Honor Within the Family

Honor Within the Family

Scripture: Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 4:9
Date: 05/11/2013 
The fifth commandment is about honoring, respecting, and caring for parents. It is the first commandment with promise.
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We're in the midst of a series - actually, first time since I've been here - that is dedicated solely to the Ten Commandments and so, today, we're actually on the sixth presentation but it's commandment number five. And we've just transferred from the first table of stones over to the second table of stones. The message title is 'dealing with honor in the family' - honor within the family. Now, in the Ten Commandments you've got - I was going to say something really silly like, 'the Lord is brilliant.' But it's sort of obvious, isn't it? But it is brilliant the way that God designed the Ten Commandments. On the first table you've got the relationship between man and God.

It's the vertical relationship. The first commandment - if you get the first commandment right - 'thou shall not have any other lords before me' - you will get all the other commandments on this table right because if God is first in your life then you'll obey the way that you worship him, the day that you worship him, the time, the method, his name - that'll all be revered if you worship him supremely. Now, when you go to the second table, what is the first commandment there? 'Honor your father and mother'. Now we're dealing with the horizontal relationships in the remaining six commandments here. If you get this one right - if things are right in the family, all the other commandments would be right.

If you've got good parents and they're teaching their children good truth, you're not going to find in society that there are problems with the lying and adultery and the coveting and the killing and all these other things. It's when you don't get the first one right that you have a problem with all the rest. This commandment, probably more than any other, is the foundation to the health and success of any culture because the family is the most basic unit of a society. And what we're talking about is not just children obeying parents. We're talking about parents living in an honorable way and it's the relationship between the parents, it's the relationship of the children and the parents and the parents and the children.

It's really talking about honor within the family - reverence and respect. And so, that's our message today - it's based upon this commandment. You can find it in your Bible, of course, in Exodus 20, verse 12. Matter of fact, it's short enough and you should all know it by heart, why don't you say it with me - and this is the version most of us have remembered - are you ready? "Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." Honor your father and your mother. Now, I just think it's wonderful the way the Lord orchestrated things so that it just so happens that today is mother's day and this is what I'm talking about.

I'd like to tell you that I brilliantly planned that but I didn't. I'm just glad it worked out that way. And so, hopefully, that in the message today, embraced in the kernel of the message today, we will find that, along with our fathers, our mothers will be honored and all that that involves. You know, I want you to know that I try to stay current in what I share with you here. The latest 'time' magazine - now the latest 'time' magazine is may 20 - it's on your screen now - what's the date today? May 11th.

This is the may 20th magazine so you can never accuse me of being behind. We're actually a week ahead. Of course, I just dated our message for all future generations. I got this at my door yesterday and I said, 'oh, this is perfect.' Look at just the headline - it says, 'the me me me generation - millenials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents - why they will save us'. Now I didn't read the article yet.

I was too busy getting ready for the sermon. But I've got problems with the premise of the title. How you could have a selfish 'me, me, me' generation that is lazy, self-centered, living at home and they're going to save us. I don't know how that would work out. I think they might have the first part of it right - that we are living in a very selfish generation.

And that, of course, affects the relationships of the children and the parents. You know, in every culture, for there to be a strong society, one of the first things they need to do is they need to understand that the authority for the children is not the state, it's the parents. This idea that it takes a village and that we all raise each other's children - it sounds really nice but no. In order for a culture to be healthy we need to understand that a family unit - the responsibility of those children belongs first and foremost to those who brought them into the world - I'm talking about biologically. They are made in the image of their parents just as we are in the image of God.

That responsibility rests with the parents. That must be respected by the state - by the government - that the - and to some extent, you know, when children are minors they're under the authority of their parents there still is an element of that respect, but more and more we're finding it - the government's acting like 'we're the ones who are going to tell you how to raise your children.' Instead of the parents having that decision. Something else - I don't know if you caught it - it said, 'honor your father and your mother' - there is an implied truth there that a family, according to God's design, is not a father and a father or a mother and a mother, but it is a father and a mother. That's God's plan. And in the same way, on the first table of stones, God is saying, 'look, I'm the one who saved you.

