2020-02-09 - Second Commandment: Honor Your Parents
Why is this Relevant in our Culture?
Which brings us to the next question, and that is the issue of the relevancy of this command to our day. By following this commandment into the teaching of the New Testament in both the words of the Lord and in the writings of Paul, I think that we can assume that we are still bound by this today.
Do you think there is really a problem with this? First, let's talk about how society in general treats their parents, and then more specifically about the Christian community.
Dr. McGee sees this as a concern of duty to both God and man, as noted earlier, for the following reasons.
“The father and mother stand in the place of God to the little one who is growing up. The little one looks up to the father and the mother, and that is the way it should be.” “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” Proverbs 1:8). Father and mother are to stand in the place of God while their children are small." 3
This is pretty scary when you think about the responsibility this places on parents. One thing this does not mean, though, is as we become adults, we are still called to obedience to parents. (By the way, I think it is important to note even when we are talking of the need for children to obey their parents, this is assuming the call is not to disobedience to God. This can become an issue sometimes for older children who, being saved, have unsaved parents.) We, as adults though, are still called to honor them.
Honoring deals with how we interact with our parents, not a requirement to obedience to them as adults. We read in Genesis 2:23-24 that with marriage comes responsibility to the spouse and the separation from parents.
“Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Again, this doesn't mean there is no longer responsibility to the parents, but the adult is no longer bound to obedience, but has to stand on his own. And yes, this can get messy when we are considering adult children still living with their parents. Any thoughts?
For the nation Israel, the promise was if they honored their parents they would live long in the land. My first inclination while reading this is that it relates to the occupancy of Canaan by the Hebrew people, and disobedience would lead to being cast out. The problem with this understanding is in Ephesians 6:1-4, Paul carries this promise forward to the church. Now, I don't think we can come to a set understanding as to the meaning of the promise. It apparently did refer to Israel’s occupancy of the land, for as with all God’s commands, failure here said something about the condition of the nation. Kalland notes how Paul uses this concept in his commentary on Deuteronomy.
“The apostle Paul referred to the fifth commandment as “the first commandment with a promise,” the promise being “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Eph 6:2- 3). Paul did not limit the promise either temporally (to OT times) or geographically (to Canaan or Palestine).
Doubtless, the reference to “land” here in Deuteronomy was to Canaan as the Land of Promise. That promise was specifically offered to Israel. Nevertheless, the honoring of father and mother as ethical revelation, together with its promise, carries over into all time and everywhere. Furthermore, the promise of an ultimate resting place (homeland) reaches its greatest fulfillment in “a new heaven and a new earth.” 4
What we can see, though is, general disobedience to this command has lead to some serious cultural problems. We find with the deterioration of the family comes the failure of the nation. To a great extent, the family’s success is a product of the quality of the relationships with in it. As the family goes so goes the nation. This is why there is some much focus on the family, and concern for its definition, among many Christians today.
This promise is generally taken as referring to quality of the life for the one who obeys it. Clearly, when we obey God’s commands, there is a beneficial effect on our lives. For children in the days the commandment was given, their lived longer if they were obedient, for the incorrigible children were put to death. For us, though, the focus shouldn’t be so much on the promise as a reason for obedience, rather as a desire to please the Lord through obedience.
Study to be continued.
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