“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Dt 6:16)
This is the first commandment with a promise, that you may live long (see also Eph 6:1-3) in the land. Proverbs 1:8-9 reinforces, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” And Proverbs 3:1-2 explains why, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” Honoring your father and mother anticipates too that mom and dad are faithfully impressing God’s law upon their children, hence God’s teaching becomes the teaching of mom and dad that are like the “graceful garland” for the head. So, there is a command here implied for the parents here too. This is of course expounded elsewhere, most notably in Deuteronomy 6 and again in Psalm 78.
One of the important implications of this (and other teaching in Scripture) is that the family is central to God’s plan to preserve a people for himself. The family is meant to be the primary instrument for building the kingdom of God. We usually think of missionaries and evangelists and preachers as God’s kingdom builders, just as we usually think of evangelism as the primary means. Evangelism is our calling, to be sure, but it is not the primary means of kingdom building. It is downstream from family discipleship. So, children, “honor your father and mother that your days may be long”, and parents, be intentional in your training in God’s Word that our children might “live long in the land” and grow up to be salt and light for the world.
Lord, in a culture that disdains the ordinary family, has no place for family discipleship, and mocks the credibility of the father, renew our families. Tie up the strong man, the devil, and thwart his schemes to divide and conquer families. And give us a faithful commitment to family discipleship within the church that your kingdom may be established in the coming generations.