Exodus 20:12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 18, 2008


The first four commandments form the first “table” of the Law.  These were the two stone “tablets” that God wrote on.  These were commandments given to help us in our relationship with God.

First Commandment:  God is number one (no other gods)

Second Commandment: Get the picture right (no graven images)

Third Commandment: Honor the name.  (don’t take His name in vain)

Fourth Commandment:  Trust God’s rest (Remember the Sabbath)

They could be summed up by what Jesus called the “great” commandment:

(Deu 6:5 NKJV)  "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

The next six commandments form the second “table” of the Law.  They are commandments that govern our relationship with our fellow men.

These could be summed up with what Jesus called the next greatest commandment:

(Lev 19:18b NKJV)  …but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Now for number five

(Exo 20:12 NKJV)  "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Of all the commandments about our relationships with each other, God starts with our relationship with our parents.  Why?

The proper relationship between children and parents is the cornerstone of human society, human government.

Order in society depends on understanding how to relate to authority, and the first authority we learn to relate to is our parents.
This is kind of a strange message coming from someone who grew up in the generation that was known for rebelling against authority.
John J. Davis:  “One of the purposes of this commandment was to engender respect for all rightful authority whether that authority be in the church or in the state.”
(Rom 13:1-2 NKJV)  Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. {2} Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Learning to be a healthy part of society begins with learning to respect your parents.

:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Honorkabad – to be heavy or weighty (Piel) to make heavy; to make honorable, glorify

The main idea of the word seems to be that of being “heavy”, having “weight” and can be translated as burdens being “kabad” (1Ki. 12:10), or of a fat man being “kabad” (1Sam. 4:18).

In a way, this is the opposite of the word “vain” (“don’t take God’s name in vain”) in vs. 7, which meant “emptiness” or “nothingness”

Abram was described as being “kabad” in livestock, silver, and gold (Gen. 13:2).  What did that make him?  Rich.

This is where I believe the concept of “honor” comes from.  It’s adding “weight” to a person’s value.  It’s putting them on the balance scales adding 1,000 pounds, putting them on the other side, and they still are more “weighty”.  It’s not about being “fat”, it’s about being “heavy”.

may be long ‘arak – (Hiphil) to make long (tent cords); it’s used to describe sticking out the tongue (Is. 57:4). This is a word that is used quite a few times with the word “days”, talking about lengthening your life.

In the book of Deuteronomy, written just days before the people entered into the Promised Land, the idea of “long days” is found 11 times.  At times it seems to refer person’s life growing longer, it also may refer to the nation being allowed to stay in their Promised Land longer.

They are told that even little things like learning to be merciful to a mother bird will lengthen their life (Deu. 22:7)

(Deu 22:7 NKJV)  "you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.

They are told that learning to be honest businessmen will help them live longer (Deu. 25:15)

(Deu 25:15 NKJV)  "You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Israel is encouraged that they will live longer if they pay attention to all that God says:

(Deu 5:33 NKJV)  "You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.


God’s Word is good for me

Somehow some people have this idea that God’s commandments are awful things.
I find that the older I get, the more I pay attention to eating what’s healthy for me.  I get concerned about eating things that will lengthen my life instead of shorten it.
We’re told that we’ll live longer if we eat more fruits and vegetables, fish, and nuts.  And doesn’t chocolate have those antioxidants???
The Psalmist writes,
(Psa 19:7-11 NKJV)  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; {8} The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; {9} The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. {10} More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. {11} Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.
God says,
(Deu 5:16 NKJV)  'Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
God doesn’t just promise that you’ll live longer following His ways, but that it will be “well”, it will be better.
Just like healthy food, it doesn’t do me any good to just read about it, I have to “eat it”.  I have to take it into my life.  I have to live it.



One of the main ideas of our commandment is to be giving “weight”, value, or “respect” to our parents.
(Lev 19:3 NKJV)  'Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
What if I had lousy parents?
You learn to honor and respect them if for nothing more than the fact that they brought you into the world.

Your body is made up of the same elements that make up a snail or a slug.  The only reason you are not a slimy slug is because of your parents.

This doesn’t mean that you have to hold to their values or repeat their mistakes.

You don’t give them respect because they’re the most awesome people in the world.  You respect them because they are your parents.

This even ties in to our relationship with God.  Don’t misunderstand me – God is NOT a lousy parent.  But there are times when God allow things to happen in our lives that might make us THINK He is not doing a good job – and the issue is, are we still going to honor Him even when rough times come?  (see Heb. 12:9-10; Job 2:10).
The ugly concept of “submission” is built into this idea of honoring our parents.

