Monday, July 7, 2008

Honoring Parents

"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." - Ex. 20:12

What does this commandment have to do with the "last days"? Very little it would seem at first glance. And yet, this command from God - this - the 5th of the 10 commandments, has a lot to do with society as a whole, and specifically in the last days. Let me explain...

When God gave the 10 words (we call it the 10 commandments, but in Hebrew it's the 10 "words") to Moses, we are told that He (God) wrote them with His own finger.

"And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." - Ex. 31:18

God wrote them on "two" tables of stone - presumably 5 on one, and 5 on the other (this is how it has traditionally been assumed). It has been said that the 10 commandments can be divided into two categories - the first half dealing with mankind's relationship to God, and the other half being mankind's relationship to each other. It is interesting then, that if one was to evenly divide the commandments, the commandment to honor one's Father and Mother would end up on the side dealing with mankind's relationship to God!

Paul makes an interesting observation in Eph. 6:2,3 - "Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." Paul points out that this commandment comes with a promise, and that it is the first commandment with a promise - "that it may be well with thee...."

Understanding then, the fact that this commandment was written by the finger of God Himself; that it would be found on the first "table" of the 10 commandments (if indeed that is how they were given - half on one table, half on the other) dealing with mankind's relationship with God directly (ultimately, ALL of the commandments concern mankind's relationship with God); and that it is the first commandment with "promise", we need to view it in light of the times for which we live.

It is no secret that there is an effort to get the 10 commandments out of the public display in many places (as if that would eliminate God's law - Paul reveals in the book of Romans that it is written on mankind's heart - one can escape God's law about as easily as one can escape his own mind!). This is no surprise (disheartening - but not surprising), as the bible clearly tells us that in the latter days there would be an increase of rebellion against God; that there would be a "falling away"; that because lawlessness would abound, the love of many would grow cold; and among these signs, and many others, Paul tells us in 2 Timothy ch.3 that one of the signs in the "last days" would be "disobedie[nce] to parents" (see also Matthew 24, Romans 1, et al).

I believe that so many issues that we are facing as a society and as individuals are adversely affected by our respect of, or disregard of the 5th commandment. God's law is a whole, complete unit, so of course when we neglect any part, we will see a breakdown among society, but I see the command to honor Father and Mother as almost a "bridge" command (if you will) between the 1st four directly dealing with mankind's relationship to God, and the last five directly relating to mankind's relationship with each other. It is so important (I.M.H.O.) that we will spend the next few posts looking at this commandment, and our responsibility to it, both young and old alike.



Anonymous said...

I agree that it is very important for us to honor our parents. As well as keep in line and follow the rest of the ten commandments. That's odd that people say that if you divide them into groups of five that the first half deals with mankind's relationship to God while the second half deals with their relationship to each other, I have never heard that before. It certainly gives one something to think about.

JRM said...

Usually people divide the commandments into 4 and 6 actually, but I thought that it was interesting that if you divided them evenly, that's how it would come out, with the command to honor Father and Mother connected to the first four dealing directly with God.