(During the discussion with my dad), my husband mentioned that for years now, he has gotten a steady message from God to make sure he has his affairs in order, because he is not going to live a long life. We have discussed this before, and over the years, I have learned to trust my husband’s ‘strong feelings’, ‘premonitions’, or whatever you want to call them. When he mentioned this to my dad, my dad whipped out his bible and turned to Ephesians 6
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. Ephesians 6:1-3
This was to show my husband that since he had honored his parents, he was guaranteed to live a long life. My dad went on and on about the ten commandments, and how this was the only commandment with a promise attached, etc. I think it was a stretch to try to apply these verses in that way. I don’ t know. Just thought it was interesting. I mean if this is the case, I can pick and choose any scripture I want and make it apply to any situation I want in a way that is favorable to me.
I’m glad you had a good visit with your dad last night. With my parents I also have found it much more beneficial not to make an issue out of many things, especially some Biblical things. I have enjoyed talking with my parents simply by listening with those living ears I have in Christ instead of listening for ways to make a point. Thanks for describing this encounter with your dad, it was cool.
Regarding that verse from Ephesians I have also heard it used to validate God’s promise of a long life. I guess that would mean that any who didn’t live a long life on this earth must have not honored their parents! Whoops … we might have to readjust our opinions of those who’ve died young so that we realize that these were the ones who hadn’t obeyed their parents!!
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.’ “
Then again, we might just have to take into account that the Law of Moses had severe penalties against children who didn’t obey their parents.
If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.” Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Yeah, if little Johnny didn’t obey his dad and mom he might not live very long at all. I suspect our considerations of the “promise” may be far removed from this reason for a shortened life, don’t you think? Maybe we really need to reconsider many quotes found in the NT letters as maybe we’ve really misunderstood the impact their use may have had.
So, why would Paul even quote a command of the law to make his point, if we’re not under the Law … unless it was maybe for the contrast? Now, the truth of honoring one’s parents is not in question, for apart from the Spirit of God there is no real “honoring” nor is there any true “obedience”. The OT writings are a testimony of this very fact, for in Israel’s attempt to be obedient they became disobedient, and God even called their sacrifices as stinking smoke in His nostrils (Holy Nostrils, Batman!).
Don’t forget, Paul was the guy who rocked the religious world with his scripturally-validated demands that the law produces sin and death! He was the one who carefully revealed how living by the Law would cause opposition to everything in the Law, and also be antagonism toward God. He was the one who demanded that where there is no law there is no wrath! He was the one who said, “We don’t need no stinkin’ law!” He was the one who demanded that in having God’s love brought within us that it fulfilled what the Law could NEVER do!
Paul’s quoting of this “first commandment with a promise” emphasized the heart of the living relationship of the son that honors his father. Yes, the Law testified that a son that did not honor his father was worthy of death, and in doing so, it demanded that such a relationship was a farce, not just that it was a “bad” one. You see, pointing out the “promise” contained in this law only highlighted the life vs. death difference between the life we received in Christ – who is the son that truly honored his father – and the appearance of life by a command that had to be enforced under threat of death in the Law of Moses. No, Paul’s mention of this promise was not to ensure their long life on the earth, nor to suggest anything to the contrary, for the truth was that many of them would face an early death on the earth for the sake of the one who brought new life.
Was Paul encouraging children to obey, or “listen”, to their parents? Of course he was. But it was an encouragement that was made in contrast to an “obedience” that is fabricated in the attempt to not suffer the consequences attached to breaking it. It was an encouragement to the heart of those born of God toward the living relationship of a father and son, one that is not built upon legal manipulations and fakery, but upon the life of the living son of the living father!
The fact is that it only makes sense for Paul to have continually contrasted the total fulfillment of Christ in view of the Law that merely testified of something far greater than it could ever produce. The law demanded love, but it could produce none! Paul’s quoting of specific commands was always in face of the Law’s failure to perform what those under it didn’t want exposed. In doing so, he kept making his point that what God did in Christ was the real stuff of life, while what they had accepted was merely a fabrication. In other words, Christ brought reality while law had only produced a façade.