God’s Instructions for Children, II

  • Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother ….” A civil society begins in the home.   Children honor their father and mother through their obedience. They then carry this honor for authority in the home into the society when they leave the home.

The responsibility of the children to maintain the home is their obedience to their parents. Through their obedience to their parents they are preparing themselves for life. A disobedient child not only breaks down the function of his family, but he is also preparing in his behavior to break down of civil order when he leaves home. It is not surprising, therefore, that Jesus quoted Exodus 20:12 of the Sinai law during His ministry to restore the Jews to the life-style that should be governed by the law of God (See Mt 15:4; 19:19).

When we witness civil disorder in society, we are witnessing the result of citizens who have graduated out of homes where children were not taught to respect their parents. Undisciplined children in the home will always lead to undisciplined citizens in society. When parents allow their children to show disrespect in the home, they are handing over to the police a dysfunctional citizen whom they must now discipline.

  • Exodus 21:15: “And he who strikes his father or his mother, will surely be put to death.” The respectful relationship that children are to have toward their parents was clearly stated in this law for the Jews. Capital punishment was due to any child who would lay a hand on a parent simply because an undisciplined child in the home would lead to the destruction of society as a whole. It was best that the anarchist be stopped in the home before he or she brought ruin to society as a whole. In 1971, President Bokassa of the Central African Republic, celebrated one Mother’s Day by executing all prisoners in the state prison who had committed some crime against their mothers.
  • Exodus 21:17: “And he who curses his father or his mother, will surely be put to death” (Lv 20:9). In the Jewish society, capital punishment was to be meted out on those children who even verbally showed disrespect to their parents. The reason for this was that any society will disintegrate into anarchy when children begin showing disrespect for their parents. When there is no respect for parents in the home, there will be no respect for civil authority in the streets. The next stage of this social digression into anarchy is when citizens start blaming civil authority for any efforts to bring disobedient children, who have left the home, under the control of civil law.   A society that must have a strong police force to maintain law and order is a society where respect for law and order was not demanded in the home. Before one would argue with this truth, he must remember that Israel had no police force outside the home. The Jewish home produced citizens who respected the law of God.
  • Proverbs 19:26: “He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother, is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.”   The disrespectful child brings reproach and shame on his parents because of his lack of respect for his parents.   Rebellious children are a shame to the family. Young people manifest respect for their parents when they leave the home by continuing in their obedience of what was taught by their parents in the home.

Children must understand that their rebellion in the home brings shame upon the name of their parents. And in bringing shame upon the name of their parents, they must remember that they will live with the same name upon which they brought shame in their youth. The disrespectful child will always live with the guilt of his disrespect until the day he dies. The rebellious child in his or her youth should remember that he or she is creating unpleasant memories of their childhood with which they will have to live the rest of their lives.

Regardless of the forgiveness of their parents, one will still remember the rebellion of his or her youth. The apostle Paul never forgot that he persecuted the family of God (1 Tm 1:13). However, he found solace in the grace of God. And so must rebellious children when they eventually wander out of the wilderness of sin.

  • Proverbs 23:24,25: “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will have joy in him. Your father and your mother will be glad, and she who bore you will rejoice.” Children make their parents proud when they follow in the righteous instructions that were delivered to them by their parents. When they are old, children must remember that they will live with the guilt of their own disobedience toward their parents in their youth.   For this reason, the wise child will seek to follow the instructions of his or her parents in order to bring joy to their hearts. A righteous son or daughter always makes his or her father and mother proud.

In contrast to disrespectful youth, we can only imagine how much joy filled the heart of Timothy’s mother, Eunice, because he continued in the genuine faith throughout his life that she had taught him from his youth (2 Tm 1:5). The inheritance of a genuine faith that Eunice passed on to her son was far more precious than any financial stocks and bonds that he may have inherited.   Because he focused on faith in his youth, he could always remember spiritually obedient times with his mother who gave him a precious spiritual inheritance. When he left the home, Timothy had no guilt with which to deal in reference to his childhood.

  • Proverbs 15:20: “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.” The wise son is the one who has continued in the instructions of his father. This is the son of whom his father is proud. If one does not continue in the instructions of his parents, it is the same as despising the parents when he is on his own.   Children who have left the home bring honor to their parents by continuing in the godly life about which they were instructed as children in the home. When children rebel against the godly instruction of their parents, they are living a life that despises their parents. A life that is contrary to the godly instruction of one’s parents is a life that brings despite upon one’s mother.
  • Proverbs 10:1: “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” A wise son is defined as one who continues in the instructions of his father. He is wise because he listens to his father.   Solomon’s definition of wisdom in the context of the preceding statement is when one listens to the instructions of one’s parents.

The son who rebels against the godly instruction of his father brings grief to the heart of his mother. A godly mother will have a heavy heart in reference to a wayward child until the time of her death. A wayward child who does not perceive this, is selfish, disrespectful and unconcerned about the emotional well-being of his mother. The child’s wayward life after leaving the home reveals his rebellion against the teaching of his father. His rebellion always affects his reaction to correction when he encounters in life opportunities to repent.

  • Proverbs 28:14: “He who robs his father or his mother, and says, ‘It is no transgression,’ the same is a companion of a destroyer.” The skill of loving one’s neighbor as himself begins in the home. A thief does not love his neighbor as himself. Theft, therefore, is always wrong because it is behavior that is contrary to the principle that one love his neighbor as himself. Simply because one takes something from a parent through theft still means that one is a thief. When theft is uncorrected in the home, a thief is turned loose on society.

Theft from a parent reveals disrespect for the parent in the home. It reveals disrespect for one’s neighbor in society. If one believes that theft from a parent is not wrong, then he cannot have a civil relationship with his neighbor in society. Thievery becomes a culture. It is often learned in the home when children steal from their parents.   They learn the culture of thievery in the home, and then, simply maintain the same behavior when they leave the home.

[Next lecture: September 20]


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