[CF Devotionals] 2010-05-02 - Fifth Commandment Study

The Ten Commandments, Part 25


My grandfather lived with my family from the time I was nine months old, until his physical and mental condition required he have professional care. He left us about the time I was in Jr. High school. For me, it was great to have him with us. I had someone to read Walt Whitman to me, to watch wrestling with and to take me fishing. From my perspective, it didn’t seem to be too much of a problem for my father. It wasn’t an ideal arrangement for my brothers though, because it meant sharing a room until they were almost ready to go to Jr. High themselves. For my mother, it meant having five males in the house. The only other female was the dog. It also meant finding unwrapped Limburger in the “fridge.” As you might guess, this situation was a mixed blessing, because while my grandfather was a great guy, as is the case with all of us, sometimes he was difficult to live with. He was also an unbeliever.

My parents are, and were then, believers. It was probably without even thinking about specific scriptural passages, that they chose to live out God’s standards. Their actions honored their parents. They lived within the reality of the command to honor their father and mother. My grandfather lived in our home for ten or eleven years. Their relationship with him was consistent with the requirements of the Fifth Commandment.

Now I can hear some of you saying “That’s great about your parents, but you don’t know mine. They don’t deserve any honor!” And that may well be true. I’ve heard many accounts of less than perfect childhoods. Some say: “I was abused as a child,” or “My father was never around,” or “My mother still drinks.” or even “I have my own life and my family to think about.” Many have had very difficult relationships with parents. The reality we are dealing with though is that God’s call isn’t to honor “deserving” parents, but to honor God by being obedient to Him.

Now we are going to look at a commandment that has created some problems and a fair amount of guilt in the desire of believers to follow it, but simultaneously not wanting their parents to infringe on their lives. There has been some bad teaching regarding the com-mandment, and there have constantly been those who try to find ways around it. We will talk about these issues a little later. First though let's take a look at it. What does Honor really mean?: Does honoring one’s parents mean having them move in as it did with my grandfather? Or is God talking about something else? Well first, we need to look at the context to understand what is expected.

This commandment is found on the Second Table of the Law in that the primary focus is man-directed. We must be clear that though the balance of the Ten Commandments are man focused, disobedience to them is first God-directed. We must absolutely understand that all sin, no matter how “small,” is first against God - and only second against men. We must recognize this if we are to have a proper understanding of sin. If we truly want to live a holy life, that is separated to God’s standards and away from the world’s, we must admit the seriousness of all sin.

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

Additional studies by Geoff
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