A friend and I were discussing the paradox of the Ten Commandments the other day. The paradox is, you can learn them in less than ten minutes fairly easily, however, you spend the rest of your life learning how to IMPLEMENT them in your daily life. At least, we do.
For the past several years the Lord has been working with us on implementing several of the Commandments. When I began keeping the Commandments, I thought not keeping the Sabbath was the only one I had to correct. Whoo boy, was I mistaken. Learning not to covet was and is remains a big one my friend and I are constantly working on, especially in modern American society. We are so bombarded with consumerism and commercialism that we don’t even realize that coveting things we do not need has been programmed into us from an early age. It takes a LOT of deprogramming to overcome, we are discovering, as we learn to lay every want or need, and every purchase, at the foot of the cross.
We were discussing honoring our father and mother recently. In our study of Deuteronomy and its explanation of the Ten Commandments, Deut 16:18 through 18:22 explains Honor your father and mother. This section is about the honor due to those human beings who wield the Lord’s authority. We honor and obey those whom God has placed in authority over us, because by honoring them we are honoring God. The offices listed are father and mother, in the Commandment, then judges and government officials, kings, priests and Levites, and prophets. What we were talking about, was why husbands weren’t in the list.
It is clear from Scripture that husbands ought to be honored by their wives. But my initial thought on why husbands weren’t in the list is that the Lord framed the commandment to include father and mother equally, to teach that husbands and wives within a family are to approach their lives as a partnership and a team effort. One is not to exalt himself over the other. See to it that the husband does not exalt himself over the wife in the family, and the wife does not exalt herself over the husband in the family. But the husband honors his wife because as the mother of his children, she carries the anointing of the Lord for authority over them. And the wife honors her husband because as the father of her children, he carries the anointing of the Lord for authority over them.
In matters of dispute, the wife yields to her husband in order to honor her head and honor the peace within her household (see Gen 3:16). However, a wise man will not plow ahead with something which his helpmate, who has been given to him by God, is opposed. But it is wisdom to wait patiently on the Lord until both husband and wife are in agreement. People who think the God of the Old Testament is like a Neanderthal who gives power to the husband to lord it over all others, are completely ignorant of what the Old Testament actually says.
So, all that is to say, it amazes me how the Commandments of the Lord, which take less than ten minutes to learn, slowly unfold themselves in layers, like the skins on an onion, to those who are trying to learn how to implement them. I would bet I can meditate on Honor your father and mother every day for the next year, and have something new to share about it in January of 2010.