Honor thy father and thy mother. – Exodus 20:12.
This is God’s Fourth Commandment. By father and mother our own parents are meant first and above all; but the Bible also directs us to apply Fourth Commandment principles in our dealings with all those who, according to God’s ordinance, are our superiors in the home, state, school, and church. We must not disregard this divine order. We must not despise our parents and masters, nor provoke them to anger, but give them honor, serve and obey them, and hold them in love and esteem. Certainly, “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
If our parents and masters demand anything of us that is against the Word of God, we must not obey them in that instance. But otherwise we must give them the honor with which God has invested them, and do so with a willing heart, out of love for the Savior (Ephesians 6:5-7). Children are to obey their parents in all things (Colossians 3:20). Even adult children are to show honor to their aged parents and treat them with love and kindness (Proverbs 23:22).
To other masters we must give that honor which they can claim by virtue of their office and their station. This commandment “is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth,” says the Apostle (Ephesians 6:2-3). You may judge what is meant thereby from what is threatened to those who ruthlessly disregard this commandment. If children flatly refuse to obey their parents, employees their employers, subjects their government, pupils their teachers, church-members the faithful preachers of God’s Word—just imagine what would result from that! Can there be any prosperity if such is the case? But if the Fourth Commandment is respected, then things will be well. Alas! many sins could be recorded here. Examine your own conduct.
PRAYER – My God, I know that from a child, even from my mother’s womb, I am evil and full of sin. Wash me of all my sins by the blood which Thy dear Son hath shed for me; and grant me Thy good Spirit, that He may teach me, while I sojourn here on earth, to live according to Thy holy will in my own sphere and calling. Amen.
Give to thy parents honor due,
Be dutiful, and loving, too,
And help them when their strength decays;
So shalt thou have length of days.
Have mercy, Lord!
Hymn 287, 5.
Morning & Evening Prayer