Reformed Articles

The Ten Commandments: The Fifth

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The Hebrew word is kabod and means heavy.  In other words, the person who is to be honored must be accorded weight. Now, it helps if a parent actually has weighty things to say!  You can see how the role of the parent and the honor a child is to give work in tandem.  The parent has weighty things to say and the child honors those weighty things. 

The Fifth Commandment is weighty.  The finger of God inscribed it this way, “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” In the Westminster Larger Catechism, the commandments are typically explained by asking what the duties of a command are and what does that command forbid.  Sometimes there is a question that asks about the reasons annexed to a particular commandment. The fourth commandment even asks two additional questions for a total of six questions in all regarding that commandment. But when we come to the fifth precept we find a staggering number of questions. Eleven questions are enlisted in the elucidation of this divine statute which is almost double the amount employed by the divines in the fourth commandment.

Well, this article cannot cover everything but it must cover some of the essentials.  First, we must consider the role of the parent.  The parent is a teacher.  From the child’s earliest days he is to receive instruction from his parents.  Yes, he is taught to walk, eat from a spoon and say “please” and “thank you.”  But along with these sociological essentials he must be taught the commandments of God.  Deuteronomy 6:1-4 could not be clearer.  A parent is to talk about the Lord, His promises and precepts from the earliest days and the parent is to do so regularly.  I would be remiss if I failed to say that fathers must lead their family into family devotions on a regular basis in order to fulfill their role as parent not to mention worship on the Lord’s Day.

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