The First Commandment With a Promise
The first commandment with a promise is the fifth commandment which states, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). The promise made in the second commandment (Exodus 20:6) is of a general nature applying to the keeping of all the commandments, but in the fifth commandment there is a unique blessing that is promised for the obedient.
God blesses those that respect their parents, who need their love and support especially at their old age. Life is a gift from God (Acts 17:25), and long life is a blessing. And the life that has the blessing of God on earth has a promise of life everlasting (1 John 2:25).
A godly life also leads to long life (Psalm 91:6). It is well known that a healthy family life, of which obedience is a part, leads to prosperity. Parents naturally give to their children the good wisdom and council that they had gained through their long years of experience. All their knowledge and virtues produce physical and spiritual success in the lives of their children.
Honor Your Father and Your Mother
The apostle Paul quotes this commandment in his epistle to the church in Ephesus, “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2,3). Here, the apostle is reaffirming a natural law as well as declaring the special blessings of God upon the obedient.
The fifth commandment is the first man-ward duty. Paul writes, “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). This must not be understood as including any obligation contrary to God’s will. A wicked parental requirement has no obligation on the child. The sphere of obedience is the Lord, and to please God should be the child’s ultimate goal. While he is carrying out the requirements of his parents he is actually pleasing God.
Another purpose of the commandment “honor your father and mother” is to give respect for all rightful authority. This respect starts with the attitude of children toward their parents. In the mind of a child, this becomes the foundation for respect and obedience to those who are in authority over him throughout life, especially in the church and in the state (Romans 13:1–7; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13–18).
The fifth commandment also implies that parents should so act that they be worthy of the respect and obedience of their children. Paul wrote, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord…” (Ephesians 6:4, 9 also Colossians 3:21; 4:1). The present lack of respect to parental authority sometimes springs from unfair demands made by parents on children. Too often children are considered an annoyance and a burden instead of a blessing and a joy to the whole family. The Psalmists writes, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalms 127:3 also Proverbs 17:6).
In His service,