Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
When presidents die, the nation honors their contributions to the nation. The same happens when a military or local public service hero loses his or her life. Such honor is well-deserved. However, other expressions of honor seem to be practiced less: gentlemen treating ladies respectfully, younger people rising to greet an elderly person, children honoring their parents, people honoring the nation’s flag, and others.
There is something timeless and universal about “honor.” For instance, hundreds of years before Moses wrote down the fifth of the Ten Commandments—the command to honor one’s parents—Joseph did that very thing without being commanded. Though his mother was dead, Joseph honored his father, Jacob, by bringing his household to Egypt, introducing him to Pharaoh, settling his family in the choice lands in Egypt, and returning his body to Canaan to be buried when he died. Most of all, Joseph wept grievously over his father when he died and called the nation of Egypt to honor him at his passing.
Honor feels right when extended, and feels wrong when it is withheld. Look for someone to honor today in word or deed (Romans 13:7).
Honour ought to seek thee, not thou seek it. Augustine
Sermon: “Your Struggle with Authority” | Exodus 20:12 Honor Your Father and Mother
What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:4
Many movie critics consider David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia one of the greatest films of all time. With its seemingly endless vistas of the Arabian deserts, it has influenced a generation of filmmakers—including Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg. “I was inspired the first time I saw Lawrence,” said Spielberg. “It made me feel puny. It still makes me feel puny. And that’s one measure of its greatness.”
What makes me feel small is creation’s vastness—when I gaze at an ocean, fly over the polar ice cap, or survey a night sky sparkling with a billion stars. If the created universe is so expansive, how much greater must be the Creator who spoke it into being!
God’s greatness and our feelings of insignificance are echoed by David when he declares, “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” (Psalm 8:4 nlt). But Jesus assures us, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).
I may feel small and insignificant, but through my Father’s eyes, I have great worth—a worth that is proven every time I look at the cross. The price He was willing to pay to restore me to fellowship with Him is evidence of how He values me.
Reflect & Pray
What wonder of creation draws your attention to God? How does it impact you to know how much your Creator values you?
There is no higher privilege than becoming a friend of Jesus Christ. And that is what He calls those of us who have believed and received Him as our Savior and Lord. What an amazing thought—that Jesus died for us and suffered our punishment for sins so that we could have a relationship with the Father through Him.
Sometimes people get the idea that the Lord is some distant deity who is busy with global problems but isn’t concerned about individuals. Or perhaps they think that He’s an uninvolved Creator who made mankind and left them to figure everything out on their own. The truth is that the triune God is a relational being who created humans in His image and invites us to enter into a relationship with Him.
Although sin broke that possibility, the plan of redemption was already in place. Then, at just the right time, the Son of God came into the world and by His own death made it possible for mankind to be set free from sin and reconciled to the Father. We have been made new creatures who can now respond to our Creator with love, worship, and obedience.
Christians today tend to focus on Jesus’ teaching, miracles, and death on the cross, but we should not overlook the fact that He spent three years with 12 men in a tight relational bond. His priority was to instruct and prepare them to reach the world with the gospel of salvation after He returned to the Father. We are the spiritual descendants of the Lord’s disciples, and He imparts His Spirit to us as our closest companion and comforter.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2)
The hymn “Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him” was written in the more formal early 1800s, yet it has an almost whimsical approach to its clever rhymes and cadence. A delight to sing, one might at first think it somewhat trivial, but a more careful look finds many rich insights into doctrinal truth. The final verse reflects the promise that one day “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things which are not now, nor could be,
Soon shall be our own.
We can scarcely imagine the joys in store for us in Glory. The apostle Paul had similar difficulty, yet he prayed that we might “be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
As we anticipate what is to come, we can rest in the certain knowledge that all is secure, for He has promised this. Ephesians concludes with this benediction: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21). JDM
Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
That many Christians in our day are lukewarm and somnolent will not be denied by anyone with an anointed eye, but the cure is not to stir them up to a frenzy of activity. That would be but to take them out of one error and into another. What we need is a zealous hunger for God, an avid thirst after righteousness, a pain-filled longing to be Christlike and holy. We need a zeal that is loving, self-effacing and lowly. No other kind will do.
That pure love for God and men which expresses itself in a burning desire to advance God’s glory and leads to poured-out devotion to the temporal and eternal welfare of our fellowmen is certainly approved of God; but the nervous, squirrel-cage activity of self-centered and ambitious religious leaders is just as certainly offensive to Him and will prove at last to have been injurious to the souls of countless millions of human beings. SIZ081-082
Lord, give me that “zealous hunger for God,” that “avid thirst after righteousness,” that “painfilled longing to be Christlike and holy.” I want to give myself in “poured-out devotion” for Your glory. Use me as Your servant, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty—Psalm 91:1.
As soon as I woke in the morning I threw myself into the arms of Divine Love as a child does into its father’s arms. I rose to serve Him, and to perform my daily labor simply that I might please Him. If I had time for prayer, I fell on my knees in His divine presence, consecrated myself to Him, and begged Him that He would accomplish His holy will perfectly in me and through me, and that He would not permit me to offend Him in the least thing all through the day. I occupied myself with Him and His praise as long as my duties permitted. Very often, I had not leisure to say even so much as the Lord’s Prayer during the day; but that did not trouble me. I thought it as much my duty to work for Him as to pray to Him, for He Himself had taught me, that all that I should do for love of Him would be a true prayer, I loved Him and rejoiced in Him. If my occupations required all my attention, I had nevertheless my heart—turned towards Him; and, as soon as they were finished, I ran to Him again, as to my dearest Friend. When evening came, and every one went to rest, I found mine only in the Divine Love, and fell asleep, still loving and adoring Him.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zeph. 3:17
What a word is this! Jehovah God in the center of His people in all the majesty of His power! This presence alone suffices to inspire us with peace and hope. Treasures of boundless might are stored in our Jehovah, and He dwells in His church, therefore may His people shout for joy.
We not only have His presence, but He is engaged upon His choice work of salvation. “He will save.” He is always saving: He takes His name of Jesus from it. Let us not fear any danger, for He is mighty to save.
Nor is this all. He abides evermore the same; He loves, He finds rest in loving, He will not cease to love. His love gives Him joy. He even finds a theme for song in His beloved. This is exceedingly wonderful. When God wrought creation He did not sing, but simply said, “It is very good”; but when He came to redemption, then the sacred Trinity felt a joy to be expressed in song. Think of it, and be astonished! Jehovah Jesus sings a marriage song over His chosen bride. She is to Him His love, His joy, His rest, His song. O Lord Jesus, by thine immeasurable love to us teach us to love thee, to rejoice in thee, and to sing unto thee our life-psalm.