THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT

Ex 20:12--Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

Children who cursed or hit their parents were to be stoned to death, under the Law. Ex 21:15--He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. Ex 21:17--He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

I do not remember ever cursing or hitting my parents. But I remember one time I failed to honor my fatherís instructions. I was singing Elvis Presleyís recent release, "You Ainít Nothiní But A Hound Dog." Daddy told me to quit singing that song. I was standing in the doorway, and Dad was walking up the path with an arm load of split stove wood. I began singing the song again with impudence, and he threw a stick of stove wood at me. I closed the screen door before the stick arrived, and escaped harm. But the screen door was torn.

The year was 1956, and I was 16 years old. My father was broken by the death of my mother on Dec 15, 1955. There were then six of us siblings, ages 17 down to 7, and our seventh, Jenny, was born just before mother died. We loved our mother as much as any children ever loved their mother. I still want to honor my parents, even though they have passed over Jordan. And I want to honor Mabel Hackworth Ray Gonce, who rescued my dad from his deep depression, and who later became my mother-in-law. I have been blessed by good parents.

I want to honor Phillip and Austin Stubblefield, who have made it possible for their mother Jo Ann to live at home even though she is bedfast. Jo Ann revived from depression when she moved home, to live in her own house. She has been a blessing to many people, myself included. Jo Ann is honored by being allowed to live in peace at home.

Jesus had harsh words for the Scribes and Pharisees who had made a rule that the care to be given to parents could be dedicated to the Temple service, and thus the children be relieved of caring for their parents. Mark 7:9-13--He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition."

"For Moses said, "HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER'; and, "HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH'; but you say, "If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),' you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that."

May this be a warning to todayís children. Do not devote what belongs to your parents care to other uses, not even to support TV evangelists who promise a blessing for your "seed money." Since caring for parents was more important than caring for the Temple, we need to show proper concern for our parents. God made it one of the Ten Commandments.

This is the first of the Ten Commandments with a promise attached, Ex 20:12--that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. Canaan land, promised to Israel, is a picture of our eternal dwelling place.

I often think of the picture in Rev 7:14-17--And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."

I can see my mother there. And Ollie, and Mabel.