“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
‘When we step out of the arena of ‘duty to God’, we step into the arena of duty within the family, our foremost area of obligation in the world.’ Alec Motyer: ‘The message of Exodus’, p.227
The Bible is relevant to children.
The Bible does address children.
The fifth commandment speaks directly to children.
I became a Christian as a young child, and I knew undoubtedly, in my heart, that I was converted. I didn’t understand the whole Bible. (I still don’t…and don’t expect to while I remain on planet earth). But I did grasp enough to know I was a sinner, and Jesus had died for my sins, and I needed to ask Him to save me. My heart still burns – as it did back then – at just the thought of it.
Alec Motyer has something important to say about the position the fifth commandment holds within ‘the decalogue’- the list of ten:
‘…our first duty after our obedience to God (commandments 1-4) is within the family and, in the same way, this is our primary area of obligation before we consider our obligations to other people (commandments 6-10). The fifth commandment belongs neither in the first group nor in the second, but in its distinctiveness it recognises our first and primary earthy obligation…So, then, if we are to think biblically about the Ten Commandments, we do not have two ‘tables’ or sections but three. God comes first, the family comes second, and the community around us third. When we come out from God’s presence, our primary obligations are towards our families, and the obligations to the world around us are secondary’ (pp.219/220).
In the Bible, we see how the ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ dimensions of life work together. John says: ‘anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen…Whoever loves God must also love his brother’ (1 John 4:20-21). Jesus said the second ‘great’ commandment is ‘like’ the first (Matt.22:39). So obedience to the first must be reflected in obedience to the second. Human relationships matter deeply, and the first set of relationships mentioned in this list concern home life.
PRAYER: Lord God, may it be that in our homes we put you first, and then live in the overflow of that in our love for one another.
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