In the Lord

followFollow Me: Law[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 20:12, Ex 21:15,17 [2]

The first four commandments God spoke from Mt. Sinai define our relationship with God. The final six define our relationship with one another beginning with our parents. We must honor our father and mother. This is the only commandment with a promise attached. Honoring ones parents can extend your life.

If you had parents who love you and loved God honoring them to collect the promise would be easy. What if your parents physically and verbally abused you and or sexually molested you? There are parents who are not worthy of honor.

The only qualifiers God placed on this command carried the death penalty. If you curse your parents and or strike them, you are worthy of death. Regardless of how bad your parents treated you refusing to speak ill of them and striking them is in the realm of possibilities.

Jesus cast additional light on this command when he rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for traditions that voided God’s commands. You do not honor your parents when you have something they need and deny them by giving it to God instead of your parents who are in need. This is also doable regardless of whether or not your parents are worthy of honor.[3]

What if your parents want you to steal, lie, or do things that would violate your conscience before God?  Where do you draw the line? How do you do what is right in God’s eyes when your parents don’t?

The Apostle Paul no doubt faced this problem in greater measure with the Gentile converts then with Jewish converts. He sent a letter to the Ephesian church instructing children to “obey your parents in the Lord.”[4] When God spoke the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai, he addressed people who were “in the Lord”. Their nation had agreed to obey God. Parents who are “in the Lord” will not teach their children to do immoral and or illegal things. Therefore children should obey them because their parents want what is best for them.

I don’t think this lets us off the hook regarding parents who are not “in the Lord.” When parents or anyone in authority command us to break God’s law, we do not have to obey them. But we can still honor them by refusing to speak ill of them and or striking them. And we can still help them when they are in need without using God as a loophole to escape that responsibility.

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[1] In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul warns us that the things that happened in the wilderness were recorded as a warning to the church because Moses preached the same gospel about Jesus that was preached after Jesus resurrection. For this reason Israel/Jacob will be called the church in this series.

[2] All Scripture is from the NKJ Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Matthew 15:4-6

[4] Ephesians 6:1

About Teena Myers

Teena is the Vice Chairman of the Southern Christian Writers Guild, author of three books and a freelance writer.
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