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Sunday School Lesson - September 6, 2020
"Honor Parents"
Exodus 20:12; Samuel 15:7-14
The Point: Honor for our parents is seen in our words and actions.
How many times have you seen an elderly couple struggle to make ends meet? How about loneliness. Is this because of the actions of the parents or the parents children. Most of the time responsible parents spend time with their kids. Sometimes they have to struggle to make ends meet. These parents put their kids first and foremost in almost everything. They show by example. They promote their children's education. They go to church and take their children with them. I know my parents did. There is a saying, what goes around, comes around. I suspect that is especially true in parenting. You invest in your children and your children will respond in kind. This is not always true, there are always exceptions, but generally true. 
We live in a mobile society. In the past people lived in an agricultural society or small town atmosphere where children  stayed in the same area they grew up in. In modern society people move to other locations much more than they used to. Generally, this is because of work. The father gets a promotion and has to move, or there are more job opportunities elsewhere. The children may have to move away for the same reason. For example, I had two sisters and one brother. One sibling wound up in Dallas, Texas as a psychiatrist, one in Toledo, Ohio as sales Manager for Owens Illinois, and one in Jacksonville Florida over Human Resources for a large Engineering firm. Needless to say our parents pushed us to get an education and established a good work ethic.
Mom and Dad passed away a long time ago. Even though my siblings and me were not always close by, we all stayed in touch with each other and our parents. I don't think my parents would have had it any other way. They wanted us to succeed in life. We loved and respected our parents because they loved and respected us. If they ever needed anything all they had to do was ask. Most of the time they wouldn't have to ask.
Now pay attention to what is happening in a large part of our society. The numbers of the Nuclear family with one father, one mother and their children is a lot smaller now than in the past. The trend is it's getting even smaller. Some children even do not know who their father is. As mentioned in last weeks lesson, some of the welfare mothers have multiple partners and no one is sure who the father might be. This is not the way to raise children. This is not the example you want to set. Most of these children will be raised in poverty. The majority may never have the opportunity to go to church. The value of a good education is never mentioned. However, because of the example set by the mother, and absentee father, the children will, more than likely, continue the pattern they were raised in. I am not saying the children do not love their mother or on again, off again father. They do, but it is not good for the children and it is not good for society for this way of life to continue ad Infinium. The children probably do not respect the mother or father in this welfare status as much as they would parents of a nuclear family. However God says, we are to honor thy father and thy mother. This is regardless of the situation, either rich or poor or indifferent. It is not a good idea to disrespect your parents under any circumstances.
2 Samuel  15:13-14
      12. Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the                         land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
 The author of this lesson, Tony Evans, said "God designed the family as the foundational unit in society. He planned for parents to help children grow to maturity. While parents have a responsibility to nurture and direct their chidden, children also have a God-given obligation to honor the parents God has placed in their lives. This latter responsibility is the focus of the fifth commandment that God gave to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Tony also said that parents exemplify God to their children. With God's help they gave life to the child through procreation. They are to provide for and protect their children as well as to love and care for them. They are to instruct, discipline, and guide children to adulthood. This includes their spiritual instruction. In return the children should love and honor their parents.
We honor our parents when we continue to be involved in their lives, not only as we give them our attention, time and love, but also as we seek their wisdom, listen to them,  and remain patient with them (especially when their mental and physical capabilities decline.)"
Now, let's look at a man, Absalom, One of David's sons  who not only did not respect and honor his father, but tried to take over his kingdom.
2 Samuel 15:13-14
7 And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron.
Absalom and Tamar were David's son and Daughter by Maacah. Maacah was the daughter of the king of Geshur. David also had a son named Amnon by another wife Ahinoam the Jezreelitess. Amnon thought his half sister Tamar was a beautiful woman and made advances towards her. But she refused his advances and Amnon raped her. Absalom then had  Amnon killed to revenge Tamor. Later on Absalom led a rebellion against his father David. 