I made you and so I want you to worship me'. At the foundation of our relationships with each other it begins with honoring your parents because parents are a child's first concept of God. They really represent God to the children. If you think about it, God is the one who created us. He sustains us.

He cares for us. He provides for us. He forgives us. He cleanses us. And for a child, who is God to that child as they're growing up? I need to issue a disclaimer here, I realize as I talk about this subject, that we live with all kinds of strange circumstances and some of you maybe have been adopted.

This is an uncomfortable subject. Some of you maybe grew up in a home with just a single parent. Some of you maybe are test tube babies and you're raised by some corporation, I don't know. We're all kinds of different people out there and there are exceptions. So what we're talking about here is the ideal.

Does everyone appreciate that? This is the ideal - and I know all of us have different deviations of that ideal in our families and some of us we were raised by our mother and our step-father or whatever. But so we're talking about the ideal and I understand that and I just want you to wink at the areas where you realize it doesn't perfectly fit your situation. But for the normal child, their first concept of God is the parents. Matter of fact, it's interesting the evolution that children go through when they're real little. The parents can do everything.

They look at their parents with wide-eyed wonder and they think they're God. They fear them. They respect them. They love them. They look to them.

They don't want to be away from them. They get a little older, you know, the kid'll say, 'my dad's the strongest dad in the world.' Then they get a little older - they get to be about twelve and they say, 'well, they know almost everything.' And then they get to be about fourteen and they say, 'they don't know very much.' And then they graduate high school and start college and they think, 'they don't know anything.' And then they get to 25 and something changes. They call and ask for occasional advice. And then they get to be about 30 and they've got kids of their own and their respect just begins to soar and they start to understand. And then they get to be about 60 and they think, 'you know, I wish I could talk to them again and I would have asked them more questions.

' But it's like it goes from this believing everything to believing nothing to believing everything again. It's kind of strange. Haven't you observed that? But they represent our first concept and that's why it's important for children to honor their parents. It's very important for parents to live honorable lives because your child's concept of God is going to largely come from your influence. And it's often true - people who have fathers who are sort of distant and detached, their concept of God is that he's just really not interested.

People who have fathers that are indulgent and permissive, they start thinking their Heavenly Father - that anything goes. And so you need that balance because you are communicating the characteristics of God - both father and mother - to your children. Now, just a few verses that should help us remember this. For one thing, a Christian is a follower of Christ. Did Jesus follow this commandment? You remember when he was twelve years old and he went and he - you could say he ran away from home because the parents lost him for three days - he didn't really run away from home.

They took him to church and then they left and he stayed. And they lost track of him for three days and then finally they found Jesus and I always thought that that would have been really difficult for mary and Joseph to explain to God. 'We know you gave us the Messiah - we've misplaced him. We've misplaced The Son of God.' How do you get over that? And after they found him again, he said, 'I must be about my father's business.' Note what it says in Luke 2:51, "he went down with them" - went to nazareth - "and was subject to them" - the word 'subject' means he was obedient to them - Jesus obeyed his father and mother. And maybe I should take a moment and talk about 'what does the word 'honor' mean? When we say honor our father and mother - to honor - in the Hebrew - to honor means 'to make weighty; to give gravity and importance to their being; to promote; to glorify; to boast about; to revere' - that's the Hebrew.

In Greek it's the word 'tamalho' and it means 'to prize; to honor; to value; also to revere'. Honor your father and mother - by the way, that commandment - we read it clearly in Hebrew and clearly in Greek - there's no question about what it means because we've got it coming from the words of Jesus and from the old testament example. Proverbs 10:1 - just a few choice morsels - Proverbs 10:1, "the Proverbs of Solomon: a wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother." Proverbs 15:20, "a wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother." Proverbs 19:26, "he who mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach." All through the Bible the principle about revering and honoring and respecting your father and mother is a pretty basic principle. But the first concept of God comes from them. By the way, not only will parents represent God to your children, but their concept of marriage is going to come from you.

