"If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they chastise him, will not give heed to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and and drunkard.'

Then all the men shall stone him to death with stones; so that you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."

Deuteronomy 21:18-21, RSV

 

Wow! That seems a bit extreme, doesn't it? A father and mother have what we are told in our day and age are just normal, standard teenage problems. But under the Law of Moses, God said to kill such a son - why?

 

The answer is clear: God does not allow disrespect to become a normal part of society. And God knew that such a profligate child would grow up to be a profligate adult. And God knew that such people would become a bane on society, and He did not want that to happen so He had the Israelites under the law of Moses remove such wicked men from society.

 

Notice what God did not do: He did not send the parents and the naughty child to counseling - God's commands had already provided all of the "counseling" that they would need. He did not place these disobedient children on welfare - that would have punished everyone but the guilty party, He did not put them into prison - again, that would have punished the community that had to pay for his expenses. What God did do when it became clear that this was an individual who refused to even obey his parents was to have that disobedient person put to death.

 

God's righteous law in this area had two effects: The first was that evil was not allowed to fester and become a dangerous problem. The second effect, and just as important, was that everyone would hear about God's just punishment - and they would gain a proper fear!

 

That means the parents who loved their children would discipline their children so that they would never come to that stage. That means that the stubborn children who might have been inclined to rebellion would see the punishment and perhaps change his ways.

 

And it meant that Israel as a society did not have a lot of problem with disrespect from surly children or from surly adults who were never properly trained.

 

It was extreme, but it had an even more important end result" It saved their children's souls from death! We are not commanded to stone our children under the Law of Christ... but we are commanded to require our children to obey us! Loving and wise parents will figure out how. If that sounds daunting, don't despair: God has left us the best manual ever on how to properly raise children.

 

Now, if we can only get the rest of society to use it!

 

"Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death." Proverbs 19:18, NIV

"Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6, KJV

"Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you..." Deut. 6:16, NIV

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right." Ephesians 6:1, KJV

 

Today is the 28th day of the thirty day challenge to read the Books of Moses. Today's reading is Deuteronomy 19-24. May God richly bless your efforts as you seek to know more about His holy will!