Fifth Commandment

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Fifth Commandment                    

Exodus 20:12 “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Extra Reading: Exodus 20:1-21

We have seen youthful violence and insolence during municipal strikes in our country. In very few homes you will find that the wife and children respect and honour the father as its head. The modern do-as-you-please, permissive world does not really make a child happy and balanced. Rather, a child wants the solid walls of discipline and rules around him, defining his world-telling him exactly how far he can go. Just as will be expected of him in the adult world, a child must be disciplined to do things he does not necessarily want to do. From babyhood, a child must be taught to respect and obey his parents. The father must be put back at the head of the family. The fifth commandment is placed first among those which govern our human relationships. It is not only chief in importance among these, when we understand its full meaning, but it acts as a “bridge” between the two sections of God’s law. For true obedience to the fifth commandment is inevitably linked with obedience and honour toward God Himself! God knew this when He inspired it to be “the first commandment with promise”.

Why honour parents? The true answer reveals the depth of this commandment and its true import. If only every parent on earth might come to realize the tremendous influence upon a child’s later life that automatically that automatically comes as a result of obedience or disobedience to this God-given command! This commandment is one of the ten great points of God’s eternal, spiritual law. Under the Old Testament dispensation, the penalty for directly violating this law was death! (Exodus 21:15,17). That is how important this command is in God’s eyes! The home and the family unit are the basis of all decent society. And the relationship of children to their parents is an exact type of the spiritual relationship between true Christians and God. The lessons of character learned in that relationship may last children the rest of their lives-and for eternity. In the eyes of a small child, a parent stands in the place of God Himself. For the loving and affectionate parent is the child’s provider, protector, teacher and lawgiver. A child’s early training and response to this relationship will in large measure determine his later response to the larger relationships in society.

Prayer: O God, help us to honour and respect our parents. We pray for all this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rev. Samuel N. Modise 

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