Sunday, January 28, 2018

Unpopular restraint

Celebration around the Golden Calf - Artist unknown
Celebration around the Golden Calf - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 32-34; Psalm 28

TO CHEW ON: "…Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them…)." Exodus 32:25

If a royal commission had been struck to get to the bottom of how the golden calf incident could happen, a conclusion like Exodus 32:25 may well have been in the report.

[Restraint means to hold back from acting, proceeding or advancing; to keep in check, repress; to deprive of freedom or liberty; to restrict or limit - Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary.]

People-pleasing, want-to-be-liked Aaron would have found that hard to do. He wasn't the only one. The priest Eli didn't restrain his sons and this brought a sobering judgment on his family and eventually the whole nation (1 Samuel 3:13; 4:15-22). King David was another indulgent parent with at least one of his sons—Adonijah: "And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, 'Why have you done so?' " (1 Kings 1:6). Adonijah ended up trying to become king behind his father's back.

In our time, when the trend in parenting (and leadership in general) is to give more freedom than less, a parent or leader who disciplines and enforces restraint needs to be resolute to go against the grain. But the Bible supports parents and leaders in this.
  • Discipline is really a manifestation of love - Proverbs 3:12; 13:24.
  • Lack of early discipline leads toward destruction - Proverbs 19:18.
  • Discipliners (fathers, parents) also need to be disciplined in the way they train their children- Ephesians 6:4.
  • Paul tells Timothy that the ideal leader acts "… in humility, correcting those who are in opposition" - 2 Timothy 2:25.

Restraint—self-restraint, parental and leadership enforcement of restraint—may not be fashionable with our society but it is something God values and rewards. Let's take up our courage to buck the trend as we practice restraint in our own lives and teach it to those for whom we're responsible.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me first to restrain myself in thoughts, speech and actions. Amen. 


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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