the chastisement.
Chastise thy son literally means the son or the grandson, the . builder of the family name.
It indicates a long range purpose for the chastisement and not a purpose which satisfies immediate needs.
It is chastisement given with the family name in mind.
Not a purpose of satisfying some selfish wish of the father.
But a purpose for long range benefit of the son and the family name.
That is why this is a corrective chastisement and not a chastisement for punishment.
The third thing this proverb tells the father is that he has a limited time for chastisement to be successful.
He is told to chastise while there is hope!
This means that if chastisement is neglected a time will come when there is no hope.
The son will pass through a door where chastisement is not allowed to do its work.
Chastisement is no longer an option!
Parents have an opportunity, a time of hope but it is a limited time that soon passes.
The task must be done or there is no hope for the son.
The cure must be begun in infancy.
The son comes into this world wrong and for the Christian father correction in accord with God's word must begin immediately.
Hope's door is opened at birth but like any door it will close.
We are not to temp God in this! We are not to say we will wait until we think best. That's not faith!
We are to strike while the iron of childrearing is hot.
The metal, when hot, is pliable and bendable but when cold is brittle and unyielding.
It cannot be shaped. When the metal is cold there is no hope for it to be shaped into something useful by its maker. No hope!
So God gives us children for a season and in that season we are to do the work given us.
It is the season of hope, but we are to remember that like all seasons it has an end.
Now before we discuss the last part of this proverb lets quickly review.
We have said that the parent must know the way if he is to successfully chastise. He must know the way where he is going!
And he must correct the son with a long range purpose under girding his correction.
He must know where he wants his son to go.
What is the plan, what is the purpose for his son to fulfill?
He also knows that his time is limited. He cannot waste time.
He must act while there is hope!
Hope's door closes quickly in child rearing and there can be no time wasted.
He must act quickly if the purpose is to be accomplished.
If these principles are firmly implanted in the father the fourth thing that must take place can also be done successfully.
This proverb ends with this caution: "and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
The soul of the father must be so committed to these principles that the crying of the son will not hinder the father from exercising appropriate chastisement.
Shouldn't the crying of the son be irrelevant to the father who is committed to these principles?
Shouldn't his ears be attuned to a higher cry than the cry of his son?
Shouldn't faith cause his ears to hear the word of God instead of the crying of his son?
God cries, Chasten thy son while there is hope!
Faith drowns out the crying of his son because the father desires a higher purpose for his son.
His ears are deaf to the crying of his son because his ears are occupied with the word of God.
Chasten thy son while there's hope!
The father knows what will happen if the son's crying results in deliverance from the needed correction.
He knows that his son will soon learn the way to escape all chastisement until he is beyond hope.
Isn't this what crying is designed to do in the fallen heart of the child?
Why does a child cry even before he is chastised?
To put off the chastisement of course!
To play upon your pity, to test your faith in the word of God.
To show you where your ears are attuned. To show you your faith!
Isn't it wonderful that God gives us indicators of our faith so that we know where we stand.
I want to know where I'm weak so I can call upon the grace of God for more faith?
Faith tell you that it may take only one struggle and victory in the early life of the son to settle the way he will go throughout his life?
But it has to be settled while there is hope.
It has to be settled within God's allowed time but the longer delayed the harder it is to accomplish!
Far better to hear the crying of the son under the father's chastisement than to hear the father's crying from the chastisement of the son after all hope of correction is gone.
God expects his children to train their children for the service of God and in so doing it will insure their children's happiness and their own happiness.