Balancing the Rod and the Staff


Balancing the Rod and Staff

(Harmonizing discipline with grace, viagra sales medicine mercy and forgiveness) 

“He who withholds his rod hates his son, cialis usa viagra but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”Proverbs 13:24 

“Shepherd with your staff, malady the children of your possession, like God  who pardons our iniquities, and doesn’t stay angry, who ceases from showing mercy and  delights in an unchanging love toward us, who  casts our sins into the sea.” Micah 7:14, 18-19 rbk 

This article is based on 130 verses in 38 different passages of Scripture. 

This article was initially a chapter in the book, Teachable Moments, which can be purchased, along with its companion book, Teachable Moments Year One. But because of the necessity to limit the book’s content; it was taken out and put here on this website.

This chapter on balancing discipline and grace came at the end of the section on Agape love in the book; it was the fourth component to building intimacy with your children. As stated in Teachable Moments, Agape is the Greek word for love used throughout the original texts of the Scripture to describe God’s unconditional love for us.    

A coin is a good illustration of what Agape love is because it has two sides to it, a head and a tail. The head side being the application of discipline and the tail being grace. In Scripture, as well as in parenting, sometimes discipline (head) is used more than grace (tail), and sometimes the opposite. Regardless of which is used more, discipline and grace are equal in importance, and both are needed when working with your children’s behavior.


To carry out the full measure of Agape love with your children, it’s vital that both sides of the coin, the rod of discipline, and the staff of grace, mercy, and forgiveness, be done in a balanced and harmonizing way. If you’re able to do this then it’s possible the intimacy you need to experience with your children can be realized.


It takes a lot of work, though, for balancing the rod with the staff doesn’t come naturally, and is often misapplied. As discussed in the book, Teachable Moments, when the rod was overused it often developed into a conditional expression of love, and when the staff was overused it evolved into a permissive, anything-goes type of love.  To counter these extremes, the Bible has given guidance and even implied a possible progression to follow, as introduced in the book, Teachable Moments, in respect to the rod.


This implied progression is not a hard fast formula, because there were some exceptions in Scripture. Irregardless the progression exists and should be prayerfully and carefully considered when applying the rod and the staff.


David’s rod and staff of Psalm 23 will be looked at in respect to balancing the two when correcting behavior.  Jesus and His role in the Old and New Testaments will also be reviewed, particularly in regard to a four part progression He and the rest of the Trinity (Father and Spirit) applied to mankind. Additionally, other corresponding passages dealing with Adam and Eve, David as a King, and the people ofIsraelwill be cited in relation to how God harmonized the use of the rod and staff in their lives.



David knew by his training and experience how to balance the rod of discipline with his staff of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Without such knowledge he could not have moved his sheep from one pasture to the next without difficulty or significant harm coming to them.1


Sometimes the rod of discipline was David’s only choice, especially in situations where the lives of the sheep were at stake. Unlike the tall and skinny staff, it was a formidable club; able to inflict damage on any would-be predator. 2 On the other hand it was of little use when sheep needed tender assistance and visual guidance.  In these instances only the staff could be used to pull them out of ravines or provide a reference to see and follow from a distance. 3, 4


David balanced and harmonized the use of his rod and staff when leading and taking care of his sheep. He learned this balance from other shepherds and his own experiences on the trail.  Similarly, you will learn this balance from the Scriptures, others who have been successful with children, and your own experiences.


Jesus and the Trinity

Before discussing how Jesus and the two other members of the Trinity balanced their rod and staff, please note that all three worked together from the beginning. Often we only think of Jesus in relation to His earthly ministry, but keep in mind, He worked also with the Father and Spirit throughout the Old Testament as well.


Then God said, “Let Us [Father, Son, Spirit] make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27


 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
John 8:56-58


As Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit (Trinity) worked together to apply the appropriate and right amount of discipline, grace, mercy, and forgiveness from Genesis to Revelation, there was a pattern. In this pattern there were four steps, the last step being the exercise of discipline, which has its own progression. If you use these four steps when correcting your children, then I believe you will be successful in changing not only their behavior, but more importantly their hearts.  With changed hearts there’s no end to the calm and joy that can fill your home.