Not only is it important that children honor their parents and that parents live honorably, but parents must be very careful to honor each other because if a father does not honor his wife, your son probably will not honor his. If a mother does not respect her husband, your daughter will probably not respect her husband. And so, the model that the parents establish for those children - what goes around will come around. History will repeat itself. Now some of you might be thinking, 'well Pastor Doug, I grew up in a family that was so dysfunctional - my mother and father were not very honorable - they didn't honor each other and now it's causing me problems.

' By God's grace you need to break the cycle for the next generation and it can happen. You know, one of the things I'm amazed at when I read the Bible is how some of these rotten Kings had good kids. And how some of the good Kings had rotten kids. And so you can't always say, 'well, I'm a victim because of the way I grew up. I can't help it.

' I thought it was pretty pitiful - I'm reluctant to even refer to what we've heard in the news this week about that horrific story about those ladies that were basically held - imprisoned - you know what I'm talking about? - By this man. You know, he's still, technically, a suspect but the evidence seems pretty overwhelming that he basically imprisoned these three women and abused them for over nine years. And you know what his response is? 'I was mistreated as a child.' Well, you know, you can't use that. And it might give you some excuse, but it's not going to be - at least it didn't used to be a valid claim in court. So maybe you didn't have the right kind of mother and father.

You need to break the cycle. And you can. I've seen it happen. You've seen it happen. Examples in the word - but we represent God.

So children need to honor their parents because the Lord - I've often told our kids when, you know, they sometimes disagree with some mandate that comes from mom or dad. I say, 'look, God made us your parents so you take it up with him.' And so I just pass the buck. I said, 'he put us in charge. You're going to have to go talk to the Lord about that. This is the way it is.

' And so sometimes you just have to lay down the law. Oh, you know, I saw this and now is probably as good a time as any to share this with you. I saw a list in preparing for this sermon - things that we - you might raise your hand - things that we typically have heard fathers say and then I've got things we typically have heard mothers say. How many times have you heard your father say - how many of you have heard your father say, 'ask your mother'? 'I don't know. I'm busy.

Ask your mother.' 'Close the door. Were you born in a barn?' Did anyone hear that growing up? Father or mother could have said that one. 'Don't worry, it's only a little blood.' You come in with an owie, you know, mom is kissing it and put a band-aid on it. You show it to your dad and he'll go, 'aw, it's just blood.' I remember the first time I hurt myself and I started to bleed I was thinking, 'I'm leaking! What is - what's happening?' And, you know, I remember my uncle used to say - he'd take it the other way, he'd go, 'wow, look at all the blood. That's really something.

' And you didn't get a lot of sympathy from The Fathers, right? 'A little dirt never hurt anyone, just wipe it off.' 'Keep your eye on the ball.' 'This is going to hurt me a lot more than it's going to hurt you.' I never did understand that. 'Do I look like I'm made of money?' Any of you ever heard that? You ever hear dad say, 'no, we're not lost.' And then along with that one you would hear, 'no, we're not there yet.' 'Don't make me stop this car and come back there!' 'As long as you live under my roof you live by my rules' or 'I'm the King of this castle.' Something to that effect. Any of you ever hear that growing up? 'I'll tell you why, because I said so.' And, you know, whenever I heard that I thought - that used to make me so mad and then I heard myself say it. That's what's really sad. 'No I'm not sleeping, I was watching that show.

