The 5th Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.
Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”
Observations: This is the first command which speaks to how we should relate to other people. The first four speak to how we should relate to God. The rest of the commandments which follow speak to our relations with other people. This seems to be a transitional and pivotal verse. This spoken to OT Israel was a command with a promise: that their days in the promised land would be prolonged. Why is this significant?
When it is restated to the people in Deuteronomy, another aspect is added: “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you” (vs 16). The converse must also be true: if they would not honor their mothers and fathers then it would not go well with them.
-Leviticus 26:3-13…speaks of all of God’s commandments. Follow them, blessings flow
-Exodus 21:15…strike your parent, stoned to death
-Deuteronomy 21:18-21…stubborn, free-loading son should be put to death
God’s people are to take this commandment seriously! It is dishonoring to parents not to listen to them and to take advantage of their provision, not working when able to.
-Proverbs 23:22—it is not just when we are children that we should listen to our parents. As long as they are living, we should honor them by listening to them.
-Proverbs 1:7-8—Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. What follows then is listening to your parents and living a life in accordance with their teaching (they are not always there to help you make every decision). This highlights another truth about the importance of honoring parents. God has set parents up as authority figures in our lives to take care of us, and ultimately point us to HIM.
-These verses in Proverbs also speak to implications for parents. They should be seeking to teach their children to honor God. If a parent is telling you to do something which does not honor God, then we should not do it. Deuteronomy 6:7—responsibility to teach children falls on parents. Ephesians 6:4—bring children up in the fear of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1-3—Paul cites the 5th commandment in his exhortation to the church. We should obey our parents “in the Lord.” Those who will equip us to do battle: Ephesians 6:10-17. There may be a time when someone other than our biological parents serves as a spiritual parent to us. We should heed these peoples’ instruction.
The command as given in Exodus spoke of the result of honoring one’s mother and father: a good life in the promised land.
Our promise is the same, but of a heavenly land: Hebrews 12:14, 25-29 “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord…See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’ This expression, ‘Yet once more’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.” Pursuing peace with our parents would mean honoring them—listening and heeding the wisdom and instruction, especially as it pertains to following the Lord. It will go well with us as long as we are looking for the unshakeable kingdom of God.
Honoring our parents is ultimately honoring God, our Father.
He honored His earthly parents his whole life: Luke 2:51; John 19:26 (made sure Mary was taken care of)
He honored His heavenly father: John 5:19-24. The way for us to receive eternal life is to honor Jesus. This is what parents should be teaching us; what we should be teaching our children.
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!