Exodus 20:12 The best way to honour our parents and forefathers is to fear the Lord.

Exodus 20:12  The best way to honour our parents and forefathers is to fear the Lord.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”


To honour your parents is to bring honour to them while they are alive or even if they have passed on. Children bring honour to their parents when they are righteous, magnanimous and victorious in all that they do. Today’s devotion teaches us: The best way to honour our parents and forefathers is to fear the Lord.


“Honor your father and your mother…”

The Hebrew word for “honour” is “kabad”, which is to glorify. For parents are a type of divine authority, a visible representation of God. Leviticus 19:3 says.

Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 19:3

The above text uses “fear, reverent” that is normally used when relating to God. Therefore, to honour our parents is to respect, to speak highly, and to show reverence. In another place, Proverbs 4:8 uses the term “honour” synonymously with “prize highly”. Psalm 86:9 uses “honour” to describe a proper response to God in worship.

Other commandments are derived from parents’ role as teachers and guardians:

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. – Proverbs 1:8

A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible. – Proverbs 15:5

If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them,… – Deuteronomy 21:18

Similar commandments exist in Israel’s civil law to protect parents from abuse after they could no longer work. It is also found within wisdom literature as part of the life and values system of Israel.

He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. – Exodus 21:15

If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him. – Leviticus 20:9

He who assaults his father and drives his mother away is a shameful and disgraceful son. – Proverbs 19:26

Other interpretations for the word “honour” includes showing care and affection (see Psalm 91:15). Therefore, to honour is to care for our parents and provide for their needs.

… that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”

The second part of the commandment carries a blessing: your days may be prolonged… speaks not only of longevity but in a fuller sense: a righteous and prosperous legacy. The blessing is not just a promise to those who obey; it becomes the very thing that defines their forefathers. Forefathers are honoured when their descendent are not displaced from the land, but prosper while leaving an enduring legacy.


The best way to honour our parents and forefathers is to fear the Lord.

By fearing the Lord, we create a lasting legacy in honour of our parents and forefathers. Psalms 112 says,

How blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
Who greatly delights in His commandments.
His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever. – Psalm 112:1-3

Notably, this will be a challenge for those who do not come from God-fearing families. In most culture, fathers reign as kings, being accountable to no one. They serve themselves while having little concern for the wellbeing of the community or things that concern God’s kingdom. Jesus said to a large crowd who followed Him,

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple…” – Luke 14:26

Jesus was not violating the commandment, but rather He was teaching them how they could live in the fear of God. In so doing, they create a lasting legacy in honour of their forefathers. Jesus created an eternal legacy for His parents when He obeyed the Father by going to the cross. At the cross, He honoured His mother by entrusting her to John, his dearest disciple. Our parents may not agree with our decisions at the onset when it comes to the fear of God. But if we make God the centre of our lives, our parents will eventually come to see the honour and blessing we bring to them.

To teach children to honour, parents must live honourably.

Children learn to honour when they first see it in their parents. Many parents doted on their children while conducting themselves in a less than honourable manner. Yet they wonder why their children did not honour them. To live honourably is to practice love and wisdom in all situations. At the same time, exercise divine authority to overcome daily challenges. These traits can be seen in our Heavenly Father, who rules with righteousness and authority. When children observe these traits in us, they will learn to honour not only us as parents but God.

Parents must not expect their children to honour them by virtue of their position alone. Parents must not see honour from children as a right or an entitlement. Children will find it within them to honour their parents when they see an abundance of love, wisdom and divine authority in their home.

Therefore, parents, as visible representations of God, must learn to bring up their children with love, wisdom and authority. While love is the foundation of parenthood, it cannot stand on its own. Parents must cultivate in their children godly values by exercising wisdom and divine discernment daily. At the same time, they must carry divine authority to instil discipline so that children may learn to respect those who are in authority.


Do you put your children as the centre of your world? If you do, they will grow up to be self-centred, having little concern for others.

Do you put your career as the centre of your life? If you do, your children will put work before people.

Do you put your church as the centre of your life? If you do, your children will become religious and legalistic.

Do you put enjoyment as the centre of your family life? If you do, your children will be lost, having no direction except to seek enjoyment.

Do you put God as the centre of your life and your family’s life? If you do, your children and your children’s children will create a godly legacy in your honour.

Dear Lord, teach me to honour you and to love my parents. Teach me to be grateful for their love and parenting. Cause me to fear you and in so doing bring honour and glory to them. I will show reverence towards them and care for them always. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar