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It Comes with a Promise

Exodus 20:12



Indiana Jones has become popular again this year, and this has prompted us to revisit the original trilogy.  One highlight from the 2nd film was when ‘Short Round’, the young boy, says to adult Indiana, “Indy! You listen to me you live longer!”  The Bible says it’s the other way around, but the promise is still there!


The first 4 commandments were about our relationship with God.  We now begin looking at the next 6 which are about our relationships with others...and mom and dad come first.


People who have trouble getting along at home have problems with the rest of society.  The family is the basic structure of human civilization.  God ordained the family before He ordained government, or the church.


1.     The Parents.

You owe your very existence to your mom and dad.  You had nothing to do w/ who they would be.  You didn’t get to vote on it.  You didn’t visit a parent store and choose them.  Your parents likely had hang-ups of their own, they weren’t perfect. 


Ill.—some of us have to put a bit of a positive spin on our family tree [dog using it!]  Like the 2 high school boys who tried to honor their dad on Father’s Day by putting together for him a book on their family history.  The problem was that their uncle George had been executed some years before.  The oldest boy said, no problem, and here’s what he wrote in the book:  “Uncle George was selected to occupy the Chair of Applied Electronics” at an important government institution.  He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties.  His death came as a real shock”!


You couldn’t choose your parents, but they didn’t choose you either.  God gave you to them.  The only exception is those who were adopted.  To be adopted is a beautiful thing, and if you were adopted you need never feel 2nd class.  Rather, you can feel chosen!  The pro abortion crowd chants “better aborted than adopted” and that is utter foolishness that I take exception to.


Either way, no child is here by accident, and all really were chosen by God, just as He adopts us into His family!  It doesn’t matter who your parents were, or what they were like...even unsaved parents...this commandment is to obey them too!  And when you were conceived, God was there!  The value of a child is not dependant upon the circumstances under which that child was conceived.

Psalms 139:14-16
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

A child is a precious gift.  And parents, we have 3 awesome responsibilities to our kids:

  • Their physical care—we guard them and meet their needs.  In love we sacrifice to make it happen.  I’ll never understand dead beat dads who don’t take responsibility.  Ill.—10 year old Johnny laid a paper on the table for his mother.  It was a bill—it said:  Washed car=$5.  Took out trash=$5.  Cleaned my room=$5.  Total=$15.  The next day his mom left a bill on the table for Johnny which read:  Washed clothes 520 times=$2,600.  16,950 meals=$85,000.  Sat up at night when sick many times=$5,000.  Gave birth to you=no amount sounds right.  Total amount owed= “I love you!”  Kids, let your parents help you.  You will have many big decisions to make soon, and you have no experience to draw from.  But your parents have much experience and have learned much, but no decisions to make.  Doesn’t it stand to reason that God wants you to listen to them and work together? 

Proverbs 4:1
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
Proverbs 1:8
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

  • Their emotional care.  We need to provide them a strong foundational platform upon which to build the rest of their life.  A child is a clean slate, and what we engrave on them early will shape their values for the rest of their life.  If you tell a kid he’s no good then sooner or later he’ll prove you right.  We are to love them, lead them, and one day have to lose them.
  • Their spiritual care.  The first concept of God for a child they get from their parents.  You are a skylight thru which your kids get their first glimpse of God!  What an awesome responsibility.  I’m thankful for our youth leaders and a whole great staff of loving leaders throughout our children’s ministries, but may we never forget that the primary responsibility for our kid’s spiritual development lies within our own home.  Ill.--No man is a failure who teaches his children to follow God.  You may not be able to buy them expensive toys.  You may not be able to get them their first car, or the best clothes, but you can give them the most important gift and it’s free!  The world looked at Noah like he was a failure, but when it all came down, his family was alive on the ark!


The parents...


2.     The Precepts.

Ephesians 6:1-2
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
Colossians 3:20
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Honor= “to hold in high esteem, to give way to.”  What they say means something to you.  The first way to honor your parents is to obey them.  We all answer to others, but the way we learn to respond to authority is by learning to obey our parents. No teacher, boss, or police officer will have their respect and obedience until we the parents have it.  Look at this list of vile sinners called reprobates:

Romans 1:28-30
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

The disobedient child is listed w/ the murderers and hateful and fornicators, because the disobedient child will one day become such if something doesn’t change soon!