Step 1 [Apply grace, mercy, and forgiveness]


According to my study of the Scriptures, it appears that God (Father, Son, and Spirit) employed grace, mercy, and forgiveness as His first step when dealing with those who were foolish, errant, or disobedient throughout the Bible.  This was illustrated with Abraham and Sarah, two of the most renowned and faithful believers of the Old Testament.  When they were very old and spiritually mature, they uncharacteristically refused to trust God for a very important promise He gave them. They were to bear a child through which the entire nation of Israelwould evolve. (Genesis 17:1-6) Israel was to become God’s revelation and witness to the world as to who He was and how salvation could be achieved. (Exodus 19:5-6)  As time arrived for this promised child (Isaac) to come, Abraham and Sarah grew too old for this to happen through them. So they decided to fulfill God’s promise on their own through their maid-servant Hagar. Such a practice was very common and accepted in the world in which they lived, but not so with God. Their plan was definitely not His, but instead of disciplining them with the rod, He applied His staff of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  Abraham and Sarah were forgiven and pardoned for their sin and miraculously given Isaac anyway. (Genesis 16:1-2, 4, 15-16; Genesis 17:18-21; Genesis 21:1-3)  Perhaps God made His decision to use His staff over the rod because Abraham and Sarah’s sin wasn’t intentionally rebellious, but nonetheless the staff was His first step in dealing with their foolish, faithless, and disobedient decision.


There were exceptions of course to using the staff as a first step in correction throughout the Bible. For example, the rod was the first step used with Adam and Eve after they sinned.  In correcting them, God rebuked each and made them leave the Garden of Eden.  However, in the midst of this disciplinary step, His staff of mercy was present, because they should have received a much greater discipline than they did.  After all, the sin they committed damaged the entire human race, and introduced incredible heartache, despair, and loss to every generation thereafter. (Romans 5:12-14) Instead of just being thrown out of the Garden, Adam and Even should have been put to death or even disallowed entry into heaven. But God didn’t do this because He loved them unconditionally. In fact, after tossing them out, He quickly provided for their needs the rest of their lives before taking them to heaven. (Genesis 3:21-23)  So even with this exception of using the rod first, God’s staff of grace, mercy, and forgiveness was mixed in with it, something to remember when making a similar exception when correcting your children.

Step 2 [Let things simmer]

Sometimes when God’s first step of grace, mercy, and forgiveness didn’t work right away, He let things simmer for awhile, which actually became a second step in His correction.  Simmer is a cooking term, which means to slowly cook food over a low heat until it’s warm or done. In this simmering step, God sat back and observed, letting the consequences of obeying or disobeying Him do the necessary changing. (Colossians 3:25)  This was illustrated when He let the people of Israel wonder in the desert for forty years after miraculously liberating them from Egyptian bondage. He freed them because He loved Israel and wanted them to have their own nation once again. In His efforts, God rescued them by parting the Red Sea, destroyed an ensuing Egyptian army, dropped food from heaven, brought water from a rock, provided good Laws to live by, and promised them a land of their own. (Exodus 14:13-14,21-23,26,28; Exodus 16:1-4; Exodus 17:1-7; Exodus 33:1) In response, most of Israel eventually resorted to disobedience, grumbling, and faithlessness. (Exodus 32:1-4, 6; Numbers 11:2, 4-6; Numbers 14:2-4)  Because of this God should have applied the fourth step of discipline, but didn’t. He considered it; however, given His omniscience (all knowing) and foreknowledge, He let Moses talk Him out of it. (Romans 8:28-30; Exodus 32:9-11, 13-14) Instead God started off with grace, mercy, and forgiveness, and then when that didn’t work moved toward letting Israel’s hearts simmer for awhile; for this generation the simmering step, sadly, lasted for 40 years.  At the end of this time, most of the parents died in the desert, leaving the challenge of entering the Promised Land to their children.  As history proved, this simmering step worked, if not for the parents, then with the children who developed a strong faith during those forty years; a faith that not only inspired great worship of God, but also one that moved them to take on the Promised Land despite all of its many challenges. (Deuteronomy 1:1, 3, 7, 21, 26-27, 34; Joshua 1:1, 2, 5, 10-11)  Perhaps your children will develop a similar type of faith during their time on earth.  Letting them simmer (slow cook) in their thinking during the course of correction might well contribute to bringing this about.

