Today: [Proverbs 23] The Curse of the Bastard and the Cult of Youth. In Proverbs 23 Solomon advises us regarding the wealth of material blessing that comes into our lives. We are not to live for ourselves but as stewards of all that God has given us. Solomon also warns again of the need to properly discipline our children. The writer of Hebrews tells us that children without biblical discipline are afflicted with the “curse of the bastard” and profoundly disadvantaged spiritually. We are also cautioned not to neglect the elderly in our midst. We live in a culture that worships youth and bids our elderly to die gracefully without distracting us from our selfish lifestyles. There is much wisdom in the older generation and we do ourselves a great disservice not to integrate them into our lives.
[Pro 23:1-35 KJV] 1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what [is] before thee: 2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou [be] a man given to appetite. 3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they [are] deceitful meat. 4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. 5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for [riches] certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. 6 Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: 7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee. 8 The morsel [which] thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words. 9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. 10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: 11 For their redeemer [is] mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.
Verse 1 of our chapter speaks of covetousness and overindulgence. Rev. 1:6 and Rev. 5:10 tell us that we are kings and priests unto God. In John 10:10 Jesus said He came that we might have life and life more abundantly. There is a place in your walk with God where material blessings and abundance will be the baseline experience in your life. If that is not the case, then something is deficient in your faith. If you have been taught the virtues of poverty you have been taught a lie. At the same time when God fills your life with every good thing you must remember that this is a stewardship and not an invitation to self-interested excess. Whether you are poor or rich there is nothing you possess that is not placed in your life as a stewardship before God. Learn to let the voice of God establish how your material blessings are managed and realize that God blesses us not only to our own benefit but that we might benefit others. Verse 5 tells us that wealth is fleeting. It makes it way into your life and it is gone. The question is to what end? Is wealth moving through your life and out to kingdom purpose or simply being squandered for your own appetites?
Verse 10 tells us to remove not the ancient landmark. One of the great tragedies in life is when spiritual legacy is not transmitted from one generation to another. For myself I have a rich and living legacy in God going back to the Topeka outpouring at the turn of the last century. My great aunt was the first woman baptized in the Holy Spirit under Frank Parham who mentored William Seymour of Azusa Street fame. My grandfather was a pioneer pastor in the Assemblies of God in the early days that denomination was organized. My father came up in the days of the tent revivalists such as AA Allen, Jack Coe and William Seymour. As I child I was exposed to the early years of the 1960’s Charismatic renewal and the Jesus movement of the 70’s. I have attended tent meetings and brush arbor meetings in the vein of the great revivalists of years gone by. This is a rich tableau of revival and various moves of God that have profoundly influenced me and made me who I am in God. For years I have studied the early centuries of the church and the last 500 years of revival tradition. Those stories are not just myth to me but have become a baseline for my own personal experience in God. It is my great mission in life to take what I have learned and what I have experienced and impart them to those I minister to as a living reality and not some story in a book. Remove not the ancient landmark as the sweet psalmist of Israel cried out:
[Psa 85:6 KJV] 6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. 13 Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. 15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. 16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things. 17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but [be thou] in the fear of the LORD all the day long. 18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off. 19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. 20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe [a man] with rags.
Verse 12-13 speak again as the previous chapter about the rod of correction, specifically corporal punishment in child rearing. Proverbs 13:24 says that the parent who refuses to use corporal punishment with their children hates them. Some of the most demonized children I have ever seen were those whose parents boasted that they never laid a hand on their children in discipline. This is a great evil that robs your children of valuable character shaping experiences that teach them both love and limits. There is a way to discipline a child. Taking privileges, giving them timeout is no substitute for biblical discipline. Most of the alternative forms of discipline are manipulative and border on what the scriptures define as witchcraft, or manipulating our children emotionally or mentally. Discipline needs to be prompt, brief with a clear objective of disincentivizing bad behavior. In our day the culture of indulgence and failure to discipline has produced from the 1960’s multiple generations of children with or without parents who are suffering from an orphan spirit. This is not a fringe issue in the faith for Hebrews tells us:
[Heb 12:8 KJV] 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
We see strong language in this verse that is underscored as to the deeper spiritual implications for those who have not been afforded godly biblical discipline:
[Deu 23:2 KJV] 2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
Children who have been indulged and not disciplined are dispositionally put in a states of struggle regarding the things of God. The curse of the bastard is on them that will debilitate them and the generations after them. What does this mean for you? Each of us must take these verses and make a concerted effort not to ignore them. Regardless of what age your children are you must as a parent hold yourself accountable in this area. You cannot be both friend and parent to your children. To be their friend is to rob them of a parent which they desperately need. Make it your decision regardless how difficult to take responsibility in this area and your children will thank you in years to come.
22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. 23 Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. 24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise [child] shall have joy of him. 25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. 26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. 27 For a whore [is] a deep ditch; and a strange woman [is] a narrow pit. 28 She also lieth in wait as [for] a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men. 29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, [when] it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 35 They have stricken me, [shalt thou say, and] I was not sick; they have beaten me, [and] I felt [it] not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
Verse 22 tells us not to despise our parents when they are old. We live in a day that humanity for centuries in the west has worshipped at the altar of youth. We lock our elderly away in ghastly institutions and bid them die a death fortuitous to our self-lifestyle and our fortunes. Unfortunately, the church is no different. We do not venerate leaders beyond a certain age. Pastors in denominational settings commonly recognize that if you find yourself without a congregation and you are beyond your late 30’s it may be very, very difficult to find an available pulpit. Church as performance in a seeker sensitive environment does not venerate elderly leaders. We want leaders who are hip, relevant and with it. The impact of this lack of wisdom in the church has resulted in the marginalization of Christianity in our day that would be difficult to over exaggerate. What can you do to make a difference? Find the elder-statesmen in the things of God around you. Make it your mission in life to connect with them and glean their wisdom. Open your bank book and see to it that they are blessed by your hand. Give and give liberally of your time and resources to the elderly in your midst and you will be blessed beyond measure.
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