' 'Am I talking to hear my own voice?' 'Two wrongs don't make a right.' 'What did I just finish telling you?' 'What part of 'no' don't you understand?' 'Son, if you're going to be dumb you have to be tough.' You never heard that one. 'Keep that up and I'll give you something to cry about.' How many of you heard that one? 'I brought you into this world and I can take you out also.' 'I can make another one of you.' Things mom taught us: 'if you're out there mowing the grass without your shoes on and you cut off your toes, don't come running to me.' Of course, it's pretty hard to run to mom without your toes. 'If you fall off that swing and break your neck, you can't go to the store with me.' 'If every one of your friends jumped off the bridge would you do it too?' 'If you don't eat your vegetables you'll never grow up.' What I used to hear is 'you have to eat all your vegetables because the kids in africa were starving.' How many of you heard that one? And I used to think, 'well, mom, could we pack it up and send it to them? If they're hungry, why don't...' 'If you keep crossing your eyes that way they're going to get stuck.' 'If you don't pass the spelling test you're never going to get a good job.' 'Make sure and always put on clean underwear because you could have a car accident.' Did any of you ever hear that? 'What were you thinking? Answer me! Don't talk back to me.' 'When you get to my age you'll understand.' 'I'll explain when you get older.' 'Just wait 'til your father gets home' or 'you're going to get it when I get home!' And then, of course, the one that we've probably all heard is 'someday you're going to have kids and they'll be just like you.' Things that we heard our mothers and our fathers say. It brings back memories. You know, the command is for parents also.

Honor your father and mother is not just a command for children. This is a command for parents, of course, to be honorable and not to provoke them. Ephesians 6:4, "and you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." I don't have time to read to you all the verses that talk about teaching the Word of God to your children - here a little, there a little - put it on the doorposts - put it in your house when you lay down, when you rise up. One of the most important things if you want your children to grow up and be honorable and serve God, you must be honorable and have family worship. The whole idea of honoring your father and mother is learned through the Word of God and it's implying that you're teaching the Word of God in your family.

The Bible says these words should be taught to the children and your children's children. The Bible says grandparents and parents teach them to the children. And, by the way, if you should honor your parents and your parents are like God for the children, then how about grandparents? That's even more so, you would think, because the Bible talks about honoring your elders as well. Colossians 3:21, "fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." There's a balance between disciplining your children and nagging and badgering them so that they're exasperated. You need to know how to guide them - tell them what's right, tell them what's wrong - and when they do something right tell them, encourage them, thank them.

If you're not appreciative in the home they won't be when they leave the home. And so, children will much more do what they see than what they hear. So these things must be modeled. I heard about a young boy that was talking to his father and he said, 'dad, is it always true that parents know more than their children?' He said, 'yes son, it's always true.' He said, 'dads always know more than their sons?' He said, 'yes son, dads always know more than their sons.' There was quiet and he said, 'who invented the telephone?' He said, 'well, alexander graham bell.' 'So how come his father didn't invent it?' Evidently he knew something more than his father is the implication. Oh, by the way, here's that verse - Deuteronomy 4:9, "only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.

And teach them to your children and your grandchildren." So there's a responsibility for a family by word and by example. Now, this command - and I've struggled with how to share this part of the word with you - this next command I'm going to share with you is difficult but it's in the Bible because God wanted to emphasize how important it is not to be disrespectful to parents. Deuteronomy 21 - Deuteronomy 21 - talking about a rebellious child. Listen to this - you kids listen to this. Deuteronomy 21:18, "if a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city.

And they shall say to the elders of his city," - that's where judgment was - they'd go bring their various cases to the elders of the city - the gate of the city - "'this son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear." Now there's no record in the Bible that any son was stoned - or daughter - because of that kind of insubordination. But just the fact that there's a law in there that a parent - mother or father - a father would principally bring it before the elders - could bring a case - a charge against their son. And you know what the charge was? Rebellious, insolent, drunkard, glutton, disobedient - just that we have got a slob for a child that just will not obey. And what was the penalty? Death. You know, I think the reason that's in the Bible is because God is saying, 'don't you even think about being disrespectful to your parents because they hold the death sentence possibility in their hands.

Now, look at how things have changed. Again, don't misunderstand what I'm saying. Do you all understand what I'm saying? When they lived under a theocracy - I'm not suggesting that we practice that - someone's going to run out and call an attorney. I'm not suggesting that we practice that. They were living under a theocracy when God gave them this law.