Step 3   [Give Warning]

The next step God implemented to correct and direct the heart of His people was stern caution, or a series of graduating warnings. This third step was used several times withIsraelthroughout its history. It was usually God’s last effort to keep His people from experiencing discipline, the fourth and final step. An example of such a warning was given toIsraelduring Solomon’s reign. Evidently, God saw something in this generation’s heart that was not right. Before doing anything more drastic to direct their heart, he gave them a clear warning.


 Now it came about when Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all that Solomon desired to do. The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight.” I Kings 9:1, 3, 6-7


Unfortunately only a few responded to this warning, because not long after,  the majority abandoned God’s laws and even fell into worshipping other foreign gods. Had they responded as they were given opportunity, then they would not have suffered as they later did. Eventually after many difficult years underBabylon’s rule,Israelhad a change of heart, repenting of their sins and honoring Him again. God responded, of course, by giving them their freedom.  It’s just too bad they didn’t heed His earlier warnings, because of how different their lives could have been.


Then the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was led away into exile from its land.  II Kings 25:21


“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”  Jeremiah 29:11-14


Jesus gave warnings during His stay on earth, especially to the religious leaders of His day. Several times he cautioned them to spiritually shape up or else.  The following accounts in Matthew are just a few of those warnings.


“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven to people that you yourselves will not enter. Woe to you, because you travel on sea and land to make one convert; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”  Matthew 23:13, 15 (rbk)


Woe to you, for you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside you are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Matthew 23:27 (rbk)


Like Israelthroughout its history with God, most of the religious leaders didn’t respond to Jesus’ warnings. The only ones who did respond that we know of were Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. (John19:38-40)  This didn’t mean others weren’t heeding His warnings, teachings, and advice, many did as indicated Scripture after the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7) and in the book of John.


For I say unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:20 (rbk)



 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7:28-29


Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue.  John 12:42


The Father, Son, and Spirit used warnings throughout the Old and New Testaments to help the hearts of those who needed correction. When warnings didn’t work they moved onto the last step, the exercise of discipline. Similarly, don’t skip this warning step with your children, if they can change because of it then all the better for them and you.

Step 4    [Exercise discipline]

The fourth step in God’s efforts to bring about change was discipline. Discipline which moves from lighter to heavier consequences matches appropriate disciplines with equivalent wrong doings, and demonstrates unconditional love throughout the discipline process.

One example, amongst many, of the way God carried out this last step was with David when he was King. When David was King he did many things that were wrong. Each punishment from God was different according to what he’d done. For instance, God didn’t punish David with the same severity for having more than one wife, than when taking another man’s wife. When David took several wives, which was never God’s will, he was disciplined by letting him bear the consequences of his own actions. (II Samuel 5:13) As light as this discipline seems, it brought significant correction to David, because for the rest of his life he had to explicitly trust God everyday with his family who were a constant challenge for him. (I Kings 1:11-13; II Samuel 13:10-15, 20-22)

 As difficult as this discipline turned out to be, David underwent a much heavier one for taking Bathsheba, another man’s wife. God’s discipline was much more severe for this sin, which included time to think about what he’d done, significant loss of credibility with his people, and the loss of a newborn David begged God not to take.  However, God took David’s son to heaven before he could ever get to know him.  (II Samuel 12:16-18)  And had David not genuinely repented for what he’d done, his discipline would have been worse, including perhaps the loss of his reign as King or the loss of his own life, as happened to his predecessor, Saul.

What God did with David was appropriate and paid off as time passed.  From then on David returned to the man of faith he once was, never doing anything like what he’d done with Bathsheba again. And if that’s what resulted with David because of God’s discipline, then it can do no less with your children when you use it.

Parenting Application

As we look at some parenting applications to balance the rod of discipline with the staff of grace, mercy, and forgiveness there are several things to consider organized under the headings:  The Progression’s Value, The First Step of Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness, Watch and Wait, Warning Your Children, and Discipline as a Last Step.


The Progression’s Value

Achieving a good balance between the rod of discipline and the staff of mercy, and forgiveness eliminates a lot of guess work and mistakes when correcting your children.  The four step progression drawn from Scripture helps achieve this, because it prevents overuse of either the rod or staff.  Overuse of the rod can cause many problems with children; developing an unnatural fear of you is one of them.   Overuse of the staff on the other hand, can cause your children to lose respect for you and your leadership in the home.  Not knowing which to use, or how much to use of one or the other is even worse.


I’ve known parents who have gotten the rod and staff all mixed up in their parenting.  One particular parent, for instance, disciplined her children severely for mere mistakes, faults, or shortcomings. In these instances she should have used grace, mercy and forgiveness. To make matters worse, when her children talked back to her in disrespectful ways, she gave them grace, when the rod was needed. I believe had she employed the four step progression it would have helped her greatly.


Before you decide whether to apply the rod or staff do as the Scripture implies through its progression and start off with grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  Then let this simmer within your children for awhile. If this doesn’t bring change then give them a warning, or series of warnings.  If these three steps come up empty then move onto discipline.  But don’t forget that discipline has a progression too!


This whole process will take time of course, but remember God took His time when correcting His loved ones throughout the Old and New Testaments, and has even done so with you if you look back at your own life. So don’t rush your correction, just focus on changing the heart, the four step progression will help.



The First Step of Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness

Applying the first step of grace, mercy, and forgiveness is easier for some parents than others. For those who hate to upset or trouble their kids in anyway, this step is easy to carry out. Conversely, for those where discipline is more instinctive and natural, this step is more difficult and is often bypassed in the correction process.


The importance, though, is that no matter whether the rod or staff is your preferred tool; you should exercise the staff first in most situations.  If this is a struggle for you then look to others for help, particularly those who have been successful raising children.  Ask them to keep you accountable to carry out grace, mercy, and forgiveness as your first step.  I know I needed someone to keep reminding me of this when dealing with my own children, fortunately my wife was there to do the reminding.

Watch and Wait

If the first step doesn’t seem to work right off then wait awhile before moving onto the next steps. Let what they did and how you responded slowly cook (simmer) in their hearts for awhile, just as God did with those under Mose’s leadership in the Sinai desert.   Not for forty years of course, but a time that’s long enough for them.


In my experience, I’ve found that most kids respond differently to correction according to their own personalities and bents in life. For some, this second step, Let things simmer

(Waiting and watching) was all they needed. I think this was because they simply required more time to process what they did and what they should do to make things right.


This is exactly what happened with me when I was a school superintendent a number of years ago. There was a boy in my school who had a terrible temper and was constantly hitting other students out of frustration.  Of course he was sent to me, because it was my job to discipline unruly students.  In my first meeting with him, I immediately applied the prescribed discipline for such behavior, which didn’t work. But as I got to know him, for he was in my office almost every week, I decided to forgo the official disciplinary response. Instead of punishing him I gave him a dose of grace, mercy, and forgiveness, along with a lengthy measure of waiting and watching to see what he would do in response.  At first he was a bit taken back, and didn’t know how to respond.  I think he reacted this way because he was used to being disciplined for his anger in certain ways. After several weeks of applying these first two steps,  his behavior began to change, and he was sent to my office less and less. In addition to this approach, I also made extra efforts to make contact with him on the playground. I’d ask him how he was doing, while at the same time giving him positive feedback as he controlled his temper. I even attended some of his school activities where he was involved.  I think this meant a lot to him, because he didn’t have a father at home.  At the end of the school year, the anger that once controlled him subsided.  As the years went by, especially after he made a commitment to Christ, his anger all but disappeared. I believe the second step of Letting Things Simmer had a lot to do with his heart change.


Therefore, don’t be so quick to move onto warnings and discipline if grace, mercy, and forgiveness haven’t worked, give your children a little more time to assimilate what they’ve done and how you’ve reacted. If you do then it’s likely you will end up achieving a better balance between the rod and staff.


Warning Your Children

If the first two steps don’t work, then move onto the third, which informs your children that unless they change, there will be consequences. In this warning step, be very serious and clear, stating what will happen if they do wrong or don’t change, just as God did with the people of Israel during Solomon’s day. (I Kings 9:6-7)


As you warn your children it’s very important to stay calm, because you don’t want to threaten a particular consequence while frustrated or angry.  If you do, it’s likely you will pick a punishment that doesn’t match what they’ve done wrong, or one that is too difficult to carry out.   For example, grounding them in their room for a year because they lied, came home late, or had to stay after school is a bit overboard and impractical to carry out.   Yet something like this might come out of your mouth if you are frustrated or angry.


