‘Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you!’ Exodus 20:12.
In his Institutes II:8:35-38, Calvin remarks: “Look up to those whom the Lord has set over us! Our earthly father possesses something of a ‘divine’ nature in him — because…he…, our prince and ruler, is admitted to some communion of honour with God….
“They are monsters and not men, who petulantly and contumeliously violate the paternal authority…. The honour here referred to, consists of three parts — reverence, obedience, and gratitude. Our Saviour declares that God requires us to do good to our parents (Matthew 15:4). And wherever Paul mentions this Commandment, he interprets it as enjoining obedience (Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20)….
“The Lord was pleased to testify His favour (to subjected dependents), by bestowing long life…. The meaning, therefore, is: Honour your father and your mother — so that you may be able during the course of a long life to enjoy the possession of the land which is to be given you…. As the whole Earth is blessed to believers, we justly class the present life among the number of divine blessings….
“The duration of the present life, is a proof of the divine benevolence to us…. If any one who is obedient to parents happens to be cut off before mature age…, the Lord nevertheless adheres to His promise as steadily as when He bestows a hundred acres of land where He had promised only one…. This…He testifies and truly manifests to His servants more richly and substantially, by death!….
“We are ordered to obey parents, only in the Lord…. Submission yielded to them, should be a step in our ascent to the Supreme Parent…. The same holds in the case of rulers, masters, and superiors of every description…. The honour of God…ought to lead us up to Him — and ought to augment rather than diminish; to confirm rather than violate it!”
Calvin comments: “Human society cannot be maintained in its integrity, unless children modestly submit to their parents, and unless those who are set over others by God’s ordinance are even reverently honoured…. Since therefore the name of Father is a sacred one and is transferred to men by the peculiar goodness of God, the dishonouring of parents redounds to the dishonour of
God Himself. Nor can anyone despise his father, without being guilty of an offence against God…. People should honour the king. Every soul should be subject to the higher powers. Servants should obey their masters…. Proverbs 24:21; Romans 13:1; Ephesians 6:5; First Peter 2:13-18….
“Children should take care of their parents, and be ready and diligent in all their duties towards them…. Storks supply food to their parents when they are feeble and worn out with old age…. The days of children who have behaved themselves piously to their parents, shall be prolonged.” Deuteronomy 5:16 adds an additional reason why we should honour our parents. ‘So that it may go
well with you in the land which…God gives you!’