The first four commandments deal with our relationship to God. The last six deal with our relationship to man. You will never be right with man until you are right with God. If you are really right with God, you will be right with your family. This fifth commandment teaches us that God has designed His people to have homes of honor.
- Parents hold the place of honor in the home... "Honor thy father and mother."
The word "honor" means to give the place of superiority or authority. The apostle Paul repeats this commandment, word for word, in Ephesians 6:2 to all new covenant believers. Why does God command everyone to honor our parents? The home is not to be child- centered, child-run, or child-controlled. Parents are to give direction and discipline.
- God assumes they know more than we do. "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother" (Proverbs 1:8).
- God assigns our parents to us. "Children are a heritage from God" (Psalm 127:3).
His decree who formed the earth, fixed my first and second birth
Parents, native place and kin, all have been appointed by Him.
- God first acquaints us with authority through them. Authority (obedience) is learned at home. By nature all children are rebellious, and if we do not learn how to respect and obey our parents while young, we will struggle with authority later. Children are called by God to respect, obey and care for one's parents in the home.
- Parents have the privilege of headship in the home... "Provoke not your children."
This new covenant addition to the fifth commandment is stated clearly by Paul: "And ye fathers, provoke not (don't exasperate or frustrate) your children" (Ephesians 6:4). "Fathers" stands for any authority figure in the home (mom or dad) and we should:
- Weigh our words carefully. Your words as a parent have a powerful effect on your kids. Let your words "communicate grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).
- Watch our walk diligently. Your kids are watching you live your life. It's frustrating to be told to act one way when mom or dad does the opposite.
- Win our wars fairly. When it comes time to put your foot down, do so with compassion, authority, and explanation. Many "yes's" in life softens the "no's."
- Prosperity is the promise of honor in the house... "that your days may be long."
This promise was made specifically to the children of Israel. Specifically, God said that Israel would have the "land" that He had given them (Canaan) when parents were honored. It doesn't mean that if an individual dies at a relatively young age he was not honoring his parents. It means that when society rebels against authority, the days of that society prospering are numbered. Is a nation healthy? Look at the homes.
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." (I Samuel 15:23)
When parents are honored in the home, the nation of homes honors the Lord God.