Moses was there. They were in the wilderness. The pillar of fire was hovering above them. They saw the presence of God. For a child to disobey the commandments of God right there in the very visible presence of God was especially deadly.

So I'm not suggesting that we practice this, but I just thought that it might be worth remembering. Kids heard this read to them. They trembled at the thought that their parents were authorized by God with life and death power, right? You'd obey your parents when they said 'clean your room.' The kids say, 'oh, clean my room. Clean my room.' Dad put his hands on his hips and he'd say, 'shall we go to the gate and see the Judges?' You'd clean your room, wouldn't you? But today, kids get mad at their parents and they pick up the phone and they call child protective services. And I agree that it's terrible when parents abuse their children, and we know that there's plenty of that, but some cases it's the other way around, where kids are manipulating the system and they are threatening their parents.

They're saying, 'you yell at me I'm going to call and say that you beat me. And this bruise I got playing basketball, I'm going to say you hit me.' And kids have had their parents arrested or they've been taken away. I know cases, as a pastor we've dealt with families where kids have falsely accused their parents because they were mad and had a tantrum and the children were taken out of the family's home and they finally confessed 'I made the whole thing up.' Things have changed from where the authority used to rest with the parents to where it's moved to the child and the state. Honor your father and your mother. Proverbs 28:24 - just to reinforce that point - "whoever robs his father or his mother, and says, 'it is no transgression,' the same is companion to a destroyer.

" It's saying this person is a destroyer - they honor - dishonor their father and mother. Proverbs 15:5, "a fool despises his father's instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent." Oh, when I was a young man, you know, I can think of so many times my father and my mother said, 'do this' or 'don't do that' - just gave me some practical advice and I thought, 'oh, what do they know?' And you get a little older and you think, 'it's too bad I had to learn the hard way, those things.' Sometimes you, you know, you say something to your kids, you say, 'trust me.' 'But why? Why?' You can't always explain it. 'Trust me. There are good reasons for these things.' Honor your father and your mother. Now, they even had a time of - not only was there punishment for a rebellious child, but when they entered the promised land, they had six of the tribes that stood on a mountain in the middle of the promised land called mount gerizim and six of the tribes stood on mount nebo on the opposite of a valley and they would pronounce blessings and cursings that would echo across the valley that would basically say, 'this is the law of our land.

' And cursing was pronounced upon the disobedient. Proverbs 20:20, "whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in deep darkness." You think, in the Bible, some examples of like absalom that rebelled against his father. How did it end for him? In a nameless pit he was buried - pierced through. Proverbs 30:17, "the eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it." And then they were to pronounce this curse - Deuteronomy 27:16, "cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt. And all the people will say, 'amen!'" That was a curse that they would altogether say as a nation - cursed is the one who treats his father or mother contemptuously.

Now, this is probably a good place to mention some of the commandments are stated in the negative - thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not - this commandment is actually stated in the positive. 'Thou shall honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land.' It's a positive command when you think about it, but you read through the rest of the Scripture and it says there are some very negative consequences for those who disobey. As goes the home, so goes the nation. If we don't have respect for authority with parents, those children typically do not respect authority when they leave home. And, you know, I don't have them at my fingertips but there's an abundance of surveys and evidence - you go through a prison and you do an interview and you'll find out that a lot of people - in men's or women's prisons - there was not respect in the home.

They transferred that lack of respect for authority, once they left home, to the society and they often ended up incarcerated. You honor your mother and father by not staying a child forever. You honor them by growing up. The responsibility of parents is to, basically, train your children for independence. From the time they're born they are utterly dependent and your responsibility is to teach them to be independent, responsible, good, honest, respectful - and, you know, if - there needs to be respect in the family.

