In this sermon, Pastor Babij focuses on the fifth of the Ten Commandments, the command to honor one’s mother and father. Pastor Babij first points out this command’s transitional position within the Ten Commandments, moving from responsibilities toward God to responsibilities toward men. Pastor then explains the two key components of this particular rule:
1) The Meaning of the Fifth Commandment
2) The Motivation of the Fifth Commandment
Pastor concludes by highlighting how Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who faithfully obeyed this commandment during His life and death and how believers are to emulate Jesus with their own parents.
Let’s turn to Exodus 20:12 where it says:
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
Lord, as we come before You, we humble ourselves before Your word. I pray that You would take this passage to teach us not only what you taught the nation of Israel, but even Lord what the church needs to know about the truth found in this passage of Scripture. I pray Lord for the young people that they would hear the things mentioned here in Scripture, and that it would bring clarity to their mind, conviction to their heart, and practice to their words, actions, and deeds. I pray, Lord, that through it, they may reap the benefits of what is taught in this commandment. I pray, Lord, that Your name would receive the glory. I thank You for this in Christ’s name, Amen.
We have been looking at the Ten Commandments, and they spell out for us our relationship with God, who is Holy. The first commandment is that we are to recognize that he alone is to have first place in our hearts and our lives. Secondly, that we should never make any attempt to make any visible representation of the invisible God. To do so would lead ourselves into idolatry.
Thirdly, we are responsible to take the name of God and live it out in the world and treat the name of God wherever we go and whatever situation we’re in with honor, respect, and reverence. That it would specifically be seen in our thoughts, words, and our deeds.
The fourth commandment, which I spent three weeks on, is our responsibility of one day in seven to attend to God’s honor and our soul. Not one day that we come up with, but one day that God has come up with. For Israel, it was Saturday, the Sabbath or day of rest. For us, it is Sunday, the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Also, we celebrate our rest in Christ, who has fulfilled the Sabbath, He becomes our rest.
The Lord’s Day, Sunday, is a special day. It is a time that we rest from the temporal cares of our life where Christians can enjoy their relationship with Jesus Christ, and their present and future rest. Also, the Lord’s Day, Sunday, is a special day where we voluntarily assemble ourselves with other Christians for solemn worship, for happy service to God, for fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, for a time of praise, and for spiritual activity.
The Lord’s Day, Sunday, is a special day where we come and celebrate the resurrection of Christ and rejoice in our new life in him. We are reminded that we are born anew by faith and thank God for the miracle of redemption that He has performed in us. The Lord’s Day, Sunday, is a special day where we come and offer to God, as an act of worship, our very lives, our wealth, and our service.
Today, we come to this fifth commandment found in 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.
This commandment is referred to as a transitional commandment. It’s smacked right in the middle of The Commandments. This is because the family structure lays at the foundation of all other forms of authority and obedience within culture. Parents were and still are given the responsibility to teach their children how to live within the framework and structure of the law or the word of God. For the Jew, the law of Moses, which included the moral, judicial, and ceremonial. For the Christian, it’s the law of Christ.
This is to be done in the context of family and community. The conscious reality when we come to the fifth commandment is that we, as human beings, were created in the image of God and are responsible for our character. We are responsible for our actions. We are justly held accountable for our habits, words, and deeds. This fifth commandment is the bridge between our responsibility God-ward, in the first four commandments, and our responsibility man-ward.
Parents do, in some sense, occupy to their children the place of God. I was not asked whether I would come into existence or not. No one consulted me. No one consulted you. That question was determined for me by my parents. Of course, the sovereignty of God and the providence of God were in play when all those things took place.
Just think for a moment: much of what and who we are comes from our parents. There is this mysterious relationship between our moral life and the moral life of our parents. There is equally a connection between our physical and intellectual life and their life. Our voice, the length and shape of our limbs, our height, the color of our hair, our strength, clearness of our site, the soundness of our brain, our muscular vigor, our whatever constitutes our weakness, or our power has largely been determined for us by what our parents were.
