Honor Mom and Dad
Commandment 5

Honor Mom and Dad

For this particular message, I hope you don't mind if I plagurize just a little bit from one of my favorite shows. This song just fits the point so well. Most of you will probably recognize this song.

Said the Alligator King to his seven sons,
"I'm feelin' might down.
Whichever of you can cheer me up
will get to wear my crown."

The first son brought seven oyster pearls
from the bottom of the China Sea.
The second gave him seven statues of girls
with clocks where their stomachs should be.

The third son gave him seven rubies
from the Sheikdom of Downa-beneath.
The King thought the rubies were cherries
and he broke off seven of his teeth.

The fourth son tried to cheer him up
with seven lemon drops.
The King said, "I'm sorry son.
Since that ruby episode, I just haven't got the chops!"

The fifth son gave the King perfume
in seven fancy, silver jars.
The King took a whiff and he broke out in spots
'cause it smelled like cheap cigars.

The sixth son gave him seven diamond rings
to wear upon his toes.
The King snagged his foot on the Royal Red Rug
and crumpled up his nose.

The seventh son of the Alligator King
was a thoughtful little whelp.
He said, "Daddy, it appears to me
that you could use a little help."

Said the Alligator King to his seventh son,
"My son, you win the crown!
You didn't give me diamonds or rubies but
you helped me up when I was down.

Take the crown, it's yours my son.
I hope you don't mind the dents;
I got it on sale a discount store,
cost me all of seven cents."

Exodus 20: 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Here is a unique commandment. It's unique in several ways, actually. It is the only one of the commandments which carries a promise of reward.

The previous four commandments deal with God. The last five deal with "thy neighbor". This commandment seems to bridge the gap between the two. Howso? I'm glad you asked.

God uses a number of illustrations for our relationship with him, but the most prevailant one of all is that of the father/child relationship. This is altogether appropriate. He is the creator. We are his heirs. He is our provider, protector, and teacher.

The idea works both ways. Not only is God a father figure to us, but our parents are supposed to be God-figures. Their lifestyle, their conversation, their habits and ways should be an example for us of the nature of God.

That's not to say that this is always true. As we all know, God is fair but life is not. Some of us have godly parents. Others have parents which, truth be told, make us wish we were adopted. ...by someone else.

Yet this commandment doesn't contain any exceptions. It simply says "honor thy father and thy mother". How do we honor our parents when they're not worthy of our praise?

Honoring someone doesn't always mean praising them. There are other ways to honor our parents.

This commandment is reiterated in Ephesians 6. It is preceded by a very simple instruction. Paul tells us to obey our parents.

Does this mean that we have to do every thing they tell us to? This is a very good question, of course. I think we can answer it by looking at another place we are told to obey. Titus 3:1 has Paul telling Titus that we should be mindful to obey those in authority over us.

Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
But they are, of course, not the ultimate authority. Christ is called the King of Kings for a reason. His law is over all. As we read in Acts 5:
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
The Sanhedrim forbade the preaching of the gospel. God commanded it. Clearly, this was an instance in which the Sanhedrim was to be disobeyed, despite Jesus' earlier admonisions to do as the Pharisees said. (But not as they do!)

Parents are to be obeyed because they are the image of God for us. If they give us an order which does not contradict God's law, such as "clean your room" or "go get a job", we are required to obey. in this case, they ARE the local authorities. If they tell you to go set fire to the neighbor's cat, this is a flagrant violation of God's law and should be opposed.

But suppose you have parents who are always outside God's law. To be blunt, what if they're shagnasties? How do you honor them then? Titus 3 has the answer to this.

Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.
3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Don't speak evil of anyone, least of all your parents, even if they really are evil. Because remember, none of us is perfect either. As I keep saying whenever I pray, "Keep us mindful that we, too, have been forgiven, lest we take Your love for granted."

Even if your mom has burned all your favorite plushies and your father is a drunk, remember, God loves them, too.

going back to this obedience thing... does this mean that you're obliged to do everything your parents say even after you're grown up and moved out? No, not really. The commands for obedience are always directed to children. When you have your own house, your mom and dad can't dictate what color you paint it. But if they have done their job and acted as God's representatives, there should be an attitude of obedience, still.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
When we are grown, if our parents have taught us right from wrong, we honor them by doing what is right.

Another way to honor your parents is by being their friend. This is something I try to live out every day. I don't have to eat dinner with my parents. I'm perfectly capable of cooking for myself. I do so because I want to be with them. Of course, a free meal does nothing to sour the deal. I don't have to watch TV in the living room. I have my own TV. I go upstairs to watch what they're watching because I like to spend time with them.

Because I am my father's friend, I also feel free to approach him as a father, seeking help or advice with whatever troubles me at the moment. And when my father does give me his advice, I respect what he has to say. I may not always agree with it, but I always listen and weigh his words carefully. That is another way I honor my parents.

And finaaly, perhaps the most important way to honor your father and mother is to care for them when they are old. Those who failed to do so have always been a source of disgust to God.

Mark 7:10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'
11 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God),
12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.
13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."

This was a terrible little game the jews came up with. In order to avoid giving support to their parents, a man could declare a portion of his money "Corban"- dedicated to God. Of course, it would not be given to God until after his death. And once his parents died, he was free to change his mind and un-dedicate the money. The way I see it, this is violating two commandments at once. It is failing to honor one's parents and taking God's name in vain. Dedicating something to God in order to keep it for yourself is a vile desecration of His name. It is also lying, stealing, coveting and placing the idol of money before God.

That's one of the reasons I haven't asked for a salary.

Mother's day is coming up fairly soon. Father's day after that. It is especially fitting at this special time that we should make an extra effort to honor our parents, and in so doing, bring honor to God as well.

Pastor Oren Otter
May 6, 2006

Today's reading
Ephesians 6:1-4

6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--
3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.