Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe My Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
|A Son's Devotion to His Mother||J. G. Cunningham.||Leviticus 19:3|
|Maternal Rule||Dr. Humphrey.||Leviticus 19:3|
|Respect for a Mother||New Orleans Democrat.||Leviticus 19:3|
|Sacred to the Memory of a Mother||J. Parker, D. D.||Leviticus 19:3|
|The Sabbath Kept||Leviticus 19:3|
|Ungrateful Children Rebuked by Birds||Scientific Illustrations||Leviticus 19:3|
|Purity in Worship||J.A. Macdonald ||Leviticus 19:1-8|
|Religion and Superstition||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 26-28, 30-32, 36, 37|
|Social Morality||R.M. Edgar ||Leviticus 19:1-37|
|Honour to Whom Honor||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:3, 32|
|The Holy Law in the Holy Life||R.A. Redford ||Leviticus 19:3-37|
It is uncertain whether we shall receive the honour which is due to us. Possibly we may be denied some to which we are entitled; probably we have experienced this wrong already, in larger or smaller measure, and know the pain of heart which attends it. Let us, therefore, resolve that we will give
that which is due to others. The two passages connected in the text remind us that we should pay deference to -
I. THOSE WHO CARRY THE WEIGHT OF YEARS. "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man." "Respect the burden, madam," said Napoleon, inviting a lady to move out of the way of one who was carrying a heavy weight. Those who have traveled far on the rough road of life, and are worn with many and sad experiences, on whom the privations of age are resting, - these carry a heavy weight, a burden we should respect. They are as wounded soldiers on whom the battle of life has left its scars, and these are marks of honour that demand the tribute of youth.
II. THOSE WHO HAVE ATTAINED TO WISDOM. The young are apt to think that they can reach the heights of wisdom without laboriously climbing the steeps of experience. They find that they are wrong. Time proves to each generation of men that wisdom, whether it be that of earth or of heaven, is only gained by the discipline of life. There are men who pass through human life and learn nothing in the passage; the folly of youth cleaves to them still. Such men must be comparatively unhonoured, receiving only the respect which is due to old age as such. But when men have gathered the fruits of a long and large experience - and especially when men of intelligence and piety have stored up the truth which God has been teaching them as he has led them along all the path of life - they are worthy to receive our sincerest honour, and we must know how to "rise up before the hoary head" in their case. With all and more than all the respect we pay to the learned, we should receive men whom God has been long teaching in his school - those who have learnt much of Jesus Christ.
III. THOSE WHO HAVE LAID US UNDER SPECIAL OBLIGATION.
1. Aged men who have lived a faithful life have done this. For they have lived, not only for themselves, but for their kind. They have wrought, struggled, suffered in order that they might help us and others to walk in the light, to enter the kingdom, to enjoy the favour of God; and they have earned our gratitude by their faithful service.
2. Our parents have done this also. "Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father." What benefits our parents have conferred on us, what kindnesses they have rendered us, what sacrifices they have made for us, what anxious thought and earnest prayer they have cherished and offered on our behalf, - who of us shall reckon? The debt we owe to them for all they have done for us is the heaviest of all, next to that supreme indebtedness under which we stand to God. But it is not only the obligation we have thus incurred which demands our filial reverence; it is the fact that our parents arc -
IV. THOSE WHO STAND IN A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP TO US.
1. We should remember that fatherhood is the human relationship which most closely resembles and most fully reveals that in which God himself stands to us all. Christ came to reveal the Father unto man as the Father of souls. Therefore it is to be highly honoured.
2. Fatherhood (parenthood, for the mother is not to be left out of our thought) in the best state of human society has received the largest share of honour. We may gather from this fact that it is a divinely implanted instinct, only absent when the race has miserably degenerated under sin.
3. Honour given to parents as such is imperatively required by God. It was a patriarchal and Jewish, as it is now a Christian, virtue. After the injunction stand these significant words, "I am the Lord." "Children, obey your parents in the Lord" (Ephesians 6:1). Filial disobedience and unkindness are grievous sins in his sight. Filial love, honour, and considerateness are well-pleasing unto the Lord. - C.
Men who have risen from humble life to wealth and high social rank have often been ashamed of their parents, and shown them little attention or respect. Such treatment indicates a vulgar mind. True nobility follows a different method. Richard Hurd, an eminent bishop of the Church of England at the close of the last century, was a man of courtly manners, of great learning, who moved with distinction in the best society in the kingdom. George III. pronounced him "the most naturally polite man he had ever known." He, however, never failed to show the utmost respect for his mother, a farmer's wife, of no education, but of sterling character. When he entertained large companies at the Episcopal Palace, he led her with a stately courtesy to the head of the table, and paid her the greatest deference. The high-born families who sat at his table reverenced his conduct, so becoming to a son and a gentleman.
Ye shall fear... mother... father.
