We share our opinions and insights at SBC Voices, but we believe that the Voice that matters most is the one that comes from God’s Word. We present these daily expositional devotions, beginning with a tour of Ephesians called, “Walk Worthy,” in hopes of encouraging our readers to remember to Voice above every voice.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land. And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”
The powers that be at our blog left it to the man with five children to exegete this passage. I enjoy having a large family, but I’ve learned a few principles along the way. First, just because I have five kids does not automatically make me a better parent than someone with one child. Second, there’s always someone out there who has more children. I was talking with a Mennonite man one time and he asked, “How many children do you have?” I arrogantly smiled and said, “Five, how many do you have?” He replied, “I have nineteen.” He said he had six with his first wife before she passed away, and his second wife wanted to have a few more. Children are a blessing from the Lord and whether we have 19, 5, or 2, God’s principles stay the same, and God’s Word is eternal.
I thought I’d share my childrens’ interpretations of verses 1-3:
Taryn (12 years old)—This part of the Bible is partly talking to both children and parents. It is telling us how to treat each other. Children need to do what their parents tell them. Parents need to not beat their children. That is what Ephesians 6:1-4 is talking about.
(Editor’s note: We do not beat our children, but I’m afraid Taryn has had friends and classmates who have been abused.)
Levi (8 years old)—Children obey the commandments and you will have a long and good life. Fathers be kind to your children and do not make them work too hard.
Polly (7 years old)—Children obey your parents in the Lord because it’s right. Honor your father and mother because they honor their father and mother.
Tabytha (6 years old) —In the voice of animal from the muppets “Mind your mommy and daddy!!!!!!!!!!!
Raychel (9 months old)—Ba ba dada ba ba ba ba squeak ba dada ba ba
I’m a very blessed man. I have five wonderful children who are obedient and have a love for Christ and His church. I couldn’t have chosen better children than these God has chosen to bless me and Stephanie with, and make no mistake about it, Stephanie handles the lion’s share of our parenting.
I want to make three points from these verses:
- Honor—We’re commanded to obey our parents when we’re children, but the command to honor does not have a time limit. I believe obedience to our parents is not expected when we leave their house and establish our own, but honor is expected throughout our lives. That’s not always easy, but as the scripture says, it is the first command with a promise.
- Don’t forget the second half of verse 4—Some other translations read, “Fathers do not exasperate your children.” I try not to exasperate my children, and often times, I think that’s compliance with God’s instruction, but there’s a whole other sentence here. God wants the best for our families, and not intentionally angering our children is only half of God’s plan.
- Enjoy your children—These instructions are for Godly family order and discipline. Follow these commands and the promises given to you will be long and good life. Enjoy being a parent, and enjoy your children. I sat down last year with a 92-year-old Southern Baptist pastor. I asked him, “If you could only give me, a young pastor, one piece of advice, what would it be?” He said without hesitation, “Spend time with your family, and love your kids.”
They grow up too fast, as I’m sure you more experienced parents can attest to. My oldest just turned 12 a few days ago, and it’s gone by so quickly. The most important legacy we will leave is our children. Genesis 5 is a list of the generations preceding Noah. Most of those men are only mentioned once in scripture, and the only information we have about them is that they lived, died, and raised children.
In 100 years, no one is going to care that I was the pastor of First Baptist Rich Hill, but somewhere, a great-great-grandchild will be thankful that Stephanie and I brought up our children in the instruction of the Lord.