Also, we were and are dependent upon them for the food and clothing provided to us. Care that they have given us. If not, we would have died. We are dependent on their wisdom or their whim. On their harshness or their kindness. For our happiness or lack of it. For the influences, which gave the original direction and form to our development of our character. Of course, parents have a lot to do with the development of their children’s character.
Here’s the profundity of the fifth commandment: we alone are responsible for our actions. If you notice our text, it says:
Honor your father and your mother
This is the first place that we will learn how to interact with others. Whether we come from a good family or not so good, we are still responsible as to how we respond to our parental relationship. The ultimate idea of the relationship between parents and children is found in the relationship between God and all mankind. Honoring parents and God are closely related. You cannot separate those two things.
Now, let’s look at this fifth commandment and begin to look at the meaning of it. The meaning of the fifth commandment would be the first thing. If you notice the passage of Scripture starts out with the word, it says:
Honor your father and mother.
To give honor to where honor is due. It is the Hebrew word, “kavod,” which means heavy or to be weighed down. In this case, it means that the parent is to be weighed down with respect. Meaning, honoring your father and mother is a very serious and weighty commandment. To honor one’s parents means much more than obedience and includes obedience.
Further, it is to give your parents a place of superiority. To hold them in high esteem. The parental relationship, according to Kevin DeYoung, in his book on the Ten Commandments, says:
The parental relationship is the first and most important relationship. It is a relationship that will shape all other relationships. Of course, there are all kinds of exceptions. Good parents to bad kids. Bad parents to good kids.
Of course, we know that the sovereignty and providence of God comes into that. We live in a cursed world. When we start having kids, no one gives us a book that says this is exactly how you should do it. If you do it this way, it’s all going to turn out right. However, we do have a book called the Bible, and the Bible is a book that not just teaches children to respect their parents, but the parents should have learned that. If they did not learn that, maybe they weren’t believers.
If they didn’t learn it, now they’re learning it after the fact, and it is important for us all to learn this principle and to pass it on to younger people. Older women passing it on to younger women, and men passing it on to young men. We can get into our own minds and in the minds of our children what God expects of us.
Parents, who are absent and have pushed off their responsibilities to someone else, are worthy of neither respect nor honor. Such disregard not only damages the community, but the church. Also a child’s natural bent is to defy parental authority, which is to be dealt with, by the parents, at the youngest age. Right before any kind of disobedience or rebellion gets ingrained in the child’s character, the parents are to take care of that.
In fact, when a parent disciplines their child, they are disciplining their child really for two reasons. Number one, disobeying their voice. Number two, any kind of rebellion that’s already in their heart. We need to steer them away from their natural bent to sin in particular areas. Parents are the ones that are observing their children, teaching their children what they ought to learn, and heading off at the pass of any kind of bad behavior that could be ingrained in their character where the child would make a ruin of their life later on.
A parent is to do it while they are pliable, tender shoots, and can be molded and shaped in any direction. The goal is to move your child, as a parent, from being a child that could be naive or foolish to someone who can be wise. Someone who could give honor to their parents, and then ultimately would give honor to God.
Parents, you can get your kids to listen to your voice and to follow your lead, which will then be transferred over to the Lord. In that child’s heart, it is a willful honor and obedience to the God, who has created the heaven and the earth, who has given us the plan of redemption, and in whom they are responsible to for their actions, words, and thoughts.
Nonetheless, this is how God set up the design of things. When we follow them, we please our Lord. When we don’t follow them, we displease our Lord. God places a special value on parental authority. Parents, you do have the power, and I have said that before in my messages. Use that power over your kids. If you still have young kids, use that power that God has given you, and the authorities God has given you to direct that child, to discipline that child, to admonish that child, and to teach that child what it means to live a sober and serious life before God.
