Do not despise the Lord’s discipline. Proverbs 3:11
When I took a family studies class in college, we were asked to write a “family history”—a record of the key events that make up one’s childhood. This included the patterns that characterized typical family life and the methods of discipline we experienced. We all had at least one instance of a parent misapplying discipline and leaving an emotional or physical scar. Understandably, traumatic experiences like these may affect the way we interpret our heavenly Father’s discipline.
In Proverbs 3:11–12, the wise teacher invites readers to accept God’s discipline. The word discipline could be translated “correction.” As a good and loving Father, God speaks through His Spirit and the Scriptures to correct self-destructive behavior. God’s discipline is relational—rooted in His love and His desire for what’s best for us. Sometimes it looks like consequences. Sometimes God prompts someone to point out our blind spots. Often, it’s uncomfortable, but God’s discipline is a gift.
But we don’t always see it that way. The wise man cautioned, “Do not despise the Lord’s discipline” (v. 11). Sometimes we fear God’s discipline. At other times we misinterpret bad things in our lives as God’s discipline. This is far from the heart of a loving Father who disciplines because He delights in us and corrects because He loves us.
Instead of fearing God’s discipline, may we learn to accept it. When we hear God’s voice of correction in our hearts or experience conviction when reading Scripture, may we thank God that He delights in us enough to lead us to what’s best.
How do you recognize God’s discipline? How do you sense the love of God in the midst of it?
God, help me to recognize Your discipline so that I can discover the freedom You offer.
The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings, advice, instructions, and warnings. It’s structured as a life manual from a father to his son—an encouragement to live wisely and in a way that obeys and honors God. Solomon, who “spoke three thousand proverbs” (1 Kings 4:32), is the main author (see Proverbs 1:1–6; 10:1; 25:1). Other authors include unnamed Jewish wise men (22:17–24:34), Agur (ch. 30), and Lemuel (ch. 31). In chapter 3, Solomon admonishes us not to neglect the wisdom of God but to obey it (v. 1). A wise person is faithful (v. 3), trusts and depends on God (vv. 5–6), isn’t proud and avoids evil (v. 7), puts God first in everything (v. 9), and learns from His discipline (v. 11).