The statement “which is the first commandment with a promise” has always caught my attention as a parent and has been a primary motivating factor in the discipline and instruction of my children. The phrase I’m referring to is recorded in Ephesians 6:2 (NASB), where Paul is giving instruction to children and parents.
“Honor your father and mother” is the commandment, and then there is a promise associated with it. It is the first (and only one) of the Ten Commandments with a conditional promise of blessing attached for those who obey the commandment.
The promise of blessing is “that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” This is the great motivating factor in how my wife and I have parented our six children. We want things to be well with them, and we want them to live long.
In a similar way, can this also be true for a nation? I was recently reading through Deuteronomy and came across a similar statement. Consider what God commanded Moses to tell the people:
You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess (Deut. 5:33).
The Israelites had just received the Ten Commandments from the Lord, and He was preparing His people with how He wanted them to behave as they entered the promised land. With this blessed promised land and inheritance came many other promises and blessings, many of which were conditioned on obedience to the commandments He was giving them.
The promise here is similar to that given to children who honor and obey their parents, but this is to a whole nation. If the nation obeyed the commandments God was giving them, then life would go well for them, and they would live long in that land.
This seems to be similar to the warning given centuries later in Jeremiah 18:5-11. The Lord raises up nations and destroys them. It goes well with some and not so for others Some nations have long days of existence, and others not so much.
On a human level of understanding, this is clearly related to embracing or rejecting the commandments of God. What a man sows, this he also reaps. What a nation sows, this it also reaps.
This motivation I have in raising my children is the same motivation I have in praying for revival and awakening … that it may be well for my nation and that it may have prolonged days.
Will you continue (or join us) to turn, pray, and unite for the glory of Christ and the good of our children and our children’s children?