Week of: April 11, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
(12) " Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
Honoring the Parental Purpose -
I have so put off writing on this subject because I have not always practiced the first part of Moses’ instructions found in Exodus 20. It would not shock me to learn that I am not alone in this, so I’ll just pray that together we can learn something new. I would like for us to remember right out of the gate that when Moses was speaking, it was not his words, but God’s words. Words that most of us have come to know as the Ten Commandments. Accepting this truth has convicted me to study and learn how you do this “honoring” thing, when your heart doesn’t always feel it. It has taken me a very long time to get to this place, but I now realize that I have been very wrong in my thinking.
Like some of you, I can relate to growing up in a bit of a dysfunctional environment. Although I will not share specifics, I did grow up with a sense that my parents let me down. After my spiritual rebirth ten years ago I truly wrestled with this portion of the Ten Commandments in Exodus. I would think about my relationship with my parents, or the hurt that happened throughout the years, and I would convince myself that this Scripture could not possibly apply to me. You have to be honorable to be honored, right? I would say things like “God, you know what happened, you couldn’t possibly mean I have to honor them.” May I share the response I received through the validity of Scripture as a whole? Because God said it, I would have to make the choice to either discard it or obey it.
Choice to obey it, how would this look? Maybe the wisdom comes from concentrating on the second part of this instruction, “that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” In a nutshell, I think what this says is if you desire that your life go well, honor your parents. Not because of what they have done or what they have not done, not because of how you feel or your lack of feelings, but simply because God said so. According to the Life’s Application commentary this is the first commandment with a promise attached. We have to decide individually whether the promise is worth obeying.
What was it that Moses wanted his people to understand? What is it that God wanted them to know? What does God want us to hear from His Word today?
Life’s Application Commentary:
“To live in peace for generations in the Promised Land, the Israelites would need to respect authority and build strong families. But what does it mean to “honor” parents? Partly, it means speaking well of them and politely to them. It also means acting in a way that shows them courtesy and respect (but not to obey them if this means disobedience to God). It means following their teaching and example of putting God first. Parents have a special place in God’s sight. Even those who find it difficult to get along with their parents are still commanded to honor them.”
Ok, maybe you didn’t have parents that taught you the example of putting God first. Maybe you didn’t receive affection from them, or maybe you have experienced some type of scars from abuse. I get it, I really do. But, if we’re to obey God we have to consider why He places such value on this relationship. Think about this for a moment. Could it be that one basis for honoring our parents comes from the mere fact that they have fulfilled their purpose according to God? They were the vessels that God used to give you life. The following article by John W. Ritenbaugh of the Berean helped me to better understand this statement. John explains:
“God wants us to honor our parents because the family is the basic building block of His Kingdom. God describes the Kingdom in family terms. He is the Father, Jesus is the Son, and the church is the Son's bride. We are called sons, daughters, and children of the Kingdom. We are created and being created as sons in His image. God also uses terms like "beget," "born," and "grow up." Immediately after creating Adam and Eve and announcing He was creating them in His image (Genesis 1:26), God established the first institution: the family through marriage. The conclusion is inescapable. The family would play a major role in creating man in God's image. Regarding marriage, family, and divorce, Malachi 2:15 says: But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring! Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
The godly principles learned and the character built within the human family are, upon conversion, transferable into the spiritual family relationship in the Kingdom of God. Parents are His representatives, and we honor and revere the creative majesty and power of God when we keep this commandment. God expects whatever we learned from honoring our parents to transfer into our relationship with Him.”
I do pray you heard the words “God expects.” When we obey God, He will bless our obedience.
Father, forgive me for taking so long to get this lesson. I clearly see that my parents were your choice in creating me and this deserves to be reverenced. It really doesn’t matter what others have done or have not done, what matters is that I learn to obey your instructions, especially since I desire for it to go well with me and future generations to come. In Jesus’ name, I lift up this prayer. Amen.
Additional Scripture Reading: Joel 2:25
Food for thought:
Colossians 3:25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no
“The lessons and principles learned from honoring, respecting,
and obeying parents will result in a society stable enough to
promote development of the whole person.”
In Christ by grace,