Disciple Hour: Exodus 20:12


12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

The first four commandments teach us how we are to love and honor God.  The last six show us how we are to relate to one another.  It’s very important to realize that before we can relate biblically to each other we must love God first.

This is the first command relating to how we are to treat and love others.  Here, specifically we see God’s command for how children are to treat parents.  Here especially we see how children under the parents’ authority are to behave.

This is a positive command with a promise of blessing for obedience.

God has established a hierarchy within the family structure.  Here is God’s expectation for children within the family.

This command is for everyone but is very much concerned with children in the home, especially older children.  There is a respect that children should give their parents.

1. Honor Your Father and Your Mother

This word in Hebrew means honor with weightiness.  It really means heavy or weighty.  Children don’t take the teaching and words of your parents lightly.

To honor is to respect, esteem highly, value, and prize your parents.  They have been given to you as a gift from God.

Our culture, sadly, is made of rebellious children who not only disrespect their parents but at times even hate them.  This is a common sin today.  Church, this should not be.  Parents deserve respect due to their God ordained role.  So, to disrespect your parents is to disrespect God because He has ordained the hierarchy within the family structure.

To disrespect parents is to throw off godly authority and to rebel against God, Himself.

There are some very serious curses in the Old Testament for children who rebel against parents…

Leviticus 20:8–9 (ESV)

Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you. For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him.

Deuteronomy 21:18–21 (ESV)

18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

While these curses are extremely serious and we may well say that’s the Old Testament and not in effect today.  While that’s true, we also need to realize that to dishonor and disobey parents is still a serious sin.

God tells us when this sin is common then we should understand that we are in the Last Days.

2 Timothy 3:1–5 (ESV)
3 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

To disobey parents is to disobey God.  Children, if you disobey your parents, it is an indicator that you will disobey God in other areas.  You will probably disobey other authorities in your life as well.

Proverbs 6:20–23 (ESV)

20  My son, keep your father’s commandment,

and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

21  Bind them on your heart always;

tie them around your neck.

22  When you walk, they will lead you;

when you lie down, they will watch over you;

and when you awake, they will talk with you.

23  For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,

and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,

Next, we see this commandment comes with a promise…

2.  That Your Days May be Long in the Land That the Lord Your God is Giving You.

Why should children show their parents respect?  Why should they honor them?

It’s God’s command

Parents deserve to be honored because of their God-given authority

Colossians 3:20 (ESV)

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1–3 (ESV)
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

So, remember children, honoring your parents serves your own best interest.

The promise of a long life does not mean that everyone who honors parents will live to be 95.  Or everyone who fails to do this will die at a young age.  It means that in many different ways life will be added to you.  Rebellion against parents and God never ends up well for you.  To obey your parents will always end well for you.

To live long in the land- was a Hebrew saying that meant the fulness of God’s blessing or to have an abundant life.

Now in order for this honoring parents to take place, parents are told to teach their children…

Here is an example of a father teaching his son in the Book of Proverbs.  If the son listens to his father and honors him by doing what he tells him then he will have an abundant life.  If he does not listen then his life will get bad very quickly…

Proverbs 1:8–19 (ESV)

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,

and forsake not your mother’s teaching,

for they are a graceful garland for your head

and pendants for your neck.

10  My son, if sinners entice you,

do not consent.

11  If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;

let us ambush the innocent without reason;

12  like Sheol let us swallow them alive,

and whole, like those who go down to the pit;

13  we shall find all precious goods,

we shall fill our houses with plunder;

14  throw in your lot among us;

we will all have one purse”—

15  my son, do not walk in the way with them;

hold back your foot from their paths,

16  for their feet run to evil,

and they make haste to shed blood.

17  For in vain is a net spread

in the sight of any bird,

18  but these men lie in wait for their own blood;

they set an ambush for their own lives.

19  Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;

it takes away the life of its possessors.

Do you see the evil twist here?

Let’s set an ambush for the unsuspecting and rob them.  In the end, these sinners lie in wait for their own blood.  Their feet run after evil only to swiftly run to their own destruction.  All this for being greedy for unjust gain.

Rather than doing all this, just get a job.  Take all the effort that you would put into robbing someone and do a hard day’s work.  Come home be with your family and go to bed tired and sleep well.  That is a good life in this world.

The fifth commandment also takes in other authorities in our world that God has set in place over us for our protection.

1 Peter 2:13–17 (ESV)
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

We see that when we can we seek to honor all authorities around us.  Even when we must disobey because we must obey God and not men at times we should do so still honoring them as much as possible.

It also takes in the authority of the leadership within the local church.

1 Timothy 5:17 (ESV)

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

Hebrews 13:17 (ESV)

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

3.  There Was a Son Who Fully Honored His Father

Like the rest of God’s Law it is impossible to keep the Fifth Commandment perfectly.  Everyone has broken this commandment at some point in their lives.  No one is the perfect child.

When Jesus was a child, He honored His Mother and Father.

Luke 2:51 (ESV)

51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

He honored His Heavenly Father.

Matthew 26:39 (ESV)

39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 3:17 (ESV)

17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus kept the Fifth Commandment perfectly.  Because of the cross, we have His perfect law keeping applied to us.  So, in Christ we have all kept the Fifth Commandment to Honor our Father and Mother…

So we see that children seek to keep the fifth commandment to honor your father and mother.  Listen to their teaching and take it to heart.  This will save you from so many hurts in this world.  Then also understand that you will never keep it like Jesus did.  So, in Christ we have His righteousness applied to us and in Christ we are seen by God as honoring father and mother.

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