OK kids- buckle up! This one is for you! (although your parents have a key role!) And the good news is that this is the only command that comes with a promise: “…that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Now when this command was written, God’s people, who had endured generations of slavery, were about to enter the Promised Land, a land where they would be safe and well fed. God had rescued them and given them his Law- and to remain in the land, they simply needed to obey his commands.
That was (or should have been) easier for those who were parents or grandparents. They were old enough to appreciate what they had been saved from. But children of that and later generations didn’t have that knowledge. And so to maintain that blessing and keep the land, children were commanded to honour their parents. That meant respecting their parents’ wisdom and experience, listening to and taking to heart their teaching about God, so they would come to trust God and continue to enjoy the blessings of his rescue.
Now we don’t live in the original Promised Land, but as Christian parents, we know we’ve been saved from something far worse (hell), in a far more wonderful way (the cross). Our ultimate home is in Heaven, and our greatest task is teaching our children about Jesus, so that they come to trust in him too.
Parents: nothing you will ever teach your children is more important than this. And kids, no lesson you’ll learn from your parents is more important than this Whatever your friends, or your heart tells you, when your parents point you to Jesus, listen well, and take it to heart. That’s how you can honour them best and bring them the greatest joy. There’s more to this command of course; children should obey their parents all the time, but this is where it all begins.