The parent and child relationship are the first place where we learn what it is to have someone in authority over us. It’s where we learn to listen to people. It’s where children learn how to obey even when they are told things to do, they don’t want to do. It is the place children learn how to honor and respect others, and what it means to worship God and to carry out the first four commandments.
Remember, this fifth commandment is the transitional commandment the other four come before it, so it’s really about God and how we should worship God first by properly giving Him the honor and day of worship. Then, parents are the ones who now teach that and live it out before them.
It’s not just sitting down and having a Bible study every evening, but it’s living it out in your words, thoughts, deeds, and your actions. Also, in what you do with your schedule and habits. Your kids are learning all those particular things.
The meaning of this fifth commandment is one in which we are honoring our parents with positive actions. First, it involves listening to our parents. Honoring your father and mother means that the first thing we’re to do is listen as it says in Proverbs 23:22:
Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old.
The Scripture is telling us that the first thing a child needs to do is listen, right? When a child is born in the world, they’re listening and gathering information. The first thing a parent is to do is to direct that child in what they need to hear, and the child is now listening. They listen for a long time, and even before they say a few words. A lot of diapers are changed, a lot of words are spoken, and they’re listening.
The mother and father are part of this process. According to Scripture, the responsibility is not just laying on one and not the other day. It’s laid on both of them as their authorities that God’s given them in the first part of their life. They are involved with listening.
Finally, it involves adhering to what they’re listening to, which are two different things. I can listen to you, But that doesn’t mean I’m going to put into practice what I’m listening to, so secondly, it is adhering to the teaching. As the parent is communicating to the child, the child has been listening all along, but are they going to do what you are telling them to do?
You are the authority, so you can tell your children what to do and what not to do. As a parent, you must be tough and consistent. You have to put these things into practice every single day before your child. They have to know your voice inflections. They have to know when you are fooling around with them and when you are serious. The rules should be: when you speak the first time and you’re serious, they should come the first time.
If they don’t come the first time, there is that element of rebellion brewing in their little heart. If you let them go, then they will think your words are not serious and that you don’t really mean it the first time. You meet the tenth time, or when your voice gets louder and you’re yelling. If you’re yelling, you’re no longer in control, the kid is in control. Proverbs 1:8-9 says:
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; 9Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck.
When a child is obedient to the instruction of their father and the teaching of their mother, it’s a beautiful sight to see. It’s a wreath on their head and ornaments around their neck. Obedience and honor to parents is a beautiful sight for people who are looking on and evaluating a child’s character. That kid has a good character, a good outlook on life, and there is something going on in that kid’s life.
The best way to show yourself a fool is to think your parents are fools. Of course, this is what happens with children. The Book of Proverbs reiterates and admonishes to honor one’s parents extolling them as fountains of wisdom. That’s what you are, parents. You are a fountain of wisdom. Proverbs 10:1 says:
The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.
Obedience and honor foster self-discipline, which, in turn, brings about a stability and even a longevity, quality, or well-being about life. It starts with the parents and the child honoring the parents. So, we honor the parents by positive actions of listening, obeying, and putting into practice what you’re listening to.
Secondly, we honor our parents by avoiding negative actions. There are at least five negative actions that are mentioned in the Old Testament that ought to be considered by us as parents and children. You have parents, so if you’re listening, these are very important for you not only to avoid completely, but also to watch out in your life. The first one is found in Exodus 21:17 where it says:
He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
First, it would be of not cursing them. The severe threat, in this passage, posed by violation of this commandment functioned as a deterrent for those who would have a rebellious nature to them. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but my parents were good parents and we lived in a very peaceful home. We never cursed at each other. We treated each other with kindness and those kinds of things. However, they didn’t have the principles of Proverbs in my home, so things did get out of hand once in a while.
Nonetheless, when I would go over my friend’s house and I would see how he would talk to his father, I would think how my father would never put up with that. They would call him old man and derogatory names, and I leave they’re saying that’s not good. I was just a kid then, and as I would walk home, I would think how I was glad that wasn’t going on in my house.
