“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be king in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3
As we are studying God’s order of authority, parents are a massive lane that we must learn to navigate as kids and as adults. It seems like obeying your parents is pretty straight forward, yet we have all struggled with it in varying degrees. I am a rule follower, so following rules and obeying came somewhat easy for me. I know I hear the collective eye rolls, and I deserve them; however, I know I have some people out there that are the same (give me a shout out all of you rule followers!).
If we pull the lens back a bit and see our call to obey and honor our parents, we see the deeper connection in how we should obey and honor God. Obeying and honoring our parents (even as adults trying to honor our parents), can be difficult. We do not always understand what they are doing and why, yet we trust that they have our best interest at heart.
I have read Ephesians 6:1 a bunch of times, even noticed the part where it says a commandment with a promise. To be honest, I have never really put a lot of thought into it. Diving a bit deeper, it seems like God is promising blessings if we obey Him. I have lived my whole life “obeying” God and I have certainly not received the blessings I have wanted. So it is a bit confusing, I have obeyed God and my parents so where are my blessings?
I have struggled with this for a long time. I am sure each of you has something in your life that you have desired (a child, a job, a career, a spouse, a loving family, a repaired marriage) and yet it is allusive.
It can be painful.
I am forever grateful that God is not in the business of granting wishes but instead providing what is best for us. That always looks different than we anticipate, but oh how sweet it is to find yourself in the center of where God has placed you. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Look at Psalm 37:3-5, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
If we obey and honor our parents, we will have a long life. God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. Let us not forget what proceeds all of this. Our command is to obey, trust, be faithful, and delight in the Lord. If we find ourselves doing all of those things, our idea of desires of our hearts or living long takes on a different meaning. We hold onto promises from God, knowing that if we put our trust in Him and obey his commandments, He transforms our ideas of what a life well-lived looks like. We find our delight in Him and we will find the earthly things are not as important as the heavenly.
So, next time we lecture our kids about obeying us, take a moment and explain that in their obedience they understand God more, and it brings them closer to see what God wants from them.