The Bible on Children and Parents

According to the Bible, children are to treat their parents with great respect. In fact, if a child strikes or curses his or her parents it is as serious as murder, kidnapping or adultery. “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:15).

Notice that the parent does not need to be killed or even badly injured to deserve the death penalty, the child only needs to strike the parent. Such a concept would be outrageous in our society today when parents are dismissed by our leaders and even told that children should teach them instead of the other way around.

The very idea that parents should be held in such high regard so as to issue the death penalty for striking them is offensive. We might say that the family, not just the child needs to see a counselor or that the child might need anger management classes but the death penalty? Hardly.

Yet, the Lord commands that a child who curses or strikes his mother or father should be put to death. The Lord apparently has a different standard that we have, that should not come as a surprise.

“He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” Exodus 21:17

What does it mean to curse one’s mother or father? The traditional understanding has not been using foul language, although we might think otherwise, but to use the holy name of the Lord to purposefully curse your parents. While this carries the death penalty, there has not been a nation operating under God’s law and no one has been put to death in over two thousand years.

The guiding principles at work in these passages of scripture are that there are certain things needed in order for a society to be stable and at peace. A biblical worldview places an importance on the family as a foundational part of a healthy society. Disrespect, rebellion, and violence toward one’s parents is as much of a threat as murder, kidnapping, and adultery.

We should also understand that this does not absolve parents of the obligation to not exacerbate their children but instead reminds us to start early in training up our children. When parents use proper discipline on their children to correct their selfish and rebellious tendencies they will have better behaved and more polite children who are a joy to the family and society at large.

By contrast, parents that allow their children to become insulant and disrespectful are a shame to the family and really no one can stand to be around such children.  Today, children are taught to be disrespectful and it is not uncommon to hear those children mouth off to their parents. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul warned of in his second letter to Timothy:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” -2 Timothy 3:1-5

The company we keep is as important for our children as it is for us. If we knew that our children’s friends were thieves or gang members, we would not allow them to hang out with them. The same should be true for the disrespectful friends, not to mention hanging out with their parents. According to the bible, these things are seriously equal in importance.

Peace at Christmas

Christmas is a time to seek the best in ourselves and to give our best to others. We do this because the Lord gave His best to bring about our peace by imparting his love and joy to those who accept Him and follow Him.

“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14

Peace is often misunderstood. Mostly due to an unbiblical definition of the word. Peace really is not the absence of conflict but is more accurately defined as walking in agreement with God.

The world does not understand or want to believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth and that that truth is established by the Lord.

There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

When we remove the authority of sin in our lives and live according to the will of the Lord, we begin to understand what true peace can look like. Christmas is one of the times of the year that we should understand that the Lord first started the peace process by sending Jesus as the way, the truth and the life to reconcile us to God the Father.

The announcement made by the angels in Luke 2:14 was about having true peace with God. We should avoid having our own definition of peace that allows sin to continue to have authority over our lives but we should instead understand that peace with God comes from having the ability to reject sin in favor of the righteousness of Christ.

The ability was not given at Bethlehem, it was announced there. The power to overcome sin and to have true authority over it was given at Calvery. We celebrate Christmas peace because we know that the Lord keep His word by coming in the form of a man who would lay down that life on the cross.

Framed by the Word of God

The Lord created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. Where is my evidence for such a statement? Where is the incontrovertible proof?

I don’t have any to give to you, only that I believe it to be true. That is at the heart of the matter for the believer in Jesus Christ, belief.

The account of creation in Genesis is not so much a scientific narrative, although one could draw some theories from it, as it is a revelation of character and nature of the Creator.

It is thought-provoking that God does not begin scripture with the commandments but with an origin story, an account of His actions at the beginning of time. While it is impossible for finite human beings to grasp the concept of an infinite Creator, the Lord gives a glimpse of Himself nonetheless.

 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” -Hebrews 11:1

 

First and foremost the bible is a book of faith. In order to have a relationship with God, we must have faith. We can reject the revelation the Lord makes of creation as being too fantastic to believe, or we can accept it by faith.

The faith described by the writer of Hebrews is paradoxical to say the least.

How can a person have hope for something he is convinced already exists? That is how the person of faith is described. I believe that the Lord is as real as my wife and children; I believe without a doubt that He has transmitted His word accurately to us without error because my hope is in the Lord.

I have the convection that there are things that exist that I have not seen such as the heavenly realm, angels or even God Himself. Just as Balaam could not see the angel in his path ready to strike him down, I believe there are many things we have not seen that have created all that we do see.

 

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” -Hebrews 11:3

 

The godless believe that nothing created everything. In Latin the term is ex nihilo or “out of nothing”, the bible does not teach that creation came from nothing but rather that the visible world was created from what is invisible.

The origins of life and everything cannot be proven for this reason. While I appreciate the creationists and the work of intelligent design proponents, they, like the naturalist, can never truly use the scientific method to prove their theories.

Genesis is the revelation of God and His nature and as such is meant for the man or woman who seeks the Lord from a place of faith.

Tents and a Place Prepared for Us

We are in the midst of the biblical season of Sukkot. Such biblical appointed times are meant to be a dress rehearsal of events and principles the Lord will fulfill on that date some point in the future.

Sukkot translated as Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of the Ingathering, is the time of dwelling in booths as commanded by God in Scripture;

You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths,  that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 23:42-43

Notice that this is a command for native Israelites, it is optional for the rest of us I would surmise but all scripture is profitable for us so what can we learn from this holy day of the Lord?

The stated purpose of this time is to remember when the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and that they dwelt in booths. Okay, why is that? Just as the Lord uses the Passover Seder to teach us about sin and the Lord’s salvation while pointing back to this same point in history, Sukkot informs us of the temporary nature of life and of when we shall live with the Lord.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

Life is temporary and fleeting, to say the least. The Bible compares this life to a vapor or just a wisp of smoke. That is probably why Ecclesiastes is read during this season as this book of the bible is all about the futility of gathering wealth and erecting monuments in this life.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.  Ecclesiastes 1:2

It is also why Jesus cautions us not to lay up treasures on earth but in heaven.

Life matters, it is essential, but it is only temporary on this side of eternity. We currently live in tents, but we are told by our Lord that He has gone to prepare a place for us, a place that is eternal.

It is vanity to focus on ourselves and to think that living for ourselves will bring more than momentary satisfaction and pleasure. Even then there is no genuine satisfaction.

Solomon stated as much and keep in mind that he had all the wealth, toys and companionship life could provide. He built a great temple, the ultimate palace and everything one could conceive of building, and he had over a thousand women between his wives and concubines, he had chariots and horses, servants and all the stuff one man could gather to himself and still his life was empty.

The lesson in all of this is that there is more to life than what we see on this side of eternity. We have known nothing else but this tent of life, yet there is a more excellent dwelling place beyond the veil.

Mother’s Day 2017

None of us have perfect mothers and none of us are perfect parents but does that mean we shouldn’t try? We also probably don’t honor our moms the way we should but what does it mean to honor our parents?