When kids curse their parents, it’s not a pretty sight. It’s like the lowest you can be. That is definitely a thing that the Bible is telling to not do. Secondly, do not treat your parents with disrespect or dishonor. Deuteronomy 27:16 says:
Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
Deuteronomy means second law. It was a reiteration of the commandments given to Moses in Exodus, but it was an expansion of them and how it works out in practical life. Every year, the whole congregation to come together and they would read out the law, and every time Moses would be done with a section, the people would say, “Amen.” Thus, you are never to treat your parents with disrespect.
Thirdly, you are not to steal from them. Proverbs 28:24 says:
He who robs his father or his mother And says, “It is not a transgression,” Is the companion of a man who destroys.
Meaning, a crooked perversion of what is right is a transgression. The action of a child to disregard his parents’ possessions is also going to be in violation of the next couple commandments: thou shalt not steal.
My mom is getting up there in age, and I have to read these articles on elder law. One of the things I’m discovering is when a parent gets to a certain age, their children start robbing them and taking things from them that really don’t belong to them. Sometimes, when parents get to a certain age, they have a lot more than you have, so you have to be very careful.
When you’re taking care of a parent, they’re starting to fail, they can no longer write out checks, and you have to take care of their bank accounts, you must be very careful that you do not steal from your parents in anyway. That would be definitely dishonoring to them. They may never know it, but it’s not about them anymore. It’s about your relationship before God. God knows it. Therefore, I am honoring my parents because God says to.
Of course, we come from different situations, different context, and different power parental styles. Maybe your parent wasn’t even there for you. Nonetheless, I’m talking about a parent who’s been around, who’s had influence in your life, who has cared for you, who has been there through thick and thin, and ups and downs. Thus, we are not to steal from our parents.
Next, we are not to strike them. Proverbs 21:15 says:
The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But is terror to the workers of iniquity.
In the Old Testament, it was very severe if somebody did this and if it was a habit in their life. Most of these characteristics would be habitual. This is the character of the person. This person is always striking people. A son or daughter who strikes or curses his or her father or mother was to be stoned to death. That’s pretty serious.
It would upset the whole community and the whole nation. If you let this Rebellion go on, or this cancer go on, it will take over. Then, the younger kids growing up would think they can take that example too, so that bad example would be embedded in their character.
If you let that go, then you become an enabler of a person who has a bad character, which will destroy any community and any nation. If all you have is rebellion in the character, it will destroy a county. Thus, we’re to avoid these things.
The next thing would be that we are not to flagrantly disobey our parents. Again, a son or a daughter, who persistently disobeys parents, were to be stoned. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 says:
If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. 20“They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21“Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.
The motivation for the children is: if I persist in that attitude, that could happen to me. Again, the responsibility that a child has, as they’re growing up, is to honor their parents. This is the way they do it in a positive way, and they can also avoid the negative where their sin nature would take them.
Meaning, the general principle was disobedience and dishonor promote a lack of discipline, which in turn brought instability into the community, shortened life, and a lack of well-being. That all evaporates within the context of family and community when Rebellion is allowed to go on.
There’s an obvious difficulty that arises from this subject. Some young people may say today that their parents are not lovable, therefore they cannot love them. Some may say that they are not wise, so therefore I cannot respect them. Some may say they are unreasonable, selfish, and have vices of temper and speech. Therefore, it is impossible for me to honor them.
There are not a few children, in our day, that are inclined to take this position. At first, hearing this could seem to be reasonable enough. If the tables are turned on the children, would they want their parents or guardians to judge them with that same standard? The answer to that would be no, they would not.
What would happen if your parents had given you only as much affection and care as you seem to deserve when you were not very lovable, helpless, very needy, and – for some – very troublesome. Happily, most of our Christian fathers and mothers – even if they were not but they were in the sense pretty decent people – would think this is a gift from God.
