The first four commandments deal with our relationship to God. When God begins the commandments with the family, it is not incidental, nor is it accidental, it is fundamental.
Out of all the Ten Commandments, there is only one commandment that does not contain a negative word. The fifth commandment is a positive commandment. The other nine tell us not to do something. The fifth commandment is the only commandment that comes with a promise.
The first four commandments deal with our relationship to God. The second six commandments deal with our relationship to others. It is not coincidental that God begins with our relationship with the family. He doesn’t tell us how soldiers should fight, or how businessmen should sell, or how teachers should instruct, or how pastors should preach. He does tell us how sons and daughters should treat their mothers and their fathers.
When God begins the commandments with the family, it is not incidental, nor is it accidental, it is fundamental. Carle C. Zimmerman, of Harvard University, said, “The Western family is rapidly approaching its third violent crisis. This crisis will be the third manifestation of mass disregard of the family in western society… the first occurred in Greece, the second in Rome, and facing these crisis, neither Greek nor Roman civilization was able to survive.”
In the area of human relationships, God places His first eggs in the family basket. This commandment is short, simple, and sweet: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). This commandment is not for children only. We are never too young, you owe your parents obedience; but when you are older, you owe them reverence. There will be a time when you no longer obey your parents, but there will never come a time when you are not to honor your parents.