Monday, October 1, 2012

October 2012

The Fourth Commandment
Honor Your Father and Mother

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.

Up to this point in our series on the Ten Commandments, we have dealt with commandments that pertain to our relationship with God. He is to be our only object of faith and worship, we are not to speak wrongly or lightly of Him, and we are to take time to be in worship in order to hear His Word and receive His gifts. Now in the fourth commandment we shift gears and begin to see God's will for our relationships with our fellow human beings. This begins with our most fundamental relationship: the relationship between parents and children.

We have a hard time respecting and honoring authority, and perhaps our culture more so than many others. We tend to exalt youth over age. Somehow we have decided that being older than someone else is embarrassing. (I am still trying to figure out why people are ashamed to say how old they are. Is it a shameful thing to not die young? I don't get it.) We see this exalting of youth everyrrvhere. Parents no longer want to parent, they want to be friends with their children. Then, we are shocked to see, that youth no longer respect their parents. But why should they? Their parents don't act respectable, they act "cool."

The fourth commandment brings us back down to earth and sets things straight. It reminds us that God has given us parents to be authorities over us, to raise us, and to guide and direct us. Parents are to be
responsible for their children and, thus, children are to honor their parents as those whom God has chosen to raise them. With age comes wisdom. We are all to learn from our elders because our elders are wiser than we are. They have more experience and more perspective. (In fact, would you believe that in the Bible grey hair is something to be revered and not colored by Garnier or Just For Men!)

Mothers and fathers are to be honored, not necessarily for their own sake, but for God's sake. Parents and other authorities are instruments of God through which He works to sustain His creation. In other words, God himself is not going to come down and raise children. Instead, mothers and fathers are the instrument through which God raises children to function in this world. God himself is not going to directly govem the United States. Instead, He works through the president who functions as the authority over us. Thus, we are to honor our parents and authorities as those whom God is using for our good.

Luther said that we all function as masks of God. God hides in the mother to give birth to the baby as she is His instrument to bring new life into the world. God hides in the father as the instrument to protect and provide for his family. God hides in the teacher who trains up youth to know how this world works. God hides in kings or presidents to maintain order in society. To be sure, God is hidden in sinners who don't always do His will. But what is so remarkable is that God's good and gracious will gets done despite the fact that sinners fill the roles (we call them vocations) God has given to them! By honoring our parents and all those in authority we are giving praise to God who works in and through us and our authorities to sustain His creation.

Pastor Bob

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email