We move on, now, to the second part of the Ten Commandments. The first four Commandments focus on our relationship with God – no other gods and no graven images, honouring the Lord’s Name and the Lord’s Day. The other six Commandments emphasize our relationship with others. The first Commandment, in this second section, is the fifth of the Ten Commandments: “Honour your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12).
As we look, together, at what is involved in honouring our earthly parents, we will, also, turn our attention to the vitally important matter of honouring our heavenly Father. When we learn to honour our heavenly Father, we will. also, learn to honour our earthly parents. As we learn to honour our heavenly Father, we will receive stength to do His will in all of life’s relationships.
There are three essential features of honouring our earthly parents – gratitude, obedience, support.
We are grateful to our parents for our birth – “If it wasn’t for our parents, we wouldn’t be here.”
We are grateful to our parents for their ongoing care for us – Think of all the good things your parents have done for you, and give thanks to God for them.
There is to be gratitude, as we honour our earthly parents.
There is to be gratitude, as we honour our heavenly Father.
We thank our earthly parents for our birth, the event, by which we became their children.
We thank our heavenly Father for our new birth, the great, life-changing event, by which we became the children of our heavenly Father.
We thank our earthly parents for the good things they have given to us during our life.
We thank our heavenly Father for all that He has given to us for our life of faith – “He “has granted to us all things” that we need for godly living. By His power, we are kept, in the way of faith, kept for eternal life, with Him.
Gratitude to our earthly parents, gratitude to our heavenly Father – there is a vital connection between the two – “O happy home, where Thou art loved the dearest, Thou loving Friend, and Saviour of our race and where among the guests there never cometh One who can hold such high and honoured place!”
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1). “Children, obey your parents in everything” (Colossians 3:20).
Alongside this call for obedience to our earthly parents, we must also emphasize that we, who are parents, must earn the right to e obeyed. We cannot expect our children to live a godly life, if we, ourselves, are not setting them a godly example.
Why are there so many delinquent children? Is it not because thee are far too many delinquent parents?
How many children, who have grown up to become alcoholics, first tasted alcohol in the homes of their so-called ‘religious’ parents!
What kind of example to set for our children?
Is it a bad example, of which we should be ashamed?
What do our lives teach our children?
Do our words teach them one thing, and do our lives teach them something else?
Do we tell our children to love the Lord, and show them a life that is more self-centred than Christ-centred?
We may teach our children the right things – but do we live the right way?
In the hymn, “Children of Jerusalem”, we have a brief summary of the lessons we seek to pass on to our children: “We are taught to love the Lord, We are taught to read His Word, We are taught the way to heaven.” We think of these lessons, and we sing, “Praise for all to God be given.”
As we think of these things – lessons for ourselves, lessons for our children, we must ask ourselves, Do our lives reinforce these lessons? or Do they contradict them?
Our children become like us. There are physical resemblances. There is more than that. Their lives will be shaped by the example we set for them.
If we really want our children to love the Lord Jesus, we must love Him. As we ask ourselves, “Are we good parents?”, we must, also, ask ourselves another question, “Are we becoming more like our heavenly Father?” We must ask ourselves, “Are we learning to delight in doing the will of our heavenly Father?”
God sees how we live. He’s calling us to repent of our sin. He’s calling us to return to Him. He’s calling us to be renewed by Him.
God is calling us to put the old way of life behind us. He’s calling us to press on into a new life, which is centred on Christ. He’s calling us to praise Him with more than our words. He’s calling us to praise Him with lives that are being lived for Him and His glory.
May each of us pray that our lives will be filled with praise to the Lord: “Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise, That our whole being may proclaim Thy being and They ways. Not for the lip of praise alone, nor ev’n the praising heart we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part.”
Let us seek the glory of our heavenly Father, and let us pray that our lives will shine brightly for Him.
How sad it is when we hear an elderly person saying, “My family don’t live very far from me, but I hardly ever hear from them or see them”!
Honouring our parents is a lifelong calling.
This is important.
There may come a time when our parents will need to be helped through very difficult times.
In life’s hard times, we must remember how much our parents have loved us. Before we were able to show our love for them, they showed their love for us. When they need to be supported by us, let us not fail them.
In the relationship between parents and children, we catch a glimpse of what it means to be loved by our heavenly Father and what it means to love Him.
Before we loved God, He loved us. Our love for Him can never be anything more than a responsive love. Along the pathway of loving God, we are, often, tempted to wander away from Him and forget all about Him.
In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal (Luke 15:11-32), we read about a young man who wandered far away from his father’s house. He forgot all about his father – but his father never forgot about him. He remembered his long-lost son. He never gave up on the hope that, one day, his son would come back home.
This is love. The story is about human love. It’s about divine love.
We can turn away from the love of our parents. We can turn away from the love of God.
What are we to say about the love of God? – His love for us is always stronger than our love for Him. He can become the forgotten Father, but He will never stop being the loving Father.
Think of your parents. Remember their love for you. Let love flow again. May they never feel forgotten. May they know that they are loved. May they know that you are there for them – in all the changing circumstances of their lives.
Think of the Lord. Remember His love for you. Let His draw you back to Him. May there be less wandering away from Him, and more walking with in the pathway of discipleship – “Loving Him who first loved me.”
Being loved by God and learning to love him – may this be our inspiration for loving our parents for the whole of life’s journey.