Of Commandments and of Parents
Today, we are at day five (and chapter 5) of our journey through the book of Deuteronomy. The previous lesson, Day 4 of 34 – Of Covenants, Statutes and Judgments continues into today’s lesson. Moses has gathered the children of Israel – Israel – to expound the covenant, statutes and judgements to them. His objective is to teach them God’s words that they may learn them, keep them and do them. He reminds Israel of the covenant the Lord God made with them at Horeb. Moses stressed the fact that the agreement was made with them and not their parents. “The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.” What’s the significance of this verse? Having been present when the Lord spoke to Israel, at Horeb, they all can validate Moses’ speech.
TEN COMMANDMENTS OR ELEVEN?
Below are the details of the contents of the covenant. The Lord starts out by identifying Himself – “ I am the LORD” your “God”. Then He proceeds to explain His role in their lives, by saying He “brought” them ”out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” The Hebrew people were enslaved by Egypt for four hundred thirty (430) years. For almost half a millennium they never had days off, no dedicated time off to worship their God. They worked every day. Oh, how happy they were to leave Egypt!! Can you then understand the significance of the Sabbath to Israel.
The Ten Commandments:
- You serve and worship ONLY the LORD GOD, Deuteronomy 5:7.
- You shall “not make” to yourself ”any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:” Deuteronomy 5:8.
- You shall ”not bow down” yourself to “them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, The Lord is fearful and awesome but there is another side to Him also; He’s merciful. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. Note there are two criteria for mercy: a) love God and b) keep His Commandments.” This is one reason enemies of God receive no mercy from Him, Deuteronomy 5:9 – 10.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain, Deuteronomy 5:11.
- Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. Deuteronomy 5:12 – 15.
- Honor your parents. Provide monetary and humanitarians assistance for your parents and you will have long life and success on the earth, Deuteronomy 5:16.
- Do not “kill” another person but one may kill specific animals for food, Deuteronomy 5:17.
- Neither shalt thou commit adultery. Deuteronomy 5:18
- Neither shalt thou steal. Deuteronomy 5:19
- Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour. Deuteronomy 5:20
- Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Deuteronomy 5:21.
“These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me,” Deuteronomy 5:22 ; Exodus 20.
After the Lord detailed the contract Israel became afraid. As a result, they asked Moses to be their representative at the meeting with God. This decision pleased the Lord:
“And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken,” Deuteronomy 5:28.
Our relationship with God has tremendous implications for the future of our children. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever, Deuteronomy 5:29.
So the Lord sends Israel to their tents and reasoned only with His servant Moses.
But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it, Deuteronomy 5:31.
- Obey all the commandments of the LORD.
- Be diligent and consistent.
- Observe all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you.
CONSEQUENCE FOR OBEDIENCE
- You may live and not die.
- You shall have good success.
- Long life in the Promised Land.
Honor Your Parents: Father and Mother
One of the meanings for honor is, high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank. But this is not the essence of what God means by honor your parents. Yes, respect them but let’s examine a few scriptures for clarity.
During Christ life time (as well as today) various religious groups or people have their own diverse interpretations of the scriptures. Case in point, the sixth Commandment: Honor your parents: your father and your mother. Let’s read Matthew 15:1-9:
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Honor or Bless Your Parents With Your Substance or Wealth
From this we come to realize that “to honour” our parents, God wants each of us to bless our parents with our substance or wealth. In other words, take care of your parents. Don’t behave as others and say, ”it is a gift, by whatsoever” your parents may receive from you, Matthew 15:5. They are saying they don’t have a responsibility to attend to their parents monetary needs. They say their parents should not expect them to, parents should ONLY view “whatever” the child gives them as “gifts” BUT not a duty. Jesus disagrees. But scriptures agree with Christ, Proverbs 3:9, 10.
“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine”, Proverbs 3:9,10.
By examining Deut 5:16 alonside Prov 3:9&10 we understand “the context of honour”, to give of your possession, your substance, one’s wealth. That’s why the Hebrew never assembled themselves (before God) empty handed. They always take something in their hands for God. It’s for the same reason we give God an offering “in church” today. The principle is the same, honour God with your substance. Many children, adult children, expect the reverse. They expect the parents to honour them. They reasoned, parents are responsible for them being here on earth. This is true. But after parents have taken care of a child to the point of adulthood then the child should start to reciprocate by honouring his parents financially. Why? Read the next scripture!
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth,” Ephesians 6:1-3.
It’s the first , stipulation of the covenant with a promise. Let us start to honour our parents with our wealth. If you have been doing so, continue. If you have not been honouring your parents start toady. God bless us all.