Ten Choices That Will Change Your Life
Week 5: Exodus 20:12
The Ten Commandments instruct God’s people how to live life to the fullest – a life that pleases God and brings blessing. What pleases God? Sometimes we make this question more complicated than it needs to be. Colossians is pretty clear that obedience to parents pleases God. This command is seen throughout the Bible. The fifth commandment uses the word “honor” to describe how we are to relate to our parents. Honor takes on the meaning of respect, value, prize or revere in the context of authority. Think of a judge in a court room. People remove their hats and rise when he/she takes their seat to show honor. Parents have been divinely given a position of authority over their children. Parents aren’t perfect, but they still deserve honor. Let’s choose to honor their God-given position because this ultimately pleases our heavenly Father.
When you were young, was obeying your parents something that came easily for you? Why is that?
Getting into the Text:
1. (Matthew 22:34-40 and Exodus 20:1-17) Jesus said that all of the commandments boil down to two general ideas: love God and love your neighbor. Which of the Ten Commandments are mostly about loving God? Which are mostly about loving our neighbor? Why do you think that the commandment to honor parents is the first one of the ‘loving neighbor’ commandments? Do you think of your own parents as an example of a neighbor to love?
2. (Exodus 20:12a) What does ‘honor’ mean here? What should this look like for young children, older children, and adult children in our time? Which of these groups is the commandment addressed to?
3. (Exodus 20:12b and Deuteronomy 30:15-16) The promise of a full and long life, one that is blessed by God, is offered in Deuteronomy to those who obey the whole of God’s commands. Why do you think it is also explicitly mentioned in connection with the fifth commandment?
4. The instruction to honor and obey parents also appears in various forms in the New Testament. What do the following passages teach us about this topic? Mark 7:9-13, Matthew 10:37, John 19:25-27, Ephesians 6:1-3, Colossians 3:20, 1 Timothy 5:3-4.
1. How can you better honor your father and your mother in the season where you are right now? What is keeping you from doing this effectively? Bring that to the Lord and ask for his help.
2. If you are a parent, what can you do to teach your kids the importance of this commandment? How might you better live, act, and speak in a way that encourages your kids to honor you and your spouse? Or if you do not have kids of your own but you spend time with children, how can you encourage them to honor their parents?