Before you warn your children, take time and ask God to help you keep a calm spirit, no matter what they have done. When you feel He’s done His work in you, then approach your children and warn them accordingly.


In respect to following through with discipline, I had another experience with a continuously rebellious student a few years ago. He was a problem for his teachers, parents, and fellow students, and as the new administrator on the block, he was, of course, handed over to me immediately. Some hoped that I could do something with him where other’s had failed.  After surveying the situation, I saw that he’d been given a lot of grace, mercy, and forgiveness, which often times wasn’t warranted.  He was also given more than enough time to change, plenty of warnings, and some consequences.


Nothing I did worked either, not even an extra dose of grace which made him all the more devious. I therefore went immediately to step four and disciplined him on his next altercation. My sudden switch to discipline caught him by surprise and caused him to change at first.  But sadly, he soon returned to his old ways once again. So I gave him one last warning to which his parents agreed, being that if he didn’t change, he’d have to leave the school. This was very hard for him since he had spent most of his life at the school, and had many friends.  Still, even this warning didn’t work, for he continued to mess around and disobey.  So I followed through and asked him to leave.  He was stunned at first, believing I’d back down; but I didn’t!


As he got ready to leave he begged to stay, and promised he would change.  I said, “No” and sent him on his way.  I did so because a warning is worthless unless you are going to follow through with it, and besides he needed to leave for the sake of other students at school who were being affected by his behavior.


Therefore follow through with any warnings or predetermined series of warnings that you have given your children. If you say this is your last chance to change, then make sure it’s truly the last chance.  This is what God did through the Bible with His followers and it should be the same with you. (II Kings 17:13-15, 18)


On a last note, the decision I made in regard to this boy turned out best for the school and I believe for the boy as well. In respect to the school, several students and staff experienced a new calm on campus and those being negatively influenced by this student improved dramatically.  It was best for the boy too because he learned for the first time that much can be lost when warnings aren’t heeded. At this point, he’s still on the learning curve; he was recently kicked out of another school.


Discipline as a Last Step

Discipline is the last step in the four step progression, perhaps because it’s painful, sorrowful, and uncomfortable to carry out. This is why I spent an entire chapter in the book, Teachable Moments, on the Rod of Discipline. However, as difficult as it might be to work through this last step with your children,  not follow through brings even greater trouble and problems  to you and them in the long run. These greater troubles and problems may lead to outcomes such as children living lives saturated with selfishness, insubordination, deviousness, and open rebellion.


On the other hand should you discipline them when called for, quite the opposite can result.  Children who’ve been disciplined will likely grow up thinking of others first, abiding by the rules, being honest, and doing what’s right before God.  So if discipline is what you must do, then carry it out with these outcomes pictured, like God does when picturing our response to His discipline, with strengthened limbs and healed bodies.


Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:9-13


Final Thoughts

You may not be able to go through the four step progression every time when correcting your children, and shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t.  Sometimes within the course of day or week, your children will present to you more correctable situations than you can handle, particularly when they are young. If this is the case, then save the progression for the big things that need to be corrected, meanwhile keeping in mind the need to keep your rod of discipline and staff of grace, mercy, and forgiveness balanced as much as you can.


Teachable Moment

As you reflect on the guiding principles mentioned in this article please bear in mind first that balancing the rod and staff is the work of an artist not a scientist. If balancing these two were a science, then you would look at the four step progression as a pure formula to follow. Correction is not a science, but an art requiring from you a good deal of insight, inspiration, feeling, and dependence on God. Just as an artist takes different colored threads and strings and then knits them into a beautiful weaved picture, so should you when intermixing your strokes of discipline, grace, mercy, and forgiveness  into the lives your children.


To picture this, find a weaving or tapestry of any kind, one that has a clear picture in the front, but a tangle of threads on back. This illustration can include your children depending on their age, for it’s important they see that your correction is more than just getting them to behave, its building character to make them beautiful before God and others.


