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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7/20/11 Honoring Parents

A devotional on the Ten Commandments with attention to the New Testament;
Fifth Commandment: Honor your Father and Mother that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

3 “‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.(Leviticus 19:3)

[Jesus said]: 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’(Mark 10:19)

(Parents bringing children to Vacation Bible School at Lake Murray Pres. 7/19/11)

Thoughts: We did not create ourselves.  Life is a gift from God through our parents. God has given us a tatoo reminder to us of that: our bellybutton/navel.  We are made to be dependent on God and on others.  That dependence puts us in a position to be in continual rebellion against others, to seek to love others, or some mixture of the two.  Christ told the Rich Young Man that one essential for inheriting eternal life was to honor our parents.  There is a natural tie between honoring our parents and honoring God.  Rebellion and ingratitude toward one spills over toward the other.  Perhaps this is why this command is so important, even in Jesus' mind. 
     Parents have the opportunity to be the first priests of God to us.  They have the opportunity to tell us of God's love and forgiveness. In response, we are called to be grateful and honor them.
     Jesus certainly set us an example of honoring his parents.  Tradition says Joseph was older and died when Jesus was still young.  Jesus did not begin his ministry until he was 30 when his younger brothers and sisters would have left home.  He stayed to support his mother and family, all the while preparing himself for his ministry.  When his family tried to protect him from harm- even accusing him of insanity, Jesus did not call them names in return.  His first miracle was done in some ways in respect for his mother's wishes (Jn. 2).  On the cross, one of Jesus' last requests was that John would take care of his mother.  If He sets us such a sacrificial example for his half (adopted) family, should we also not care for those in our own family? 

Prayer: Help me God to be kind to my parents as you were kind to yours.

John Calvin Abridged: We are to obey our parents only "in the Lord" (Eph. 6:1).  For they do not sit in that position in which they have been placed by the Lord, who shares with them a part of his honor.  Therefore honoring our parents is a step toward honoring the highest Father. If they encourage us to break the law, we have a perfect right to regard them not as parents but as strangers who are trying to lead us away from our true Father.  So we should also act toward all princes, lords, and every kind of superiors.  It is unworthy and absurd for their eminence to be placed so highly as to degrade the loftiness of God.  On the contrary, their eminence depends upon God's loftiness and ought to lead us to it. (Institutes 403-4).

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