When kids grow up and they see mom and dad yelling at each other but they go out in public and they're nice, they'll grow up thinking that yelling is the way that you handle things in your families and in your personal relationships. Just whatever they see in the family ends up being reproduced. That's why it's so important to have this model. We're to train them for independence. You're not honoring your parents by staying at home when you're , not going to school, and you don't have a job.

Parents, you are not honoring God or helping your children by letting them do that. There comes a time where the best thing in the world you can do for your kids is to practice some tough love and say, 'praise the Lord! You're healthy. You're educated. There's the door. Seize the day! You're going to have an exciting life.

Send me a postcard when you get a job. Keep in touch.' But you all know what I'm talking about. Sometimes people don't understand. You know, the Bible says in Genesis, 'a man will leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife.' And some of you are thinking, 'well, I don't have a wife or a husband yet so I'm just staying at home.' Oh no, no - you're probably not going to get one either if you're 45 and still living with mom and dad. You've got to get out and get a job and get your own life and you'll probably be more attractive to the opposite sex.

And you've got to - folks are thinking, 'you know, I can't compete, he's still bragging about mom's cooking and he's 30 years old and he's living at home and how can I ever compete with that?' If you want to be on the Market and have your own home, there comes a time when you've got to leave the nest. And you know you even see this in nature. When the little eagle is young - eagles are interesting because, you know, they mate for life - they're very devoted companions. The mother and The Father both care for the chick - they work together - and they make their nest real fluffy when they're babies. It keeps the eggs from cracking because the nest is made out of sticks and rocks and all kinds of things - bones - but they've got a lot of down and fluff and as the chicks get older - pretty soon they get big and they're crowding each other in the little nest and they're stretching their wings and they're flapping and they get where the parents know, you know, they can fly but they're comfortable because we're bringing them food every day.

So you know what the parents start doing? They start bringing less food. And they start getting hungry. And then the parents start to scratch up all the down and they throw all the soft stuff out of the nest so they're not only hungry, they're uncomfortable. They've got all these bones and sharp sticks and rocks in there and they're going, 'what's happened? Don't you love me anymore?' And they're basically saying, 'you've got wings. You've got to learn to fly.

The time comes when you've got to take the leap. And, yes, there's risk and danger out there, but you just can't stay at home.' So part of that honor relationship of parent and child is that you know that you're supposed to ultimately prepare them for the time when they launch. There needs to be a launch time. And I say this because - and I'm not speaking to anyone specific here - but I probably am without knowing it. It breaks my heart when I see that kids are still in the nest, their wings are fully developed and years go by and mom and dad are still bringing them their food and taking care of them.

You're not helping them and, children, you are not honoring your parents when you don't get that independence. Say amen. Help me out of this conundrum. Okay. Children should honor - should children - that's my question - should children honor a dishonorable parent? Now, whenever you talk about the subject of honoring your mother and father, someone will invariably say, 'well, that's easy for you to say.

You don't know my father. You don't know my mother. They are impossible. They - the way they treated me growing up. I was mistreated.

' How do you deal with those situations? Or there may be areas where you say, 'you know, I do try to honor them but there are days when I just, you know, I can't speak peaceably to them because they're so unreasonable. And even after I'm an adult they keep meddling in my life and telling me what to do' or 'I can't talk to them. Every time we talk, we fight and what do you do?' And you can fill in the blank - whatever your situation is - or you, no doubt, know situations. You should always be honorable to their position as your mother and your father. You need to respect them for that.

If you cannot communicate peaceably - maybe you're a Christian and they're not - if they do not ask you to violate some command or principle, respect them. If your parents say, 'let's go rob a bank together.' You say 'no.' You know what I'm saying? And so, obviously, if your parents are asking you to do something that's a violation of God's Word or his will, you have to respectfully say, 'I'm sorry, I can't do that.' And if you have problems getting along, write letters if you can't talk peacefully. Write a note. It's hard to argue with a note. Write a note and say - you know, I've got a lot of people I've counseled with and they say, 'you know, I want to honor my parents but whenever I talk to them they start to badger me and put me down and it's just painful.