Ill.—Absalom rebelled against his parents.  Can you see the clashing of swords as he and his followers revolted against his father David?  Can you see him riding away on a mule, his hair flowing in the wind as an outer symbol of his inward rebellion?  And as he passed under that tree his hair was caught in the branches.  He hung there as General Joab rode up and put 3 sharp spears thru the black, dark, ugly, rebellious heart of Absalom.  It’s an everlasting memorial of what God thinks about those who rebel against their parents.


We live in the age of grace, but back then, under the law, they disciplined children differently.  When rebels developed and raised their ugly heads, parents took them to the elders and they had a rock concert in their honor! [stoned to death]  I’m not condoning that, but Biblical discipline is as real as ever, and all kids still have the built in place to make application...the board of education applied directly to the seat of knowledge!  Ill.—I think back to my childhood and the drug problem I had.  When I disobeyed I got drug to the woodshed!  It’s true, we can all learn from books and from teachers, but the most primary tool of learning is pain...a primal motivator.  Somehow my parents knew that there is a direct line of communication from the gluteus maximus to the cerebral cortex! 


God spoke wisdom thru Solomon, not Dr. Spock or Dr. Phil...

If you spare the rod you spoil your hate your child.


Children normally go thru 4 stages:

  • Idolize their parents—A fun stage when they think you can’t do anything wrong. 
  • Demonize their parents—somehow their brain falls out their ear and their parents become the enemy.  They are the cause of all our problems...even high gas prices!  They can’t do anything right.  But then they work thru that stage and learn to...
  • Utilize their parents—they get smart and start complementing their parents and then ask for the car keys.
  • Humanize their parents—they realize they aren’t God or the devil, just people.  They have strengths and weaknesses just like us. 


About elderly parents.  There’s a role reversal that happens eventually.  And we need to be as patient as we’ll want our kids to be someday.  When the Bible says to provide for your own household we usually apply that to our kids, but in context it was actually talking about our parents.  Children are supposed to be the real social security program, and I have so much respect for the many here who are doing just that.  Now it’s one thing for them to have a medical necessity for nursing care, but it’s another thing when kids cast them off there and don’t even visit them anymore!


Our parents know they have an offer to come be with us if ever they need it, and I understand they want to remain independent as long as they can.  But here’s a note to my kids:  when I’m old I’m coming to live with you, and when I do, it’s payback time!  I’m gonna play the tv and stereo until the windows rattle, and eat anything that slows down.  I won’t be able to get up and fetch anything for myself.  I’ll drink milk right from the jug, and whine and complain when I don’t get my way!


The parents, the precepts...


3.     The Promise.

The primary interpretation here is that God was telling Israel they could remain in Canaan, the Promised Land, longer if they would honor their parents.  But there’s a secondary application here for us as well.  If you honor your parents they will help develop habits and choices in your life that will tend to make you live happier and longer.  If you go your own way you are inviting circumstances which tend to shorten your life, and make it miserable.  Of course, there’s more to it, so just because someone dies prematurely doesn’t mean they dishonored their parents.

        When your parents tell you not to drink they aren’t trying to spoil your fun, but trying to save your life.  [driving rules / dating rules / etc.]


Children are to honor, but parents need to live honorably.

Ill.—a true story:  on Nov. 12, 1934 a baby was born to 16 year old Kathleen Maddox.  The baby was entered into the record book as ‘no name Maddox’.  He was abused, left alone for days on end.  In 1939 the mom was arrested for armed robbery and when she got out of jail her son was 8.  His life was brutal.  His mom went from one lover to the next.  At the age of 12 he was sent to a boys home in IN.  He ran away after 10 months.  He searched for his mother and when he found her she rejected him.  At age 13 he was convicted of armed robbery himself, and at 16 had a long criminal record.  He was sent to federal prison where he was raped.  At age 17 he put a razor to the throat of his cell mate and sodomized him.  While in prison he became obsessed with the occult.  At age 33 he was released from prison against his own wishes.  It was the only home he had ever known, and so upon release he began a reign of terror in California, slaughtering people in cold blood.  You know him as Charles Manson.  And one day he was somebody’s plump little baby.  He was a clean slate.  He wanted love and training.  But when that didn’t happen he became a monster.


God help us all to live honorable lives!



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