Monday, October 13, 2014

God the bodyguard and GPS: how do you use the rod in your home?

I have the great fortune of having a specific "mental picture" of "God's rod" due to my life having taken a turn to Central American once. 

I have driven many miles to many "unknown" destinations in my life...(using a paper map for most of those years, eww!) I've made wrong turns and ended up driving thru some very scary neighborhoods. I've also lived in Guatemala where I have seen people driving around with armed body guards on the backs of their trucks.

So, I see David in Psalm 23 saying that..."Though I drive thru the scariest parts of the scariest towns, I will fear no bad guys! Your ability to protect me and your guidance they comfort me!"

In the ancient times...
Shepherds carried a staff...which they used for guiding sheep.

God is The Good Shepherd...
His "staff" makes God the ultimate GPS in life.

In the ancient times...
Shepherds carried a rod with spikes on the end...which they used for fighting off predators...(modern shepherds use guns).

God is The Good Shepherd...
His "rod" makes Him one mighty powerful body guard on the back of our truck to protect us from bad guys.

Ancient shepherd's rod. 
Nothing at all like a spatula, open hand, switch, paddle or wooden spoon.
Clearly not for hitting sheep. 
Clearly capable of bringing comfort to one being protected by it.

Look at it this way, there are two options:

If you were driving thru a scary part of a strange town with an angry mob chasing you trying to kill you (the valley of the shadow of death)...would you find it very "comforting" if whenever you took a wrong turn your GPS would sometimes cause an electrical current to flow thru your steering wheel and give you a painful shock to let you know you'd made a wrong turn? 

Would you find that comforting? Or, would it make you afraid to even try and steer...making you more vulnerable to the crazed mob?

This would actually be the correct metaphor to use if the "rod" spoken of in the Bible is for striking children. And, a good question is where is God's protection here? Who is doing the protecting in this situation?

What if you were driving thru a scary part of a strange town with an angry mob chasing you trying to kill you (the valley of the shadow of death)...would you find it very "comforting" if whenever you took a wrong turn the GPS would consistently, faithfully, and patiently say, "Recalculating" and tell you which way to keep going to escape the danger and rectify each wrong turn (mistake)?

And, would it be "comforting" if meanwhile...a big buff body guard with a big buff gun was riding on the back of your truck ever vigilant to make sure no bad guys got near ya?

This is the correct metaphor to use if the "rod" spoken of in the Bible is for striking predators.

It's really so simple.

It's really so important.

God is our Father. He is our example as to how to live our lives and care for our own children. God's children feel comfort because His rod and staff...guild them and keep them safe. They would not feel comfort if that rod and staff hurt them and caused them pain.

People spank believing that the pain will drive home the message of their lesson and keep the children from going near whatever that misbehavior was ever again. They know that the use of pain is something to keep you away from something. So, how would David find God's rod "comforting" and desire to be near it if it hurt him?

However we use "the rod" in our homes...that is how our children will believe God guides them. And, if God's "rod" is the first one that hurts you whenever you take a wrong turn, I'd say that it would create a world where there is no distinction between bad guys and God because we would fear both of them. And, how sad that has to make God...

You know, the discussions about "spanking" can go round and round forever. People can play "battle of the verses" and can reason their side all day about "how" to "use the rod" that's spoken of in the Bible.

As we see, though, the Bible does say TO use it and that God does. So...there is actually a really simple "test" in the Bible to reveal to each individual whether or not they are exercising the "use of the rod" correctly or not.

It's very simple: If you use an actual "rod" of some sort...take that "rod"...and put it before your child (or if the rod has a special place it hangs on the wall or something like it did in my home just take the child over before it). Ask your child how that object makes them FEEEEEL. 

If you tell your child that you're going to go get your "rod" or that if they don't stop doing something that they will be hit with it...does that child feel comfort...or fear?


Just ask them and listen to their answer. Don't prod them or lead them just try to get them to give you their honest answer...and then compare their response to Psalm 23...

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Your rod and your staff they comfort me."

Comfort. Does the way you use the rod in your home evoke the feelings of "comfort" in your child? If not, then something needs to be refined or adjusted in the way you use it until your child can answer that question that way.

All families are different and what works for one family doesn't work for another, true? So, the response you get from your own child about the rod is the evidence from within your own family, personal...not anyone else telling you what to do.

The only universal thing about all of our diverse families is fruit. Jesus said we'd know things by their fruits, and the fruits of God's rod produced "comfort" in His child, likewise it should produce the same in our children. God is our example to follow and so if we are following His example we will see the same fruit and then we'll know that we're using the rod the way God wants us to.

So, you know your own family. You know your own kids. You know God commands that if you neglect to use the rod you hate your child.

Does the way you wield the rod in your home give your children the confidence and comfort that no matter what life would throw their way that because of you they are guided, safe, and protected? they feel fear?

Comfort and salvation is from the Lord. not. It's from the other guy. 

So...who's your daddy? Who are you parenting like? The one who hurts us...or the one who saves?

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