The Lord your God commands: “Honor your father and your mother!” (Exo 20:12 NIV). And the apostle St.Paul admonishes: „Let children learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.” (1Ti 5:4 KJV)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you + now and always +
Dear friends of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ: Revolutions turn God given structures upside down and on their head. Something like those enthusiasts at Münster, who took infants and crowned them king. Their terrible end in those iron cages hanging from the torrents and city walls speaks for itself. In our time and age, where secularity is having a heyday and people far too easily go about their daily life as if God was no longer, this takes its severe toll in families and homes. Piety is pushed on the backburner. Good norms no longer structure daily living. Things are falling apart, because the god-fearing centre doesn’t hold. Father and mother don’t play their roles anymore and the children are at a loss. Fathers are turned into caricatures and mothers are not liberated after all. Children are left disorientated and practically hanging out to dry. Insubordination is the order of the day and thus God’s commandment is disregarded and his wrath incurred, blessings forsaken and the promises lost. Frightful examples are the student revolts of 68, but also the uprisings against all parental control and educational/governmental supervision as we had it locally in the mid-70’s.
Immediately after the three commandments concerning God – as the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household:
- Thou shalt have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain. What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
- Thou shalt sanctify the holy-day. What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.
We have this the Fourth Commandment, which today is the Herrenhuter Losung/Reading: Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long upon the earth. What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.
This is the first commandment, which has a divine promise added. This adds weight and dignity to it. Thus God would want us to take it even more serious and gladly obey it from the very bottom of our heart. Positive examples are the young David even after he was anointed to be king by the prophet Nathan, he still honoured and revered king Saul, not lifting a finger up against him in rebellion or with murderous intent, because he was the Lord’s anointed. God points out, how this was good, meet and salutary. Or our Lord Jesus Christ, who lived in Nazareth and showed respect and honour to saint Joseph the carpenter and holy mother Mary. He subjugated himself under their parental direction and obeyed them as every child should obey his parents for God’s sake. This is good and acceptable in the eyes of God.
We know this holds true not only for our bodily parents, but also for those, who are in their place, who represent them and ultimately God himself. Our educators and teachers, but also the police and governmental powers, who have been called and ordained by God to promote peace and goodwill amongst all people. Lastly it encompasses our pastors and teachers, who are special vicars of Christ himself and are our fathers in the faith. Honour, respect, obedience and subordination is their rightful due – and not only the fair and friendly, but even the harsh and strange. As the apostle St. Peter writes: “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” (1Pe 2:18 NIV) Obedience and subordination for the Lord’s sake is indeed good, meet and salutary. It doesn’t fit nicely with our ideas of human liberation and political emancipation, but it very definitely has its rightful place in God’s good will and discipline for us and our salvation. Amen.
The peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you always + Amen.
“The Law of God Is Good and Wise”
by Matthias Loy, 1828-1915
1. The Law of God is good and wise
And sets His will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
And dooms to death when we transgress.
2. Its light of holiness imparts
The knowledge of our sinful hearts
That we may see our lost estate
And seek deliverance ere too late.
3. To those who help in Christ have found
And would in works of love abound
It shows what deeds are His delight
And should be done as good and right.
4. When men the offered help disdain
And wilfully in sin remain,
Its terror in their ear resounds
And keeps their wickedness in bounds.
5. The Law is good; but since the Fall
Its holiness condemns us all;
It dooms us for our sin to die
And has no power to justify.
6. To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at His throne,
Saved by His grace through faith alone.
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 19: 8
Author: Matthias Loy, 1863
Tune: “Erhalt uns, Herr”
1st Published in: Geistliche Lieder
Town: Wittenberg, 1543