8 For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.
9 And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose and went to Hebron.
10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew  not any thing.
12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city , even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
The rebellion of this young man is full of tragedy. Absalom was a handsome young man, but he was treacherous. He weaned away his father's subjects by treachery. He sat at the city gate and told the farmers what he would do if he were their ruler. When men bowed in honor, he kissed their hand. He drove a beautiful chariot drawn by prancing horses. He became a favorite. 
Absalom went to Hebron went to with the knowledge that people in Hebron still bore a grudge against David because he had removed the seat of government from there to Jerusalem. This was a good base for Absalom's operations. His plans for conspiracy rebelling against his father got stronger and stronger for the people increased continually with Absalom.
13 And there came a messenger to David , saying, 'The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom."
14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake  suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.
Through a spy system Absalom stole the kingdom from his father. When David left Jerusalem, Absalom gathered his army in Hebron and marched triumphantly into the city. Finally David prepared for battle with Absalom. 
David's decision to abandon Jerusalem has been a constant puzzle to historians. Some have supposed that his courage failed temporarily. Some that he had valid grounds for suspecting the loyalty of the population, perhaps still predominantly Jebusite; others, that he wished to spare the city the horrors of a siege; and still others suppose he argued that if the revolt prospered in the North while Absalom was marching on him from the South, he would be caught in Jerusalem as in a trap. The fact that David's loyal followers did not question his decision indicates that his decision was not based on cowardice but upon the cold calculation of an experienced military specialist.
When David left Jerusalem he left behind a mole, a palace advisor named Hushai whose mission is to give Absalom bad advice. Hushai advised the rookie king to take some time to build a vast army before chasing down David. But this also gives David time to build his army of seasoned soldiers.
Absalom was not long in his successful overthrow of David and the government. His defeat was unusual. In the forest of Ephraim the army of Israel was defeated by David's men.  Absalom's army can't stop the charge of David's angry warriors. Over twenty thousand men were killed that day. While Absalom was riding his mule in the thick forest, his hair got caught in an oak tree and he was hanging there on a limb. Joab, David's chief military commander took three javelins and plunged them into Absalom's heart while he was still alive. They took him down and threw his body into a pit and covered the pit with stones.
David was very upset at the news of his son's death and he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son (2 Samuel 18:33). Over twenty thousand men were killed that day, including probably a lot of David's friends and relatives. But to David only that individual stood out. I think most fathers might feel the same way. The death of his child was a grievous sorrow to David, but the living sorrow of betrayal which he endured through his beloved son Absalom we cannot imagine. 
Joab had to remind David that in his mourning for Absalom that David had made it clear that the commanders and their men meant nothing to David. Joab said that if Absalom were alive and that all of them were dead that David would be pleased. He also told David to go out and encourage your men. "I swear by the Lord that if you don't go out, not a man would be with you by nightfall." So David got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, they all came before him and David remained King. 
The rebellion of this young man is full of tragedy. He was loved by his father. It's too bad that Absalom did not feel the same way about him.
Parts of this lesson were taken from: 
The Holy Bible, King James version, World Bible Publishers , Iowa Falls, Iowa, New Testament, Exodus 20:1-6, pg. 97-98. Psalms 16:1-4,9-11 pg 671.
The Wycliff Bible Commentary. The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago,1968, pg. 298-299.
The Complete Guide to the Bible, Barbour Books, P.O. Box  719 Uhrichsville,   Ohio 44683, www.barbourbooks.com, Stephen Miller, Exodus, pg. 99,100.
LifeWay, Bible Studies for Life, Personal Study Guide, Fall,2020, "Place God First," Tony Evans, pg.30-39.
What the Bible Is All About, Understanding Second Samuel, The Law, Henrietta C. Mears, pg.131-132
1966, pg. 471.
LifeWay, Bible Studies for Life, Personal Study Guide, Spring, 2020, "Yield," Ben Mandrell, pg.143-151.

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