9: An Incredible Promise with Far Reaching Implications
I think that if you were to quiz parents from any culture, or from any world view, what motivates the decisions that they make for the upbringing and training of their offspring, the universal response would be that their children would have a good life. What defines a good life would vary significantly from one group of parents to another. And the methods and means to achieve these goals would also differ.
God also wants our children to have a good life. He wants them to live long and do well. To that end, He gives very specific instructions accompanied by a divine promise to insure that our kids will have a good life. Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”
Paul reiterates this eternal verity in Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” I hope you will pause and ponder the scope and implications of this promise of God. It is the one specific command directed to children. He personally guarantees that if children will fulfill this scripture, it will go well with them.
How do children learn to honor their parents? Two ways. By what is taught and by what is caught.
Children need intentional teaching about honoring their mom and dad. Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Teach what the word honor means and how it can be applied. Webster defines this verb as: to revere, to respect, to treat with deference and submission. Talk about how this might look when applied in the day to day routine of the home.
Honor is not a popular concept or teaching in the world today. We need to be intentional as we teach and model this idea. Honor is more of an attitude than a practice. It will have external applications, but it begins in the heart.
Favorable modeling between parents is the most effective means of demonstrating honoring an individual. Attitudes are caught by observant and sensitive children. In Ephesians 5:22 and 33, women are encouraged to submit to (external act) and respect (internal attitude) their husbands. In 1 Peter 3:7 and Ephesians 5:25, husbands are encouraged to honor (internal) and lay their life down for their wife. It is so much easier for a child to honor his parents, if he sees his parents honor and respect one another.
As parents purpose with God’s help to honor one another, two positive outcomes will occur. It will go well with the children (the promise). And children will become more like their savior who honored his parents. Parents themselves will also benefit by becoming more like Jesus as they submit to one another and lay down their lives for each other in the Lord. It is a win win situation.
If you ask me, I would rather my sons possess the proper attitude and respect for their parents, than receive a fully funded four year education at any university in the land. I would rather have my sons obtain God’s promise, than have them inherit Bill Gates’ fortune. Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
May God bless you and your family as you are helped to honor one another in the Lord,