Submission to your boss isn’t based on whether your boss is a good guy.  It’s based on the fact that he’s your boss.

(1 Pet 2:18-25 NKJV)  Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. {19} For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. {20} For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. {21} For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: {22} "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; {23} who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; {24} who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. {25} For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Sometimes learning to show respect is about more than just giving someone a gold star for being nice to you.  Sometimes God wants us to show respect because it is going to produce something.  The submission Jesus demonstrated let Him to a cross to die for us and brought about our salvation.  Sometimes for a boss or a parent, showing respect is the thing they need to pay attention to Jesus.



(Eph 6:1-3 NKJV)  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. {2} "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: {3} "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
Sometimes I wonder if the reason we’ll live longer is because we won’t face the prescribed consequences of breaking this commandment:

(Exo 21:17 NKJV)  "And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

obeyhupakouo – to listen, which implies obedience.
Our commandment is not just about respect, but also obedience. It seems that our opinion of our parents can change as we grow older…
Growing Opinions of Dad

4 years: My daddy can do anything.

7 years: My dad knows a lot, a whole lot.

8 years: My father doesn't know quite everything.

12 years: Oh, well, naturally Father doesn't know that, either.

14 years: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned.

21 years: Oh, that man is out-of-date. What did you expect?

25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.

30 years: Maybe we ought to find out what Dad thinks.

35 years: A little patience. Let's get Dad's assessment before we do anything.

50 years: I wonder what Dad would have thought about that. He was pretty smart.

52 years: I'd give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him.  I really miss that man.

How old until I don’t have to obey my parents?
I’d say that if you are still living with your parents, you ought to pay close attention to what they say.
I’d say that if you aren’t living with your parents, you ought to still give great weight to what they say.
Is there a line as to how far I’m supposed to go to obey my boss or my parents?
Of course there is.

(Acts 5:29 NKJV)  But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men.

When that person in authority over me crosses the line and asks me to do something against God’s ways, then I need to say “no”.

But don’t use this verse as an excuse to just be rebellious.

Much character is built into my life when I learn to submit in a difficult situation.


Care for your parents

We talked last week about the “oral law” of the Jews, the Mishna, which contains all sorts of rules and regulations that try to explain the written law of Moses.  Jesus often got into trouble with the Pharisees for not following their traditions…
(Mark 7:5-13 NKJV)  Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" {6} He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. {7} And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' {8} "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men; the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." {9} He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Jesus is accusing these religious people with caring more for their traditions than for what God was asking them to do.  Is it possible that us “religious” people still do this today?  Of course we do.

I think that some of our Christian politics can be confusing.

Please don’t misunderstand me here – God wants us to be involved in the political process.  We are supposed to be salt and light.  Our nation is governed by voters and that includes you and I.

But on some issues we don’t always send the right message.  This last week our wonderful state supreme court overturned the marriage initiative we passed a couple of years ago.  Gay marriage is going to be legal in 30 days.

How do you respond to that?  I think we ought to pass another initiative.  I think we ought to vote.

But I also think we need to work harder letting homosexual people know that God cares for them and we ought to too.  We ought to be demonstrating unconditional love, getting to know them, letting them know there is a Savior.  Just because we know that their behavior is wrong doesn’t mean that we can’t love them.  Jesus was the friend of sinners.  Jesus won people over because they were not expecting Him to love them, but He did.  Does that make sense?

Now to get to our specific issue with parents…
{10} "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' {11} "But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban"; ' (that is, a gift to God), {12} "then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, {13} "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."
This was one of those “traditions”. “Corban” was a Hebrew word meaning “a gift offered” to God.

If a person had needy parents, and they had the ability to help them, they could use this “Corban” thing to get out of their obligation of helping their parents.  If a parent asked for help, all you had to do was to say, “Gosh Mom, I don’t have any extra money on me!  All the money in my pocket has been set aside to give to God.”  And you could say that even if you weren’t planning on giving the money to God for a couple of years.

Be careful about letting yourself off the hook with loving and helping out your parents.



I’d like to take a few minutes and address the flip side of the relationship between kids and parents.
(Eph 6:4 NKJV)   And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
provoke … to wrath – I’m afraid that this is what a lot of us do – make our kids angry.

Probably one of the chief ways we make our kids angry is when we discipline them with anger – anger reflects anger.  Another way we provoke our kids to anger is when our discipline becomes unreasonable.

Trainingpaideia – the whole training and education of children (the cultivation of mind and morals, instruction, correction, and punishment).  It is sometimes translated “chastisement”, what you and I might call “spanking”.
Children need discipline.  They need to know how far they can go.