The honest truth about most of us was that we were very plain. With somewhat cloudy intelligence, our tempers were far from likable. On top of these, we were very selfish and self-centered. As one pastor had concluded, we were demons in diapers.
However, our parents did love us the best way they could. Just the way we were because we were their children. Their love really transfigured us. They loved us in spite of our faults and our shortcomings. Young people, your parents, who have lived in this world 20 or 30 years longer than yourself, have found out some things that you don’t know anything about. If you are silly enough to dispense all their experience, then you will suffer for your folly.
However, according to Scripture, it says honor your father and your mother. Do not express the habit of contempt if your parents are not what they ought to be, if they’re not as smart as you think they are to be, or if they have certain prejudices that you think should not be there. They do know more than you do, and you might possibly see in them, as you look at them properly, a power and a wisdom, which you, as a youth, have not experienced yet. You will discover that their experience does mean something, and they know more than you about life.
Bottom line, if parental authority came to be generally disregarded in any nation, in any country, in any community, or in any family, the whole structure of a community, society, and country would dissolve. It would be gone. In fact, the Old Testament prophet, Micah, speaks of eight extreme declines in the order of family relationships, friendships, and even in neighborhoods when this particular attitude takes over. Actually, you get to the point where you cannot trust anybody. Micah 7:5-6 says:
Do not trust in a neighbor; Do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom Guard your lips. 6For son treats father contemptuously, Daughter rises up against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household.
When society is taken over by an attitude where one does not honor parents anymore, they do not regard God as an authority in their life and they despise those things. As a result, nobody can trust anybody. To despise those who brought them into the world and nurtured them is a sign of the times even today. In the New Testament, Paul tells young Timothy, who’s going to pastor, in 2 Timothy 3:1-4:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
As soon as you have disobedience to your parents, you already have people that don’t love God. They love pleasure, so those two things go together. They’re very closely connected. There are examples, in Scripture, of parental displeasure over the action of their children.
In Genesis, Jacob fears Rebecca’s cunning plan that his mom could offend his father. In Genesis 26, Esau’s foreign marriage is unpleasant to his parents. Ruben commits incest and is cursed by his father. Recorded in 1 Samuel, with Eli being a priest, his sons did not know the Lord and we’re disobedient to him. Absalom, David’s son, steals the heart of Israel and invades his father’s harem.
In Genesis 9, Ham’s affair violated the fifth commandment because of the disrespect he had against his father. The Gospels bring up what Jesus said about the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day teaching the word of God. They are the ones who were leading the nation, and teaching fathers and mothers how to be parents from the Torah. As the Lord walked the earth, Jesus took issue with them because they found a way to subtly withhold support from their parents when they got older. He calls them out for breaking their way through the commandments. Mark 7:6, Jesus says:
And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
Their lips give the external impression of devotion, but their hearts and lives are a great distance from God. In other words, Jesus illustrates their error and exposes the sin of hypocrisy. Jesus really indicts the Pharisees and scribes self-invented tradition and presses them with a very personal example on how their system of rules and regulations put lesser things before weightier things like the fifth commandment. Mark 7:10-11:
For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; 11but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God)
The term “coroban” is to say given to God or sacred to God. If someone wished to dedicate some of his money or property to God, he dedicated and said coroban. Once given to God, it could never again be used for any ordinary or secular purposes. So then, if father or mother needed help, some would declare coroban, which is saying I can’t help you. In other words they were saying:
Sorry. I cannot give you any help because nothing I have is available because all of its dedicated to God.
Jesus says in Mark 7:12:
you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother.
You put yourself in a place that you don’t have anything put aside so you can help out when help is called for, so Jesus is saying that they have abolished the authority. Not only of the fifth commandment, but of the very word of God. Then, He says in Mark 7:13:
thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.