This is a remarkable command, given by God to Moses. Not for the matter of it, for it is the same in substance with the fifth in the Decalogue. But as differing from that and other parallel passages, it is remarkable on two accounts. In those the father is always put first. It is, "Honour thy father and thy mother." "He that smiteth his father and his mother, shall surely be put to death." "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother." "Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old." "Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise." But here, mother is put first — "Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father." Then again, the word "fear" — "Thou shalt fear thy mother and thy father," occurs in no other passage. There must be a meaning, both in the word "fear," and the singular collocation of the sentence. And what is it? Fathers are in general wont to govern their children more by authority, and mothers by love. Hence they are more afraid of offending their fathers than their mothers. This is especially the case with boys, about the time when they enter their teens. For three or four years they are more impatient of restraint than ever before or after. They are then apt to think they know much more than their mothers, and are quite capable of governing themselves. To guard against this undervaluing of their mother's authority seems to have been the special design of the command in question. "Ye shall fear every man his mother" — detracting nothing from the father's authority; hut putting the mother's in the foreground, because there is danger of its being despised or overlooked. The word "fear," in this case, is not quite synonymous with "honour," in the fifth commandment. It has rather more intensity of meaning, if it is not more imperative. There is more of awe in fear, if not more of reverence. God intended to put both parents on the same level. Both are to be feared alike. And this purity of governmental control carries along with it corresponding obligations. Mothers must not shrink from exercising the authority with which God has clothed them, to "train Up their children in the way in which they should go," however crossing it may sometimes be to their parental yearning. Let them rule by love as much as they can. The more the better. But restraint, by coercion, where nothing else will do, is one of the highest forms in which parental love is manifested. It would be wrong, it would be cruel to withhold it from the wayward child. Thousands upon thousands have been greatly wronged, if not ruined, by overweening motherly indulgence. The surest way ultimately to win that undying filial love, "which casteth out fear," is to restrain and govern the boy just at the age when he is most restive under parental control. Woe to the child that breaks away from the authority which God has ordained. Evil is as surely before him as the going down of the sun (Proverbs 30:17
The birds can teach ungrateful children their duty towards aged parents. It is an old tradition with regard to storks, says Mr. Morris in his "British Birds," that they take care of and nourish their parents when they are too old to take care of themselves, from whence the Greek word "pelargicos," signifying the duty of children to take care of their parents; and "pelargicoi nomoi," signifying the laws relating to that duty, both derived from the Greek word for a stork; "Pelargos," from pelas, black; and "argos," white, alluding to the prevailing colours of the stork.
I remember just now a young man whom the Lord has blessed on account of the love he has shown his mother. Many years ago when her husband died, she was walking the streets of Glasgow in sore distress, her heart being, as it were, in the grave with her husband. She was utterly heedless of the great crowd, and almost forgetful of the kindly little boy, then only three and a half years old, who was walking by her side. He reminded her that he was there by pulling her hand earnestly, and when she looked down to him, he said, "Mother, don't cry!" — for he saw the tears were stealing down her cheeks — "I will be the father," and the whole soul of the child was in his face. As he spoke those words the warmth of summer and the life of the spring-time of joy came again into the mother's heart. God spared him to fulfil his promise, and to receive the blessing that is annexed to the fifth commandment, and I am glad he is living to-day a prosperous and honourable merchant. It is some years-since I joined him in laying his mother's honoured head in the grave. Shortly before she died she was able, beautifully and lovingly, to testify that her son had amply redeemed the promise of his childhood, that what his father would have been, had he been spared, her son had successfully tried to be to her.
()"I want," said the late Emperor of Germany, the last but one, the great William, "I want a lamp such as Such-and-so has," naming some distinguished member of the Court. The lamp was provided according to the very pattern, but his Majesty complained, on returning to his study after withdrawment, that he could not bear the savour of the room; the lamp was emitting smoke, and it was altogether intolerable, One of the secondary servants knew the reason, but dare not name it to his Majesty. One of the higher servants learned the cause and brought it under his Majesty's attention. "It is because your Majesty turns down the light when you leave the study that occasions the emission of smoke and vapours, and if you will cease to do that all will be well." "Ah," said the sweet old patriarch of his nation, "I know how that is. I learned that in the days of our poverty. After the battle of Jena we were very poor, and my mother never allowed us to leave the room at night without turning down the light, and I continue to turn down the light in memory of my mother." A beautiful example, a tender domestic story that. Here is a man who could have had a thousand lamps, yet in memory of the days of his poverty, when his mother taught him the uses of money, he kept turning down the light, saying, "Sacred to the memory of my mother."
And keep My Sabbaths.During the latter part of his life General Jackson was in the habit of coming down to New Orleans to see his old friends and comrades in arms and participate in the celebration of the glorious 8th of January. It happened on one of these visits that the 8th occurred on Sunday. General Plauche called upon the old hero and requested him to accompany the military to the battle-ground on the anniversary of the great day. "I am going to church to-morrow," mildly observed the General. The military preparations for the celebration went on, and on Sunday morning at ten o'clock General Plauche called at the St. Charles and informed General Jackson that the military and civic processions were ready to accompany him to the scene of his glory. "General Plauche," responded old Hickory, turning upon him the glance of his kindling eye, "I told you I was going to church to-day." General Plauche withdrew, muttering to himself, "I might have known better." The celebration was postponed till the next day.
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