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WHY IS THIS COMMANDMENT SO IMPORTANT?

AUG 16

Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Memorise Exodus 21:15, 17
“Hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother”

Whilst I am sure many would agree that this is certainly a commandment worth keeping, and that everyone should certainly honour their parents, few people would consider it a grievous sin if it was not kept. Compared to crimes like murder and rape, we feel that it is a small matter to disobey parents, or to not honour them. As such, we place the keeping of this commandment low on the priority list, and do not think that it is that bad if a child does not respect his parents. In fact, people sometimes take it so lightly that they think it is funny to make fun of parents, or to complain bitterly about certain things that they do.

However, when we look at the Old Testament application of this law, we realise that God’s people really did take this commandment seriously, and there were grave consequences for those who did not keep it. Exodus 21:15, 17 states two simple laws that expand on the 5th commandment, giving the death penalty for anyone who would smite or curse his parents. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 further elaborates on this, giving detailed instructions for how parents ought to act when they have a stubborn and rebellious son who would not obey them, despite repeated chastening. They would have to be the one to report him to the elders of the city, and then he would be stoned. Such is the severity of the punishment that would have to be imposed upon a child who would not obey his parents.

Of course we are no longer a nation like Israel, and cannot impose such laws on ourselves. However, the same principles apply, for the commandment is just as important now as it was then. You see, if a child is not properly taught at home to honour and obey his own parents, it is unlikely that he would become a good and responsible person in society. He would also reject the faith of his parents, and become a godless rebel and a menace to society. If that happened to every child and every family, then each successive generation will become worse and worse, as rebellious children will bring up rebellious children. The light of the gospel will also be lost, as Jesus Christ is not taught in the families, and God is ignored. Thus to prevent such a scenario from happening, every child must be taught from young to honour their parents, and be well instructed by them.

Thought: I must not be the generation that rebels and falls away from God!
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for my parents, and help me to be obedient to them.