' And I say, 'well alright, then say - write them a note. Tell them you love them and respect them and just do it through the mail.' It just creates one little layer of separation where you can show, 'I respect you. I want to communicate with you but when we talk it just isn't' - you know. And there may come a time - there are cases where you need to cut off communication because it is so toxic. But it doesn't mean you do it in a disrespectful way.

You hear what I'm saying? There was one of the Kings in the Bible that had to make his mother - he had to basically fire her from being queen because she was worshiping pagan idols in the temple. And so, you know, sometimes you have to break that off but as far as possible - even the parents who are sometimes difficult - respect them, honor them. They're your parents, amen? That doesn't mean that you need to - once you become an adult it's nice to listen to their advice - you don't always have to follow it. They don't have to meddle in your lives, but be respectful. Remember them.

Write them an occasional note. Make a phone call. I heard about a woman who called her rabbi - and she turned 60 - she thought it was time to make out her will. She says, 'there's two things I want you to help me with.' She said, 'I want to make sure that I'm cremated. It's more affordable.

' And she said,' then I'd like you to take my ashes and then could you sprinkle them all around macy's?' He said, 'well, I got the first part but help me understand the second part.' She said, 'yeah, I just want to be sure my daughters will come and see me at least twice a week.' Some kids never visit their parents. You know, it's interesting that in the Bible, with all that's being said these days about the role of women, the Bible - old testament/new testament - there were a lot of nations and countries and empires that basically women were treated as property and slaves and animals. But in the Bible God doesn't say just honor your fathers, he says, 'honor your father and your mother.' And have you noticed that it isn't always father and mother? If you look in Leviticus 19:3, one time Moses said, "every one of you shall revere his mother and his father," - he swapped them around. Part of the reason for that might be - who is the primary supplier of nurture and guidance in the beginning of the life? It's the mother. Oh, by the way, it goes on to say, ".

..revere his mother and his father, and keep my Sabbaths; I am the Lord your God." And part of that is - I'm wondering if he's saying, 'worship with them.' Spend time worshiping together. So, how long should you honor your parents? Do you ever outgrow that? No, as long as they're your parents you want to honor them. You know, we're living in a culture today where, as parents age, and sometimes - we were visiting just before the service today with a couple of our elders that are helping take care of their parents. As people get older they usually become weaker. They become more needy.

Sometimes there's the final sickness. It could be parkinson's. It could be dementia. And when you were young and you were not able to control yourself and you didn't have your teeth and you maybe didn't have hair - it's interesting, we kind of leave the life the way we entered - and you had trouble walking were your parents there for you? So should we be there for our parents during that time? Now that doesn't mean there's never a situation where you want to provide some kind of assisted living circumstances. I'm not trying to condemn anyone for doing that.

Sometimes parents ask for that and they prefer that and they're happier in a situation as opposed to being left at home while the child goes and works. It may not be safe. I'm just saying, you know, hospitals almost every week have old citizens that are dropped at the emergency room by children that don't want to take care of them anymore - they're just dumped there. It's a parent-dumping problem. And they say, 'look, we can't afford to take care of them' or 'we don't have the insurance' or 'we don't have the time' and then late at night they'll bring them into some emergency room, set them down and leave.

And then the state has to try and figure out what to do with these people because they can't just, you know, kick them out in the gutter. But that's not what they did in the Bible. You notice that some of the cultures that thrive the most have the most honor for parents. 'Honor your father and mother that your days will be long upon the land.' This is a commandment that actually has a promise in it, did you notice that? It tells us that your days will be long upon the land. It says it a couple of different ways.

You look in Deuteronomy 5 - where the Ten Commandments are given there - it's different than you find in Exodus chapter 20. "Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you." Why does God promise a blessing? By the way, that was in our Scripture reading also - Ephesians 6:1, "children, obey your parents in the Lord," - by the way, if your parents ever tell you to disobey, God doesn't say 'obey them out of the Lord' - obey them in the Lord - so if your parents should ever ask you to, you know, become a bank robber or shoplift or something, you don't have to obey that. Obey them in the Lord that is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise - that it may be well with you. That you may live long upon the earth.

