I will continue to post, over the next few weeks, some things I have done in the past, and at times posting may be light. This is from a Bible study from several years ago, dealing with the reasons children must obey their parents and, secondarily, the relations between adult children and their parents.
“Children, Obey Your Parents”
Some of these passages are primarily geared towards children who have grown to be adults, but they are all instructive as to God’s attitude towards parental/child relationships.
BECAUSE IT IS RIGHT
Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
BECAUSE THE LORD IS OUR GOD
Leviticus 19:3 “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord thy God.”
BECAUSE IT PLEASES THE LORD
Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord.”
BECAUSE GOD COMMANDS AND BLESSES IT
Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
BECAUSE GOD SAYS IT IS WISE
Proverbs 1:8-9 “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”
BECAUSE GOD TAKES IT VERY SERIOUSLY
Exodus 21:15 “And he that smiteth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death.”
Exodus 21:17 “And he that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.”
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
Proverbs 30:17 “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”
What About Adult Children?
Often, adults (and their parents) struggle with how their relationship with their parents has changed. The Bible gives some direct principles and some instructive examples.
MARRIAGE ENDS PARENTAL AUTHORITY
Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
A DIRECT COMMAND OF GOD SUPERSEDES PARENTAL ROLES
Judges 6:25-26 “And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.”
Normally, you wouldn’t destroy your father’s possessions, even as an adult, but God told Gideon to do so in this case. Thus, if the Word of God tells us to directly do that which would not normally be consistent with the usual parental roles, we should obey it.
PARENTAL RESPECT DOES NOT MEAN CONDONING WRONG
I Kings 15:13 “And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.”
This is written in a context of approval of Asa’s righteous acts, even though he removed his mother’s queenly status. He actually diminished the honour she was given by others in doing so, yet the wording of Scripture is clearly approving.
ADULT MEN (AT LEAST) CAN APPARENTLY LEAVE PARENTAL AUTHORITY
Judges 14:1-4 “And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.”
By marrying, Samson clearly would have no longer been under parental authority (see above). Yet, he insisted on a marriage which they did not approve, and we are told it “was of the Lord.”
Some teach that a son remains under authority for the rest of his life, unless he marries. I am unaware of any Scripture which directly teaches this view. This passage appears to indicate (though there may be other interpretations) the contrary, that the Lord approved of Samson’s decision (as an adult) to oppose his parents and insist on a course of action which would remove him from their authority.
PARENTAL COUNSEL DEMANDS GREAT RESPECT
In Proverbs 5:1, Solomon makes it clear that he is speaking to his son. In verses 18 and following, it is clear that this son to whom he is giving counsel is a married man. Adulthood and marriage does not end the responsibility to respect and hear the counsel of parents.
PARENTAL HONOUR DOES NOT CEASE IN ADULTHOOD
Mark 7:10-13 “For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”