"What is that doing here?"....is what I originally recall my brain saying as I read in Exodus 20. It didn't make sense to me. Seminary taught me to read the Bible and look for patterns and/or themes in various texts and lists. So, to me, the 5th commandment is out of place. Let me show you what I mean.
The first four commandments are obvious (a future post on the 4th commandment to come shortly). They deal with relations between God and His people. Not to have other gods before Him, to not serve idols, to not take the Lord's name in vain, and to honor the Sabbath. Then number five comes along. Ok, a transition, moving from relations with God to man, to relations between mankind with each other...That's ok, except that the transition seems out of place to me.
First of all, the rest of the commandments are all imperatives said in a negative fashion. "Do not do" this and that...the 5th commandment isn't. In fact, the 5th commandment is also the only commandment that comes with a blessing. Amazing! So, what is this command:
Honor your father and your mother.
Obviously since this is a commandment it is important, but the verbage and placement of this commandment seems to stress its importance. It is the first commandment regarding our relationhips with one another, and that is important. In fact, Proverbs highlights this relationship as well saying that "a wise son makes his father glad, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother" (Prov. 10:1)..also see Prov. 4:1, 15:20, 17:6, 17:21, 17:25, 20:20, 23:24, and 29:3.
The practical application. In my opinion, this commandment is a lost treasure. In America honoring father and mother is not vital, but it is to God. I remember many times in which I failed honoring my mother and her life and her work.
The 5th commandment: May God write on our hearts the importance of this command.