Long life is promised in this commandment. Why? A couple reasons. One is that God'll bless you for it. The other is your parents have learned things to help you stay out of trouble. Your parents - when your mother and your father say, 'here are the car keys, do not drive fast.

' You honor them, your days will be long upon the land. You dishonor them, they may not be as long. When you disobey - they're giving you advice all the time to try and keep you alive. And it's interesting that in the countries that have the longest life expectancy, they have the best regard for their elders. You know what country has the longest life expectancy? Japan.

Do they honor their elders there? It was amazing when they had that tremendous earthquake a few years ago, to see the wonderful tender care that people took for the elders that were displaced by all of this. And they were so conscientious and so careful to - because they have - they're trained from infancy to have high regard for their elders. They even take it too far in some cultures - they've got ancestor worship - but they're very careful to respect their elders. Honor your father and mother that your days might be long. You know, there's sin in the world today and the reason there's sin in the world today is because our first parents did not honor their father.

Adam and eve - when they disobeyed God, they disobeyed their Heavenly Father - look at all the trouble it caused. Death entered the world from disobeying a parent. And people's lives are often shortened - one, by the curses that God sends, the other through practically not listening to the good information and advice our parents give us. But he promised your days will be long in the land. He was bringing them into the promised land.

He said, 'if you want to live and have a long life and a peaceful life, honor your parents and I'll do that for you.' You know, this is a wonderful commandment that has a promise in it. The children of Israel learned to be faithful. There's a story in the Bible - I don't have time to read the whole thing - but you look in your Bibles in the book of Jeremiah chapter 35. It talks about the Babylonians had surrounded Jerusalem. They were about to destroy the city - judgment was coming.

Jeremiah was told by the Lord, 'I want you to call the rechabites. Bring them into the temple.' And so this family - this tribe of rechab - who was The Son of jonadab, who was a friend of jehu - that's another history - they were brought into the temple and Jeremiah had some wine poured into pitchers and set cups down in front of the leaders of the rechabites who were there in the city. He said, 'have a drink.' And they said, 'no, we'll not drink.' And he said, 'why not? Have something to drink. Thus sayeth the Lord.' And they said, 'no, because our father, rechab, he commanded us never to build a house, never to drink anything from the vine and to live in tents and he said we'd have long lives if we followed his advice.' And for several generations they had followed their father's advice and none of the rechabites ever drank wine. And Jeremiah said, 'thus says the Lord: 'because the rechabites have not disobeyed the Lord, that when Jerusalem is destroyed, I'm going to preserve them because they obeyed their father and their mother.

' ' And he said, 'they will never fail to have a person to stand before me because they've shown respect for their elders this way.' And so, before Jerusalem was destroyed, God made Jeremiah act out this whole scenario and basically test them and they would not drink wine - even though there father was long dead. They said, 'because he commanded us and we've not done it for generations. And he said 'don't build a house' and the only reason we're in the city now is because Nebuchadnezzar surrounded the city' and said 'but we live in tents as our father commanded.' And God said, 'because you obey your father, I'm going to bless you. I wish my people would obey their father.' And so, honor your father and mother, first and foremost, is talking about God. You know God is portrayed as our Father in Heaven and he also sometimes uses the verbiage of a mother.

He says, 'as a hen protects its chickens under its wings, so I've loved you.' And 'can a woman forget her nursing child? How can I forget you?' So God loves us with the love of a father and a mother and if you want your days to be long - I don't mean just long in this world - if you want your days to be long in the earth made new, we need to learn to honor our Father in Heaven, amen? If parents honor God and live honorably and if children are resolved to honor their parents - in our relationships and in our family - every one of the other commandments in our relationships with men will be a lot easier. They'll sort of be automatic at that point. It all begins in the family, right? Happy, happy home.

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