As you include them, don’t let them see the front of the tapestry at first, only the back with its tangled threads. Then ask them to guess what picture the threads create.  Eventually, turn the tapestry around so they can see the front

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. Then turn it sideways so they can see the front and the back at the same time. Hopefully they’ll begin to observe how the different threads from the back connect to different parts of the picture in front.  As you do this with your children, compare the threads they see to the supposed threads of discipline, grace, mercy, and forgiveness you are sewing into their lives; ones that will make them beautiful before God and others.  Perhaps in sharing this with them they will have a greater understanding when you apply grace or discipline.


Finally, if you’re not able to locate a weaving for this Teachable Moment, copy the following poem on a large piece of stiff paper. Attach or glue various strings or threads to its back, and frame it. Put the poem with its make shift threads in a place where it will remind you and your children of what you are trying to do when correcting them.

No chance has brought this trial to me,

It is God’s intended will, so let it be.

He sees what I cannot see.


Like a piece of tapestry,

From the back appears to be,

But tangled threads mixed hopelessly.


But in the front a picture fair,

Rewards the worker for his care.


You are the artist, I the frame,

Oh for the glory of Your name,

Perfect Your image on the same.

(Unknown author, rbk)


Scripture References

Verses and passages quoted within the text mostly come from the New American Standard Version of the Bible.  Some of the Scriptural quotes were shortened for the sake of space.  When I did this, I either put three periods in a row in a verse to alert you that some words had been taken out, or I put the abbreviation rbk at the end, standing for revised by Kent.


Genesis 17:1-6 1 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. 2 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.”3 Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations.5 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. 6      “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.

 Exodus 19:5-6  5‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

Genesis 16: 1-2, 4, 15-16 1Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 4 He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. 15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

Genesis 17:18-21 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” 19 But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”

Genesis 21:1-3 1 Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. 2 So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.

Romans 5: 12-14  12  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—13      for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Genesis 3: 21-23   21  The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.          22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.

Colossians 3:25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

Exodus 14:13-14, 21-23, 26, 28 13 But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. 14 “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. 22 The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. 26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.” 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained.

Exodus 16:1-4  1 Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. 2 The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.

Exodus 17:1-7 1Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.” 5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”

Exodus 33:1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’

Exodus 32:1-4,6  1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2            Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 6 So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

Numbers 11: 2, 4-6 2 The people therefore cried out to Moses… 4 The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6 but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”

Numbers 14:2-4 2 All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

Romans 8:28-30 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Exodus 32: 9-11, 13-14 9 The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. 10 “Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” 11 Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand. 13 “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will. 14 So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people. 

Deuteronomy 1:1, 3, 7, 21, 26-27, 34 1 These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Dizahab. 3 In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the Lord had commanded him to give to them, 7 ‘Turn and set your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negev and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. 21 ‘See, the Lord your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’ 26         “Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; 27      and you grumbled in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us. 34 “Then the Lord heard the sound of your words, and He was angry and took an oath, saying, 35 ‘Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers.

Joshua 1:1, 2, 5, 10-11 1 Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2 “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 5 “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11“Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, to possess it.’

John 19:38-40  38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.  39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

II Samuel 5:13 Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David.

I Kings 1:11-13 11Then Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, “Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it? 12 “So now come, please let me give you counsel and save your life and the life of your son Solomon.  13 “Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘Have you not, my lord, O king, sworn to your maidservant, saying, “Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’

II Samuel 13:10-15, 20-22 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon. 11 When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” 12 But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful thing! 14 However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.15 Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up, go away!” 20 Then Absalom her brother said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now keep silent, my sister, he is your brother; do not take this matter to heart.” So Tamar remained and was desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. 21 Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry. 22 But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar.

II Samuel 12:16-18 16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. 18 Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!”

I Kings 9:6-7 6 “But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight.

II Kings 17:13-15, 18, 20 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” 14 However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the Lord had commanded them not to do like them. 18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah. 20 The Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight.



  1. David Roper, The Son of a Passionate Heart 23rd Psalm (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Discovery Publishing House, 1994), page 28.    
  2. Fred H. Wight, Manners and Customs of Bible Lands (Chicago: Moody Press, 1953), pages 149-150.
  3. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd looks at Shepherding {Large Print} (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970), pages 99-100.
  4. David Roper, The Son of a Passionate Heart 23rd Psalm (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Discovery Publishing House, 1994), page 28.