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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

5th Way to Delight in the Lord

As a child, I thought the 10 Commandments were simply a set of rules to follow. Then, I discovered I couldn't keep the rules, leading me to Christ for my righteousness. Then, the 10 Commandments no longer condemn, but show us the character of God. As a believer, I can look to these laws to see how to please the Father. For if Christ never once violated these laws, and my desire is to look more like Him, then these laws help me know Him.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

We typically do not hear people segregate the commandments for different people. In fact, I rarely even hear the objection from some that the commands were only intended for Jews. We read the commands as God's moral law, despite the person's condition. However, we can tend to look at the 5th commandment as if it only pertains to children. Was God speaking to the entire nation, only to pause for a second to speak to children, then turn His attention back to all the people? Jesus doesn't believe so:

"For God said, `HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,' and, `HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.' "But you say, `Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God," he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: `THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' "

In other places, Jesus is very clear that our love for our parents must never get in the way of our love for the Lord. In fact, it is the son who follows the Lord who fills a father with real joy. But we do know that Jesus was speaking to grown men, yet He considered them still responsible to show honor to their parents. Perhaps Paul helps us see why:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.

The context is critical (when isn't it?). In this series of relationships, Paul explains that each relationship is to be handled in a way that models our relationship to Christ. Not surprisingly then, each of these relationships require elements of submission and obediance. Why respect your mother and father? Because you respect your Heavenly Father.

Regardless of your history, regardless of if you are married, regardless of the kind of parents you had, God calls for us to not only obey them, but to respect and honor them as well. It's a way we show Him honor.

[Other commandments: 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]


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