Spanking – I think that with some kids this can be helpful (I hope I don’t get arrested for saying this and I hope none of you run for president and this gets played on the news J).  We practiced spanking. 

(Prov 13:24 NKJV)  He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

(Prov 22:15 NKJV)  Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

Training Lessons… I DO NOT want you to think that I consider myself an expert in raising kids.  I’m just as clueless as you.  I will not attempt to claim any success in raising kids until my kids are at least 50 years old.  You may disagree with me on some or all of these points.  These are merely suggestions I’ve found helpful over the last twenty years.

1.     Don’t spank too young.  Don’t spank a child until they are old enough to talk to.  They need to know why you are spanking, they need to know what they did that was wrong.

2.     Use a paddle instead of hands. I didn’t want my sons to see my hand as the thing that brought pain. We kept the paddle out of sight though the kids knew where it was.  If they saw I was serious and started heading toward the paddle they would respond.  This might be outlawed soon in California – no spanking.  Hmmm.

3.     Set limits.  We had limits – no more than three “swats”, only on the bottom, never hard enough to bruise but just sting.  A bad thing was worth one swat, a really bad thing was worth three swats.

4.     Not in anger.  Discipline is serious, not anger-filled.  Discipline because it’s right and your kids need it.  If you’re angry, take time to cool off – one of the things I’d do when I was extremely angry is give myself a swat – ouch! Some parents stay away from spanking because they are aware of their own anger problems – a good idea.

5.     Paddle privately.  Do it behind closed doors, away from the rest of the family.  Don’t embarrass the child by giving them their punishment in front of the others.  If we’re in a restaurant, we don’t spank.

6.     Talk it through.  The child should be able to tell you what they did that was wrong.  They ought to be able to know why it was wrong.  They need to understand more than just “cause I said so”.

For example – “It’s wrong to bite your brother.  It’s not good to bite other people.  I don’t want you growing up to be a person who hurts other people”.  Or, “You are not allowed to talk to your mother that way.  You need to respect your mother.  I want you to grow up to be a young man who learns to respect others”.

The word “admonition” is in our verse in Eph. 6:4, based on a word meaning “placing on the mind”, speaking “mind-to-mind”, talking things out.

My sons are now long past spanking.  I don’t know where the paddle is. But I’m still responsible to “raise” them.

I find that the majority of any shaping I might still have on their lives comes from talking with them.

One of the things I’ve been convicted about lately – are the only words coming from my mouth to my kids words of correction?  How often do they hear things from me like, “I’m proud of you” or “You’re doing a great job”?

That too is “admonition”.

7.     Spanking is rare.  Make sure it’s not the only way you discipline your kids. 

Spanking wasn’t an everyday thing; it was maybe a couple of times a year.  I know my boys are a bit older, but I can’t remember the last time one of them was spanked.

8.     “Respect” is important.

The word “respect” is a dangerous word – some people abuse the concept of respect and demand utter slave-like obedience of anyone who steps inside their house.  But real, blatant disrespect is a serious offense.  Parents, if you allow your kids to speak to you in a rebellious, disrespectful way, you are setting yourself up for trouble.  Start early.  I think that one of the most difficult things for some of us is to teach our kids to respect us, mostly because we aren’t sure we deserve respect.  The issue isn’t whether you deserve respect, it’s whether you are teaching your kids to disrespect authority.  It’s bigger than you.

9.     Develop other disciplines.  Come up with other things that work as well.  Some kids don’t respond to spanking but they do respond to losing their GameBoy privileges. 

Another thing we’d do is to count.  If we gave several warnings and they don’t obey, then we’d start counting.  They knew that if we got to “three” that something would happen.  Don’t give warnings you don’t follow through on.  If you follow through on the warnings then they respond to you counting.

Don’t forget about rewards.  Don’t just punish bad behaviors, reward good ones.

10. Restitution. If another person is involved, they need to apologize and make things right.  The discipline isn’t complete until they have said “sorry” to their brother and hugged.

11.  Pick your battles.  If you only had the ability to influence 30% of the things you’d like to fix about your kids, what would you choose? Some parents fall into the trap of thinking they have to control every aspect of their child’s life until they’re 90 years old.  And so they argue with their kids over everything.  You’ll get along much better if you let some things go.

12. End with love.

EVERY time you discipline you need to make sure that at the end your child knows that you love them.  After they have understood what they’ve done, after they have been punished, after they have made restitution, they need to be greatly loved on by you.  They need hugs.  They need affirmation.  They need to hear you say you love them. The pattern is:

(Heb 12:6 NKJV)  For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."

Have you been going through a time of “discipline” lately?  Is it time to get things right with God?