He was only giving one example of many things they’ve done wrong. Any regulation, which prevented a person from giving help where help was needed, was nothing less than a contradiction to the law of God. Jesus shows here that rigid adherence to the traditional law can actually mean disobedience to the law of God. Adding things, like your own traditions, as equal to the word of God diminishes and even cancels out Scripture. Therefore, you can’t even do what God asked you to do because of your own foolish philosophy of life.
Jesus rebukes the religious leaders of the nation concerning the fifth commandment. If they were doing it, could you imagine what was happening on the lower rungs of society. When Jesus comes, His message to the religious leaders are that they hypocrites, vipers, and whitewashed walls. Inside they are nothing but dead men’s bones. You have no life of God in your soul. That’s a great indictment. They had the word of God and they didn’t have to go there.
That is the meaning of this fifth commandment flushed out, which brings us to the motivation that is found in this commandment. Again, Exodus 20:12 says:
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
The motivation is that of a better quality of life. Honoring parents brings goodness into one’s life. In fact, the honoring of one’s parents leads to a lengthening of one’s days. The same result that ensues for fearing God. Proverbs 10:27 says:
The fear of the LORD prolongs life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
Living long in the land was more than just chronology. The phrase really has to do with abundant life and quality of life. If you want to enjoy the full blessing that God has for you in the Promised Land, then you’ll listen to your mom and dad. That’s really the bottom line.
Kids, if you want to enjoy life, Listen to your mom and dad. If they are believers and they know the word of God, they know way more than you know. They have the Word, they have experience, they have age, and they can direct you in the right path. They have your best interest in mind. Not only that, but they could make your life go very smoothly. Your home is enjoyable. When you grow up and want to have some education, they may help you out with that.
They will direct your life. They’ll put you on the path so you can be an independent, productive citizen of society, and you will go out into the world with an attitude where you know what you are to believe, you know who you are, and you know the blessing that you had with your parents. Therefore, you are experiencing abundant life.
God is promising you a better quality of life if you listen to your parents. If you don’t obey your parents, you will not. This fifth commandment is transferred over to the New Testament. Ephesians 6:1-3 says:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.
Remember, it doesn’t say nation or the Promised Land. It says the earth. When Paul applies the commandment to the Christian readers, he omits any reference to the land of Israel and universalizes it to the promise that you may live long on the earth. Wherever you may live on the earth, this principle applies to you, and because it applies to you, then you are the one who is to receive the promise.
First of all, we see that the picture is a picture of a child who starts to learn God’s commands for the first time. This is how a Spirit-filled child responds to his parents. A Spirit-filled child, who is obeying and honoring his parents, reaps the promise and the blessing that goes with it.
A promise is something that has positive characteristics to it, and it creates hope and anticipation. Honoring your father and mother is the first commandment with a promise. It’s like when a father is promising his children a big, old sloppy banana split at the end of a hard day’s. If you get through this day, we’re going to have the biggest banana split with everything whatever you want on it.
In turn, it creates in the child a desire and an anticipation that if I do this good day’s work, then I’m going to get that big, old banana split. Now, I don’t know if you like Banana Splits. I don’t know of anybody who doesn’t like that, but that would be a motivation for me. I tell you that right now, I want that banana split. That’s what we have here in Scripture: we have the promise that if you obey your mom and dad, the Lord will give you a banana split… I’m sure that one will get some mileage.
The promise creates desire. Kids, when you honor your mom and dad, you actually gain respect, trust, and freedom. The freedom that you actually crave comes from obedience, not disobedience. It comes from honoring your parents and then honoring the Lord, not from rebellion. Rebellion works against you. Disobedience works against you. Honoring your parents and God works for you. It’s a positive thing.
It says in Deuteronomy to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes, which I am commanding you today for your good. I’m telling you these things for your good, so you can live a happy, peaceful, and enjoyable life. The main teaching of Ephesians 6:3 is perfectly plain. This divine command is coupled with the divine assurance of blessing to all by whom it is obeyed, so that you may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.
