honor your father and motherToday’s devotional returns to a familiar theme of Solomon’s urging his son to fulfill in word and deed the fifth commandment, which states: Honour [treat with respect; obey] thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long [prolonged] upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12)

Proverbs 23:22 – “Hearken [hear; listen; obey] unto thy father that begat thee, and despise [disrespect; scorn; belittle] not thy mother when she is old [aged; stricken with years].”

Proverbs 23:22 is a principle rarely honored in our homes, churches, and society; in fact, the moral erosion of our nation runs parallel with the violation of the 5th commandment and this principle. Let me explain.

The last half of the 20th century saw a fundamental shift in our nation from parent to child-centered households. Our country emerged from World War II as the most powerful nation in the world and the most prosperous society the world had ever witnessed. American families were ill-prepared for this nation’s sudden shift from a rural, community-centered, family-oriented culture to a country emphasizing prosperity and youth.child-centered family

Two-income households funded an appetite for leisure and pleasure. At the same time, the encroachment of media [radio, television, and movies] and secular education brought an influence that deemphasized family life and eroded strong parental influence and leadership.  Today, the abdication of parental authority and the erosion of the family are evident throughout our society.  The further we move from God’s design for marriage and the home, the greater the presence of moral debauchery, mayhem, and murder.

I remind my readers that society has changed, but God has not!  God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation and central relationship of the home and community.  From the beginning, the strength of the family was the bond between a man and his wife (Genesis 3:21-25).  Fulfilling God’s command to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:27-28), a husband and wife were blessed with children for whom it was their responsibility to love, nurture, discipline, and train (Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Proverbs 22:6).  Children if they honor and obey their parents, are promised their lives will be blessed with extended life and prosperity.

I close with two proverbs from chapter 23 that serve as the summation of my challenge to you.

parents are not perfectProverbs 23:24 – “The father of the righteous [just; law-abiding] shall greatly rejoice [be glad]: and he that begetteth a wise [discerning; obedient] child shall have joy [cheer; merry; be glad] of him. 25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad [joy; merry; cheer], and she that bare thee shall rejoice [be glad].

I have heard the following said in various ways, “You are only as happy as your least happy child.”

My friend, are you a joy or sorrow to your parents?   If you are a sorrow, the problem is not with your parents but with you!  A child, whether an adolescent or an adult, is commanded to honor their parents…a command that promises a long prosperous life.  You cannot change your parents, but you can change your attitude!

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith