Summary: A look at this command to help people see that God’s command to honor parents is both desirable and doable
As we take up the 5th commandment today, I realize we’re highlighting the ideal here. There’s the ideal, and then there’s real deal where most of us live.
• Like the Prov. 31 lady. Don’t you love her, ladies? Here’s this lady - she’s a combination of any of the good qualities of Martha Stewart, Mother Theresa, and Jennifer Aniston! So, she’s described there and, OK, Moms and wives, be like that! Right!
• Dads and husbands really don’t have it much better: Men, see what kind of father God is? See how Jesus relates to the Church as the perfect Husband? Do that!
• It’s not much easier for kids: Children, as you learn to relate to God, the way you respect Him and love Him and don’t question His wisdom – that’s the way you should relate to your parents!
So, how are we all doing? Before you pack up and leave, let me shine a few rays of hope.
• If you’re just starting out in all this “Leave It to Beaver” perfect family stuff, remember, God starts with where you are. No matter how messed up you are or your home is, no matter what has happened that can’t be changed, if you’re willing to start with His ways today, God starts with you where you are.
• If you’ve known and tried these things but wandered off and now you’re coming back to try again, God starts with where you are too.
• If you’ve been trying all along, with some success, it’s the same for you too. God takes where you are this morning and says, “Let’s go. Let’s press toward this ideal picture I’m drawing for you.”
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
My goal as we look at this 5th command is to take our family “success-o-meter” and move the needle somewhere closer to the optimum range; to somehow get us moved closer to that ideal that the Lord lays out in front of us for a reason.
Clearly, this command is for people who have parents. So, how many of you had or have parents? Good. But on top of this, command #5 is overflowing with our need to make family a priority – all of us. People of character make family a priority.
I know that this command seems especially aimed at younger people. This morning, please don’t look at the 5th commandment and write it off as information for someone else. Let’s work to keep it personal along the way. Let’s be looking for how we can all make this happen, and I challenge you to do that by putting it in first person and to practice speaking to your parents with these words: I honor you…
I. I Honor You Because…
1. The family Unit Needs it.
God designed the basic social and spiritual unit to be the family. Society depends on it.
Quote – Barbara Bush – “Success does not depend on what happens at the White House, but what happens at your house.
Our current culture makes this harder than it used to be. In fact, it even directly challenges the idea that our culture needs the family. Militant Homosexuality. Divorce. Schedules that are too full. Media that downplays it. Open movement from the top of government to take over parenting our children. And in a more subtle way, there has been a shift of dependence. No longer is there an “interdependence” that holds families together out of necessity. No longer do we have to have each other for food, clothing, transportation, and things like that. That’s all being farmed out to the service industry, to specialists, to consumerism. Right or wrong, that’s where we’re at as a society, and it creates a special challenge for us. We look at our families and it no longer appears that making them a priority is necessary. Still, God tells me in Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” In other words, there ought to be an interdependence in our homes.
No matter how much our current time is denying it, history verifies the necessity of the family unit. In societies that formed and flourished then floundered and fell, the clearly identifiable common factor of their collapse was the loss of the family unit as the basic building block of society. I believe God knew what He was doing when He designed that!
Hear this command this morning – the 1st command that comes with a promise attached: Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. That’s true for the kid whose parents tell him, “Jimmy, don’t put your hand inside the neighbors’ piranha tank!” so he doesn’t do it. He lives longer! But it sounds to me like the promise is more a matter of cultural survival. “Keep this design for your homes, and you, nation of Israel, will live longer as a nation.” Why? Because the family unit is the basic building block of society.