A second thing that we could observe here is that the onus is put on the one making the promise, which is God. The Lord keeps His promise, so God has to deliver on His promise, which really causes an atmosphere of also mutual trust. A child learns to trust God. If I honor my parents, then the Lord blesses me. The children will learn to trust in the Lord and the word of God early in their life.
Another observation is that a young person would be motivated to go on to listen to the voice of God, the rest of the commandments, and the rest of the word of God. They will pursue more of the knowledge of God and the whole divine revelation that’s been given to them. Learning that God, who has revealed Himself to His creatures, in the word of God, and in creation, has from the beginning taken care of His children by His own hand. He cares for their welfare and makes known to them His will and marks out to them the way to be happy. This is the way to be happy.
So then, a child learns early that listening and obeying to those in authority over them is beneficial and also becomes motivational. I’m motivated to do this because God says to do it, which brings tremendous blessing to the one who actually does it. The Lord looks down on those who keep His word with pleasure, and He smiles upon kids who practice obedience.
Thank God for such a promise as this. Everybody knows obeying is not easy. Sometimes it means obeying when you don’t understand. Sometimes it involves obedience when your personal desire is indirect opposition to your parents’ desires.
Yet, if You honor God, then you must honor your parents’ desires. Not sometimes or when you think you are, but always. Of course, if your parents are telling you to do something opposite of what God says to do, then that’s a different story. That’s when you learn to have discernment to know if my parents are telling me to do something that’s illegal, something that is dishonoring to Him, then that’s where I disobey. Unless you obey God, then that is not the way to go.
Kids, mark it down, obedience comes easier when there is proper respect for your parents Meaning, we have the reward of an abundant life. Proverbs 3:2 says:
For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you.
According to a man named Douglas Harris, who wrote a book on the Biblical concept of peace, said:
Shalom (which is the word peace in our passage of scripture) includes harmonious relationships within the family. Payment of all debts. The collection of all loans. It means rewards or wages. Ultimately, even a right relationship with God, which comes through Jesus Christ, our peace.
For a wise person, they receive the peace of God, which will be, length of days or abundant life. Also, in Proverbs, when a wise man has a controversy with the foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs. There is no rest with a foolish person. They don’t experience the rest and the blessing that comes from obedience to parents and God.
They experience the unrest of their own disobedience and their own rebellion. That’s why they always have ants in their pants. They never seem to rest in anything. They’re always looking for something else to do. Usually, some trouble to be in.
Remember, this is not a promise of long life in the world. It could be. It’s not a promise of life in the world in every instance as a result of obedience to God or every obedient person will live to a ripe, old age. The general tendency is that keeping the divine precepts issue in the prolongation of life and the preservation of mental, spiritual, and health. In other words, a quality-of-life.
Obedience of children to wise and loving parents results in habits of industry, self-control, self-respect, faithfulness, kindness, and worship tour the Lord, which is an absolute guaranteed of the success of a continuance of life that has quality to it.
Why would somebody have quality who decides to put this to practice? That person lives in the realm where the word of God is desired, delighted, honored, and practiced. They live in the realm of obedience where obedience is actually practice. They live in the realm of sobriety and the realm of temperance. They have balance in all things in their life.
They are a people of hard work. They have contentment because of putting these things into practice. Their tempers and their passions are controlled by God’s spirit. Sexual fidelity is practiced. Integrity, kindness, and love are practiced. The worship of the Lord is practiced. Not only on a Sunday, but on a daily basis in their own heart and mind before God.
They are reading the word of God, putting what they’re learning into practice, and wanting to honor God in all the relationships they have because they know what they’re doing. Prayer to the Lord becomes regular. Preaching is heard regularly and practiced. They learn and they want to learn sanctifying truth. They want to serve the brethren. They want to fellowship, and they want to contribute to the growth of the body and the advancement of the Gospel. They’re concerned about people’s souls.
