March 3, 2023
“Today, recognize and keep in mind that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other. Keep His statutes and commands, which I am giving to you today...”
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“Today, recognize and keep in mind that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other. Keep His statutes and commands, which I am giving to you today, so that you and your children after you may prosper and so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time.” Deuteronomy 4:39-40 (HCSB)
The 5th commandment is the only commandment with a direct promise: Honor your father and mother, and you will live long in the land the Lord is giving you. It almost stands alone among the other commandments, like a bookend without its mate.
To me, the 5th commandment always seemed void of the responsibility of parents. That is, how can children honor their parents unless the parents train them up rightly? I often wondered why the 5th commandment didn’t say, “Parents, teach your children well, and children, honor your parents by obeying them.”
If the 5th commandment needs another bookend to complete the set, that bookend is found in today’s verse.
God is saying that when parents keep His statutes and commands, their children will follow. He uses the words “so that,” which conveys “cause and effect.”
Notice how God isn’t directing the parents to simply relay His standard by mere words. He wants parents to LIVE His statutes and commands.
Have you ever heard the saying: “Do as I say, not as I do”? Many parents will take their kids to church and tell them to honor God. All the while, those same parents pursue worldly affections. And parents wonder why their kids won’t seek God.
I say it often, but problems in the families of believers are not necessarily ones concerning the lack of Biblical information. The problems involve the lack of VALUE for Biblical information. Few of us really have a hard time understanding what the Bible says. We have a hard time DOING what the Bible says. The parent/hypocrite is the worst enemy of the next generation.
The 5th commandment assumes parents are modeling God’s standard; thus, the responsibility is on the children to follow suit. It also makes a profound statement that even if your parents dishonor you and the Lord by withholding from you the value of following God, it is still incumbent upon you to honor Him, independent of the quality of parenting you received.
In doing so, you honor your parents by “covering” their failings. God honors that kind of humility.
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©Steve Wiggins 2021