[CF Devotionals] 2015-02-22 - The Fifth Commandment

Defining Honor

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Additionally, here for the first time, we find a promise that is a result of obedience, … that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

Paul also talks of this command in Ephesians 6:1-4, which we will look at as a necessary adjunct to our understanding of how to obey this injunction, as well as the responsibly of parents to aid their children in obedience.

“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.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

First, though, we need a definition of honor:

n. 3.a. Glory or recognition; distinction. b. A mark, token, or gesture of respect or distinction: the place of honor at the table. - tr. v. 1.a. To hold in respect; esteem. b. To show respect for. 1

The word in Hebrew is “kabed,” in the imperative, that is a command. Harris says this about its usage:

“Likewise persons in positions of responsibility and authority were deserving of honor (Exodus 20:12; Malachi 1:6). It is significant to remind oneself that giving honor or glory is to say that someone is deserving of respect, attention and obedience. A life which does not back up one's honorable words is hypocrisy of a high form …” 2

We are commanded to honor our parents, not because they deserve it, but because they are our parents. Nevertheless, it is the parents' responsibility to behave in such a manner that makes it easier for the child to be obedient.

This is similar to the injunction in Ephesians for husbands to love their wives, and for wives to submit to their husbands. Husbands are to love their wives even when they are unlovable. Wives are to submit even when their husbands are being a pain in the neck. Keep in mind the bottom line is mutual submission. If husbands really love their wives, that is put them first, then the wives would have minimal problems with the issue of submission. I think you will find where each - in the Lord - is trying to carry out their responsibility, it makes it a lot easier for the other to also be obedient.

So it is with parents and children. Children are to honor their parents, even if they are not deserving of it, and parents are to behave in a manner that does not intentionally provoke the children in disobedience to this command.

  1. American Heritage Electronic Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.
  2. Harris, Ed. R. Laird, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, "Vol. 1," Moody Press, Chicago IL, 1980, p. 427.

To be continued.

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com
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CFD | February 2015 | Geoff's Devotions | Geoff's Studies | Devotional Topics