Provoke is a transitive verb. It means, among other things, ‘to cause a reaction, usually a negative one’. A few synonyms are: exasperate, incense, enrage, exacerbate, offend, lash out into fury, make one’s blood boil, drive one mad. Not much good seen here. So, how does this happen? Most dads would say, “I love my children, I work hard, put food on the table, a roof over their head. Why would that provoke them?” Well, on the surface, without digging deeper, one would say, no reason.
One example might be; do you discipline properly, or at all? When you do, is it out of anger maybe? To punish, not correct? Children know they need proper discipline, and when they don’t receive it, they down deep are hurt. Roots of bitterness start cropping up. See, our discipline should be designed to “empower, not control’. You are training them to lead, in whatever arena God chooses for them. Without proper discipline, they cannot eventually lead.
Discipline and instruct
The verse is very clear. We discipline and we instruct. The combination is what produces fruit in our children’s lives. They go hand-in-hand. One complements the other. And for it to be effective and eternal, it needs to be “of the Lord”. The Spirit revealed the benefits of God’s word. “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3.16,17 ESV). Let the word go deep into your heart, and you will gain the wisdom and strength to discipline and instruct your children well. It’s a recipe for success.