that scorns an aged mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
will be eaten by the vultures.
Many of us are shocked at the verses here and at the ones in Deuteronomy, which state:
If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “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 town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. Deuteronomy 21:18-21These were written to the Hebrews, who were under the law of Moses, and serve as an extreme warning to young people. God meant business when He told children to respect their parents.
This seems truly harsh to us in our era, but there were important reasons why this was necessary:
1. First, it was to demonstrate the exacting requirements of the Law, a perfect and unforgiving standard.
2. Second, it demonstrates the need for grace that would eventually be made known on the cross.
3. Third, should rebellion take root, the very heart of the gospel would be at risk since the prophecies of the Messiah coming to and through Israel could be undermined should rebellion become rampant and society could fall apart -- causing the prophecies to fail.
There are also safeguards built into this law:
1. It refers to a son, not to a daughter.
2. He is stubborn, rebellious, gluttonous and a drunkard.
3. Only the parents can do this, and they must agree on the issue.
4. He is brought before the elders, and investigation is held.
5. There is no case on record where this law was used and upheld.
6. This law (by its mere existence) would have discouraged youth from these vices.
(Courtesy of John Haley's book, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, 1992, p. 288.)
Under God's grace, instead of His law, we find these instructions for children:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour your father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3And we find these instructions for us, as parents:
And you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4If we are Christians and we want to live as Christian parents, then we should start by having daily devotions with our family -- daily reading the Word and praying. Take the children's concerns and prayers to heart, and show them by example that we should rely on God.
Have we prayed with our children (or grandchildren) today? Have we read the Bible to them or with them?