Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 52

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

  • Exodus 20:12

“Q. 52. Which is the Fifth Commandment?
“A. The Fifth Commandment is, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.’ ”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)

“Q. 63. Which is the Fifth Commandment?
“A. The Fifth Commandment is, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.’

  • The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

“Q. 123. Which is the Fifth Commandment?
“A. The Fifth Commandment is, ‘Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.’

  • The Larger Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

The Larger Catechism, Shorter Catechism and the Spurgeon Catechism are identical in wording.

You can see that we skip a few of the questions in both the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.  They each say more about the Sabbath, but they also introduce the last six commandments.  They divide the first four apart from the last six: commandments in loving God and then commandments in loving one’s neighbor.

But I disagree in the hard division.  The Fifth Commandment is a bridge between the two.  Whether we are good at parenting or we are not, whether we consider parenting as a verb, we are the ones chosen to show God’s Love and God’s Law to our children.  In honoring our parents, we are acknowledging that role.

In the vile wokeness of today’s secular culture, if “culture” is a word that fits, they wish to rid us of the idea of mother, father, and even parents.  It is the birthing person. Admittedly, many women give birth and then hardly do anything after that.

Why are these Woke people so vehement in ridding us of such concepts?  One, it allows them to ignore this commandment since those terms have no meaning to them, but it goes beyond that to God Himself.  With no meaning to “Father”, our Heavenly Father has no meaning, and is less likely to exist.  In their opinion, if He exists, He would then be less likely to have a meaningful relationship with anyone on earth since mother and father are archaic terms with no present meaning.

Thus, we can take the Woke attack on the Fifth Commandment and parenthood as a direct spiritual attack on our Christianity.  It is not a simple case of word play and an attempt to change the language.

But do we have any addendums or exclusions to this commandment?  What if someone is not worthy of being honored?  There are two sides to this commandment.  The parent should always have their children’s best interest at heart, but the child must honor both mother and father even if they fall down on the job.  That is hard to do at times, but so is loving our enemies and forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply.

I have written about my relationship with my mother many times.  My mother had a plan for two children.  She would allow physical contact, but as soon as she had her boy and her girl, she wanted nothing to do with the sin of sex.  Note: Many people feel that way, but God created those parts and made the activity enjoyable.  Within marriage of a man and woman, there is nothing sinful about most of it.  But my mother would not even talk about it, in fear of lightning bolts killing her on the spot.  My education was all on me.  But for me to come into the world, my Dad had to insist that we have a third child, one to run the turkey business, since my mother’s plan was to have a minister for the boy and a teacher for the girl.  Thus, my mother had no plan for me, did not want me, and exhibited hatred most of the time, never being affectionate.  We lost the turkey farm when I had not yet completed the second grade in school.

But if it were up to my mother, I would not exist.  Should I at least honor her for not having me aborted?  She tried when the doctors told her to do nothing but bed rest or she might lose the baby.  She then viciously hoed the weeds out of the garden, hoping for the best (getting rid of me when she was eight months pregnant), but instead she slipped a disc in her back, and she let me know until she died that her constant back pain was my fault.

But although all my efforts to please and honor my mother garnered responses from boredom, to disgust, to venom, I still tried to honor her until she passed away.  She also had that superiority complex that I have seen in other people.  When she said something, no matter how inane, it was gold.  If you argue, you are wrong, and she will torment you until you get back into line.  My wife would often rebel against my mother’s rules, and I kept telling her that going along with the stupidity produces survival, Rebelling, even though you are right in doing so, results in torment and torture.  I have met many people who had parents like that.

But there is no provision that is placed on this commandment.  We simply honor them, for it was our Heavenly Father who chose them to be our parents and did so to shape us to be what and who we are.

And now let us sing.

The following song is Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee as sung by Hymns of Grace.  One of the singers introduces the hymn, giving the background for Henry van Dyke’s inspiration. Then they sing the four verses,

1 Joyful, joyful, we adore You,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before You,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

2 All Your works with joy surround You,
Earth and heav’n reflect Your rays,
Stars and angels sing around You,
Center of unbroken praise;
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird and flowing fountain
Praising You eternally!

3 Always giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living,
Ocean-depth of happy rest!
Loving Father, Christ our Brother,
Let Your light upon us shine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.

4 Mortals, join the mighty chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
God’s own love is reigning o’er us,
Joining people hand in hand.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph song of life.

  • Henry van Dyke, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

To be honest, it amazes me that this hymn, one of my favorites has not been used previously.  In 51 weeks (since two questions were in one week’s vespers service), there have been no repeated hymns or songs.

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We need You.  You are our Abba (Daddy) Father.  You set the example so that we may love our children.  Help us to honor You by honoring our parents.
In thy Name we pray.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


Add yours →

  1. Some parents are very difficult to honor. My mother tried to gas us all to death when I was twelve years old. As the oldest child, she told me at the time that she believed she had the right to take us 5 children out of the world, since she had brought us into the world. When I did not agree with her belief that we would all be better off dead and that she had the right to kill us, then my mother made me her number one enemy and scapegoat. How do I honor a mother like that? All I know to do is pray and ask God to lead me according to His perfect will.

    I do forgive her. I believe she was probably very badly broken when she suffered a severe head injury as a young child. The part of the brain that enables one to love and care about others, and to have a moral conscious of right and wrong, was probably permanently damaged when she fell on her head on a cement sidewalk at the age of 6 or 7. I believe she probably did the best she could as a mother, with her damaged brain. And I honor her by leaving the judgement up to God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I wrote about this recently but my mother tried to abort me when she doctor told her to rest for the last month of pregnancy. She went to the garden and went like the Hulk with a hoe, not just removing the weeds but vaporizing them. Instead of causing a miscarriage she slipped a disc in her back. Every hour of every day, she would wince in pain and tell me I did that to her. But I obeyed her as long as she lived and she didn’t say do something against God’s law. She was the choir director at church so that rarely happened. I think you had it a lot worse, but in some cases, doing as you say and forgiving and trying to make sense of it is the main thing. Regardless, it shapes us for good and bad, and that shapes our witness to the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I remember you writing about how your mother blamed you for her injured back. Crazy, that’s what that is. Like my mother showing me her stretch marks and varicose veins, and telling me that I ruined her body. Yes, she really did that, when I was a little girl.

        Years later, after my daughter had her first child, my daughter tearfully asked me why I never warned her that having a baby would give her a belly full of stretch marks. Why? I never showed her my stomach, because I did not want her to feel bad, the way my mother had made me feel bad. Sigh. I used to think that my mother’s personality had skipped a generation. But now my daughter is a licensed therapist and she seems to have done a lot of maturing, thank the Lord.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s wonderful about your daughter. The stretch mark thing has probably been said by countless mothers. Some mean it to hurt. Some tell it as a joke. My wife quit wearing bikinis when she got married so she didn’t care about it.

        Liked by 1 person

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