All these and more have a way of preventing the wear and tear of the constitution and give a general prosperity and well-being of a person who pursues God’s wisdom. In all of this, is God’s wisdom.
Lastly, there is the reward of a wise life. Really, it is leading to this: raising up a child that’s wise, not perfect. Not a child who never makes a mistake or never falls off the bench, but a wise child. They get it.
They understand from honoring their parents, learning from the word of God, and following them. They’re learning things and they’re growing older. They are starting to mature and starting to put into practice the things they’ve learned. Proverbs 15:20 says:
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.
Also, Proverbs 17:21 says:
He who sires a fool does so to his sorrow,
And the father of a fool has no joy.
The foolish son brings grief to his mother. She sees his foolish choices or hurtful choices are ripening into character and into destiny. In other words, he or she is not behaving in accordance with what she taught them. It could be the case where a child will grow up and they will rebel against the wisdom that a parent had given their child.
Nonetheless, the joy and gladness are of a parent who sees a wise child and who definitely knows that their children are putting into practice what they taught them, yet imperfectly. Proverbs 23:25 says:
Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.
As she sees you grow up and become responsible and dependent on the Lord for living your life, and who learns how to walk in the Spirit, not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Consequently, when young people obey, several positive things take place. They learn how to avoid much conflict. You can’t avoid all conflict, but much of it.
They make their parents glad. They become that beautiful picture of a young person who honors their parents. You feel glad yourself. You avoid dangers and difficulties that your parents foresee, but you can’t because your youth and lack of experience. You learn to please God and reap the benefits of what that means. You learn to enjoy life, the life that God has given you, and you become increasingly thankful for it. You grow into a wise and productive person.
Young people, if you haven’t been doing well in this area, then today, show your parents, show your mom, and show your dad that you mean business. Prove it to them by practicing it every day. It may mean that you must come and repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Maybe you have not done that yet. It may mean that you need to yield yourself to the Holy Spirit of God’s control if you are a believer. Also, that he may be able to give you the power to live as an instrument of righteousness in this world.
Let me just say this: if there is one ultimate example, in Scripture, of someone who kept the fifth commandment was Jesus Christ. He is our ultimate example and it happened when He was just 12 years old. Mary, Joseph, and their whole caravan went to Jerusalem for the holy days. As the days were over and they were heading back home, Jesus and His parents got separated.
Mary and Joseph thought they were with other family members and part of the Caravan, and Jesus was still back in Jerusalem talking with the elders in the temple. When Mary and Joseph realized that he wasn’t there and Mary Joseph could not find Him in the midst of the Caravan, they headed back to Jerusalem and found Him in Temple talking to the elders.
When they found Him and directed Him to come with them, Jesus’ attitude continued in subjection to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart, and Jesus kept increasing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and men. Jesus honored His parents as a 12-year-old. Maybe that’s the height of the switch between being just a child in the home and independence. That’s a crucial time, and it shows that He obeyed.
Then, in manhood, Jesus at His death on the Cross showed honor to His widowed Mother by entrusting her to John’s care. John 19:25-27 says:
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.
Jesus becomes the example of what it means to fulfill the fifth commandment. Let’s pray:
Lord, thank You for the word of God. Lord, it has been a tremendous blessing to us. Lord, these Commandments are profound. We know, Lord, that they could only have come from You because we would not have narrowed things down to ten important principles and commandments to live by. If we live these out, then everything else seems to fall into place properly. I pray, Lord, that You would give us wisdom every day as Your people, and to put these things in the practice. I pray that young people would learn that honoring their mom and dad is actually a benefit for them. I pray that it would be a motivation for them, the promise that is connected to that for an abundant and good life. Lord, use these things to build Your people strong, to build a church strong, to build a community strong, and to build the nation strong as Your church puts these things into practice. I pray this in Your name, Amen.