I remember seeing a movie many years ago which portrayed a New England church service in which an usher roamed the aisles of the church during the service with a long rod in his hands. If he caught someone sleeping he would use the rod to reach down the pew and knock the offender on the top of the head. I always thought that was a rather novel idea and perhaps useful as well. It is perhaps one (albeit perhaps a silly one) example of the meaning of the phrase “rod of correction”.
Today I personally provided another. Sitting in my patio office I observed a scruffy looking dog chasing what I believed to be my neighbor’s cat through the yard adjacent to mine. It turns out it wasn’t the neighbor’s cat, but a much smaller version of the scruffy looking dog doing the chasing. Two dogs then and the smaller of the two running amok in my wildflower patch while the larger one ran back and forth along the border opposite me. Noelle was atingle with delight at the tantalizing possibility of combat in protection of her territory. She was stalking my side of the wildflower patch at the end of her tether with her ears back and her tail bushed out. I could not see small dog but could hear him snuffling noisily in the dense flowers. Suddenly his nose tentatively appeared into my yard from the denseness. I growled at him and told him to scram. He didn’t flinch but pushed forward another inch and looked at Noelle … she was up on her back legs now with her front ones off the ground because of the tether. I spoke once more and when small dog didn’t move I reached out with my walking stick and whopped him on the nose with the tip of it. He yelped three or four times and tore out of the yard, down the street with big dog trailing behind him.
While it may have hurt, I suspect that it was the better option for him than tangling with Noelle!
Afterward, I reflected on the incident and thought how handy it would be if there was someway that we could be whopped on the head when we venture too far in the direction of sin … something to dissuade us from actually sinning before we actually do it. It occured to me that a lot of us might likely go through life with a sore head … and STILL engage in sin. Then I remembered that God is not glorified when we are kept from sin because of a bonk on the head. He is glorified when in the power of the Spirit we choose NOT to sin … a freedom that we once did not have when we were slaves to sin. I’m hopeful that little dog (and big dog too) will choose not to enter my yard again with evil intent. However, if little dog is not able to make that choice yet, I’ll be waiting with my rod of correction to whop him again!