Leviticus 19:3. What’s the first thing mentioned about being holy? It’s interesting in light of “Mother’s Day”.
This weekend of May 11-12, 2013 in the USA we are honoring our Moms. I wrote another blog as well – about moms who aren’t so wonderful (see previous blog). Most parents are wonderful. Some are not. Certainly no matter how toxic the relationship with your Mom or Dad might be in a few cases, pray for God to help you forgive and to love – for we are to love even our enemies, let alone our mom and dad, even when they’re far from perfect. I don’t know any of us parents who would feel we are perfect parents. I know I’m not. And my parents weren’t. And our adult children as parents of our grandchildren aren’t. In spite of what all the cards might say, no one is perfect. No one. But I thank God for my mom and dad and wish I had them around now. They both died decades ago.
Look at Lev. 19:3 – where honoring your mom is connected to keeping the sabbaths as part of the holiness teachings of the chapter. Take a look at it. Sabbaths – in plural – refer to ALL the moedim, or commanded holy day appointments. with our Maker.
After telling us to “be holy for I am holy”, Leviticus 19 then enumerates a long list of commands to illustrate how holy people are to live. This blog is about the first command in Lev.19 associated with holiness. It’s interesting for it combines what seem to be two very different topics – but it tells us something very important. Why is this instruction from Yehowah listed FIRST?
"Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: 'You shall be holy, for I Yehowah your Elohim am holy.
3 'Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am Yehowah your Elohim (the LORD your God).”
You and I can’t make ourselves holy. Only holy God can make anything holy by His presence or by Him announcing that something or someone is to be set apart for holy use. We’re sanctified (set apart for holy use) by the blood of the Lamb. His holy spirit in us is what makes us holy – or “saints”. Apart from that, we are mere flesh.
So why is the fifth commandment mentioned along with keeping God’s sabbaths?
Read the rest of this blog for something you may not have considered before.
First of all, the Almighty doesn’t say exactly why. But could it be because these two summarize love for God and love for man? Could it be these 2 commands are strongly linked in ways you may not have thought about? Many have commented in the past that a civil society is much more likely when the family unit is cohesive; when children respect and honor their father and mother. Look at the trends in our present society: over 40% of children being born in America today are born out of wedlock. In black communities it’s almost twice that. At least these young mothers are not killing their babies in abortion, but where’s the stable family for those babies to grow up in after they’re born? And now it’s becoming commonplace for children to speak rudely to their own parents – and to teachers and other adults. I hear it and I’ve witnessed it. It’s not uncommon for children – even adult children – to dishonor their father and mother. This can only mean that the very fabric of our society is unraveling before our very eyes. Interestingly here in Lev. 19:3, honoring our mother is listed first, even ahead of honoring our Dad.
How does the sabbath figure into this discussion? It’s not arbitrary.
The sabbath is holy time when we must stop all our earthly work, rest now – and “be with” the living God. I like to think of Shabbat (the sabbath) as a date with my Redeemer and my Father too. After all, it’s the very first of the moedim – the divine appointments with Yehowah –mentioned in Leviticus 23:1-3. Sabbath is time we are to set aside to spend with our Maker. Remember the One who became Yeshua (Jesus) was the one who formed Adam from the adamah – the ground.
So one way we show honor to our parents is by spending precious time with them. YHVH is our spiritual Father – the one living God in heaven. Are we spending time with Him in a focused way on the appointed day HE set as holy time when He wants His family to come together as one? I know I just loved it when our whole family would come together and do things together. And it grieves me mightily when things aren’t all what they should be on the home front.
Think about the connection here: One big way fathers and mothers feel honored is when their children will talk to them, and want to come and spend time together with them. Any mom or dad – or God -- can feel unloved and dishonored when their kids won’t spend time or ever call or talk.
We spend time with those we want to spend time with. It’s that simple. A parent gets the picture pretty quickly when a daughter or son won’t come by or return phone calls. Almighty God is our FATHER. He is our “Parent”. He wants you and me to call Him, visit Him and spend time with Him. He wants us to seek Him first. Too many of us get distracted or have lost the love for our mom and dad- - and God.
Our heavenly father is saying, as I read it anyway: “Don’t think you’re honoring Me by coming before me at sabbath services – but you won’t spend time with your earthly mom and dad or really honor them. Hey, we’re linked together. I’m your Abba, your dear father, and I want you to turn your heart to your earthly father and mother too (Malachi 4:5-6). Sabbath worship and honoring your parents go hand in hand because even the sabbath is ultimately about honoring your ultimate Parent! YOU don’t get to pick your parents. I chose them for you. And as your heavenly father, I expect you to honor them. By honoring them – and doing what I told you to do in that regard – you are honoring Me.”
So Yehowah is saying in this chapter about being holy -- “Be holy, for I am holy. Now a big way you demonstrate the holy life is by starting with an honoring and respectful attitude to your earthly parents – and that in turn will help you live a long life. That will help you honor all people, of all ages. Then all of you come before Me on my day – my 7th day Sabbath that I made holy – and let’s be one holy family together, as one. You’re at one with your mom and dad, and all of you are at one with me.”
I hope that helps. Let’s turn our hearts to Father in heaven….
May YHVH bless you and make you holy and help you live the holy life – and as you spend time with and honor your mom and dad. If you think you can’t honor your mom or dad, read the blog just before this one.
This website is dedicated to having godly relationships. All of life is ultimately about our relationships. That’s why I speak so much about redemption, forgiving, being one body, loving one another (even our enemies and those who have hurt us), being “in Him”, Seeking Him, knowing Him – it’s ALL about relationships!
Fathers – turn your hearts to your kids. Even if they’ve badly hurt you. Love each of them anyway. Kids – turn your hearts to your fathers. Especially if he’s hurt you. Love him anyway. Then let’s all of us turn our hearts back, as one body, to our heavenly Father and start to bring Him glory as our human and spiritual relationships heal and grow. Then we finally will be on the way of being ONE, which was the original goal, wasn’t it?
If you aren’t sure which day of the week IS the sabbath of God, you can go to this website and hear the 3 part series on proving the right sabbath. Check out the three sermons where I go in-depth on this January-March 2008.