DAY 158 - BIG PICTURE IN A YEAR - THE LAW
HONOUR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER, SO THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG IN THE LAND THE LORD YOUR GOD IS GIVING YOU.
Reading: Ephesians 6: 1-4
The first commandment with a promise according to Ephesians. Paul explains that this means to obey your parents when you are a child. The Israelite culture was very aware of family because of the way that God had created the family unit from the beginning – a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they fulfil the God-given mandate of multiplying God’s image in the earth through their children, most importantly.
God was so interested in creating a healthy family culture, that not only did He include this commandment, but He built family rituals into their festivals. For example, at the Passover meal, the oldest man in the family would tell the youngest addition to the family all about the Passover story in order to ensure that the stories of God’s redemption would be passed from generation to generation and Jewish parents would be in the habit of teaching their children the ways of God.
In the desert, the Israelites had plenty of opportunity to teach their children the ways of God – and those children grew up witnessing the cloud by day, the pillar of fire by night, the cloud that descended upon the tabernacle, and lifted to signal that they should break up camp and set out, and the rock that followed them to provide them with water in the desert. Those children grew up full of faith and ready to take the land the Lord had promised, because they understood who God was and what He required of them. But when they had taken the land, they forgot the Lord in the next generation...only because that generation had not taught their children as had been done with them. And it is likely that their children also forgot this commandment, because their fathers had not taught them the laws of God. Children that obey their Christian parents, grow up to follow the ways of God. Following the ways of God will result in you living long on this earth as the enemy would have very little opportunity to tear your life apart...
There are so many products out there that try to persuade us that they have the secret to long-life, but this secret was long ago given to mankind through the commandments to the nation of Israel. Do you honour the parents that God has given you?
Thank you, Lord, for the parents that you have given me. I choose to honour them as you commanded regardless of their imperfections.
For the family
Read out this commandment to your children and explain to them the promise that God gives should they obey that commandment. Have a discussion with your children around whether or not they obey you as a parent. Where they are consistently disobeying you, ask them what the reasons are that they struggle to obey – it’s better to have this conversation individually with each child. Be open to their feedback as they may have reasons that require you to repent and change your approach to them. There may be other reasons where you would have to explain forgiveness to them as well. They yearn for your acceptance and love, so ensure that you reinforce your love for them no matter what their answers and their behaviour may be. But explain to them that regardless of all these reasons, God still requires that they obey you as a parent (as long as you do not require them to go against the Word of God), however imperfect, and He will reward them for it.