We begin our meditations today on the Fifth Commandment, but before we do, it’s worth noting that we are at a transition point. The Westminster Larger Catechism reads as follows:
Q. 122. What is the sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man?
A. The sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man, is, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do to others what we would have them do to us.
The first four commandments are also called the First Table of the Law. Those four commandments teach us what it means to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we love God we will worship, adore, and obey Him alone. We will worship Him in the correct manner. We will take care to respect his Name and all whereby He makes Himself known. We will set His day aside for worship and rest in Him.
The next six commandments are the Second Table of the Law. These six commandments teach us what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The Fifth Commandment is, on the face of it, a commandment regulating the relations between parents and children. But remember that each of the commandments is a synechdoche. It stands for more than it actually says. Fundamentally this commandment is about human relations within the God-ordained hierarchy in which we all exist whether or not we particularly believe that we do or particularly like it. I personally believe that the Lord chose the parent-child relationship as the paradigm for this commandment because it is the most naturally and obviously hierarchical, and it is most naturally and obviously good that it be so. Of course postmodern western man has managed to severely damage and disrupt even this most self-evident truth. This is because the Devil thoroughly controls the opinion-making centers of western culture and is very good at getting fallen men to profess to be wise at the same time they are being exceedingly foolish.
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