Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
One of the most important holidays in Thailand is Father’s day. It is celebrated on December 5, which is the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is celebrated all over the country. The King is considered as the father of the nation and of all the Thai people. He is recognized as best role model for fathers. This is also the day when we give honor to our fathers and grandfathers by giving them flowers and by treating them with a good dinner.
As Christians, I believe this is an appropriate day for us to honor our fathers. The command to honor our father and mother is in the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 20:12, it says honor your father and mother. But today we will give honor and respect to our father.
Among the Ten Commandments, this is the only one that is given with a promise. “That your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
God adds a provision in the verse by saying that if you do this look at what will happen. Serving God comes with benefits. If you serve him:
- He will take care of you
- He will provide for you
- He will protect you
- He will guide you
- He will direct you
- He will make a way out of no way for you
- He will make your enemies leave you alone
- He will comfort you
- He will console you
The Hebrew word that we translate as “honor” has several implications and meanings. Among them are respect, model and obey. So in fact, when the Bible says to honor your father, it is saying to respect your father, to model your father and to obey your father.
Honor Means to Respect (12)
Honor your father and your mother,
To respect literally means to hold in high regard. It is a word that is more than “ignore” but less than worship. To respect our father does not mean that we worship him, because only God is worthy of our worship. But it does not mean that we don’t care about them either.
Respect includes a right amount of fear. We fear God and we in some ways fear our father when we do something wrong. Respect means we are afraid to do something that is against our father’s words.
When I was little, just like many children sometimes are not afraid of our mother. Because mothers just like to talk when they are angry. But when our mother tells us that, “I’m going to tell your father” or “just wait until your father gets home.” Then this makes some children afraid. Why? Because we do not want to face the consequences of our father’s anger.
What the Bible is teaching us in this verse, the value of respect. The Bible is saying to us that if you want people to respect us , then we need to respect our parents.
Honor Means to Model (12)
Honor your father and your mother,
“Honor” in Hebrew word can also be defined as “to model.” I think many of us grew up thinking our father is cruel. We tell to ourselves that we are not going to spank our children like our father did to us.
Personally, when our father spanked us to discipline us, I promised that when we have our own children we would not do the same punishment to my children. I had this perfect picture in my mind that when I became a father, all I was going to do was to just talk to my children with a calm voice.
However, it did not take me long to discover that the picture I had in my mind was just a picture. And that when my children disobey me I found myself doing the exact same things with my children as my father had done with me.
Honoring our father means that we considered him as our role model. And though there are times when we don’t like our father, the day will come when we realized that we are just like our father and our mother. Someday we are going to:
- Pay the bills
- Put the food on the table
- Take care of our own family
- Work for living
- Raise our own children
- Help our children get an education
- Provide for the needs of the family
Our father has done all of these things. We honor our father for that. And when we honor our father, we also honor God.
Honor Means to Obey (12)
Honor your father and your mother,
Finally friends the Hebrew word honor can also mean obey. The Apostle Paul who was an expert on Old Testament Law and therefore very familiar with exactly what the Ten Commandments said, had this in mind when he wrote the “household codes” found in the book of Ephesians, he says “Children obey your parents”. This is just another way of saying honor your father and your mother.
I believe that the Bible is correct, obedience begins at home and the failure to teach obedience is the highest form of child abuse. You see there are some fundamental basic behavior that all children must learn if we are going to expect them to survive when they get on their own and live from under our roof.
My father used to say to me “the reason I beat you at home is so that somebody else won’t have to do it in the streets.” You see friends it really is rather simple. When we fail to teach our children obedience at home we are setting them up for failure when they are living on their own. If a child will not listen to a parent at home then:
- He is not going to listen to a teacher in school
- He is not going to listen to the principal in the office
- He is not going to listen to a coach on the game
- He is not going to listen to a director in the band
- He is not going to listen to an instructor in the arts
- He is not going to listen to a pastor in the church
- He is not going to listen to a doctor in the hospital
- He is not going to listen to the policemen on his beat
When a child fails to honor or obey his parents at home they are setting themselves on a course that will end in disaster because that pattern of disobedience will follow them the rest of their life.
But brothers and sisters in Christ, we are not disobedient. We honor our father and mother today and everyday of our lives and we will have God promise. “That if you honor your father and your mother your days will be long upon the land thy God hath given thee.”
Honoring our father means we respect, model and obey them. When people dishonor their parents they suffer from high blood, stress, anxiety and other psychological ailments. They also end up in a bad situation. Many are dead and many are in jail. Fortunately, if we simply obey our parents, we can avoid those bad things. However if we honor and treat our parents right it makes us a happy person and we live longer and blessed life.
Again, listen carefully to what the Bible says; “if you honor your father and mother then your life will be long in the land that God has promised you.” The land that God has promised us is not just life here on earth. It included in the land that God has promised us is eternal life in heaven. So if we honor our father and mother, we increase our chances to on not only having long life down here, but we will also sure of eternal life in heaven.
So this morning, we give honor and respect to our father just as we respect, honor and worship our God, the Father.
This is a post from my personal blog.
Adapted from a sermon by D. Gene Sample