We tend to read scripture through the lens of our present-day culture and experiences. As such, we might overlook some important lessons simply because we can’t “see” them. Scripture reveals that God is concerned about his reputation and the glory and honor of His name. Scripture also reveals that God will bestow honor on those worthy to receive it. This Bible study will examine the importance of “honor” in our relationship with God and each other.
References mentioned in Bible study:
- Assumptions that Affect Our Lives: How Worldviews Determine Values that Influence Behavior and Shape Culture, by Dr. Christian Overman, © 1996
- Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible , by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien, © 2012
- The Cultural World of the Bible, Fourth Edition: An Illustrated Guide to Manners and Customs , By: Victor H. Matthews, © 2015
[Len Martin] What I'd like to cover this evening is really two points. How we sometimes overlook things in the Scripture simply because we don't “see” them and I put “see” in parenthesis. And more specifically, the importance of honor in our relationship with God and our relationship with each other because you'll see as we go through this and certainly as we conclude, they're not mutually exclusive. In fact, one leads to the other.
As I said in my sermon, in Mark 7… if you'd like to join me there as we begin. The scribes and the Pharisees challenged Jesus as to why his disciples did not follow their traditions. Note how Jesus replied to them in Mark 7, beginning in verse 5. “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, ‘Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?’ And He answered and said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: "His people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”’"
I've often said as I've read this in the local area that, you know, it's okay to have traditions in the Church. We have lots of traditions in the Church. It's when we confuse those as being doctrines and certainly when those teachings would conflict with Scripture. But then of all the matters that He would address with them as regards to their tradition, notice what He says in verse 8. “‘For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men— the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.’ And He said to them, ‘All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition for Moses said…’" And I find this interesting. This is the example He puts in front of them. “‘Honor your father and your mother’ and, ‘He who curses father and mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father and mother "Whatever profit you might have received from me that's Corban,’ (that is, it is a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
And so the example He gives to them is that of honoring parents. There's many things He could've pointed out but this is the one He chose to put in front of them. Now if we look at Matthew's account in Matthew 15, the beginning of the verse 5, notice how it is recorded in Matthew's account. Matthew 15, beginning of verse 5. We're going to break into the context here. Well, actually we'll go ahead at the beginning of verse 4. "For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father and mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father and mother, “Whatever profit you might've received from me as a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother. Thus you have made the commandment of God [honoring father and mother] of no effect by your tradition.’" And again, He calls them hypocrites.
So it's interesting of all the things He could've challenged them on, He goes right to honor. Honoring father and honoring mother. Now I mentioned this and you probably saw the write-up in the bulletin and maybe you've been thinking about this. What does honor mean to you? What do you think of when you think of honor? In some cultures… we're going to talk about this here in a moment. To dishonor family is the most egregious of things you could do, to dishonor your family. And so as Jesus Christ says, He quotes Isaiah… I often read these and I turn these Scriptures around. I ask myself do I, do you, do we honor with our lips but our heart is far from Him? Because that's what He declared to them. Now I don't want to spend time on words. You can look all these words up. Most of us have the means to do that but there's two words most often translated as honor. In the Greek it's timao and in the Hebrew it's kabed. And both of those words, either way, can be translated as to prize, to value, to revere, to honor, and to glorify. So as you go through Scriptures, you'll often find you can see words glorify. And when you dig into it, it could mean honor or vice versa.
Now for years we've often noted how the first four commandments represent love toward God and the last six represent love towards man. And so it's interesting that the first one that's listed, the love towards man is honor. Honor your father and your mother. That's the first one that's listed there. I find that interesting because when you have a child and you teach him, it's the first one that they learn as well, to learn to honor father and mother.
Notice Ephesians 6. Ephesians 6, beginning of verse 1. And so again as I said, Jesus challenged the Pharisees with that Fifth Commandment there. Honor your father and your mother and here in Ephesians 6, beginning of verse 1 we read, "Children, obey your parents and the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise.” The first commandment with promise. “And it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers…” it goes on to say “do not provoke your children to wrath.” We'll pause there or stop there for the sake of time.
The first commandment with promise involves honor. That should mean something. We should say, "Well, that's interesting. There must be something there that we should note." The first commandment with promise. That first one that… in that… six that are love towards man begins with honor. Honor your father and your mother. Now before I go much further, let me give you some things. All of this will be on the website when they post the sermon but I want to give you some publications that I used to prepare much of my material. If you're interested, I was talking to Mr. Booth. They're going to… when they post the Bible study, they'll put all this there. I'll just tell you what they are for the sake of those that could be on the webcast. The main publications, the main booklets I've used in preparing this… the first was titled Assumptions That Affect Our Lives: How Worldviews Determine Values that Influence Behavior and Shape Culture. That's by Dr. Christian Overman. The second is Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible. That's by Randolph Richards, Brandon J. O'Brien. And the third is the Cultural World of The Bible, Fourth Edition, An Illustrated Guide to Manners and Customs.
And so I've titled the Bible study this evening simply “Honoring God” but before we get to that aspect of it, we're going to look into some cultural aspects as we look at the Bible and we glean out of it some things that maybe we haven't seen before. And maybe it'll help us in our understanding. You and I all make decisions all the time. We make decisions and reach certain conclusions based on our storehouse of knowledge, our life experiences, and many underlying assumptions. We all do this. It's very common. Our underlying assumptions that are used in our decision-making process help us to form conclusions that we often make. Those conclusions impact then our lives. They impact our relationships both… and when I use the term relationship, I'm talking about with each other and God. Those are two primary relationships with God and with one another.
So again, these decisions we reach have an effect in all aspects of our life, how we relate to one another, how we spend, and whom we spend our time with. It impacts our religious views, our political views, how we dress. It impacts our moral decisions, our marriage decisions, retirement decisions, all of them. All of our decisions. They're all based on these aspects that are included in our thinking process. But the underlying assumptions of our decision-making process is the part that usually gets the least examination. We take them for granted. We don't even really think about them. We might consider them a given. That's why sometimes you may be interacting with somebody and think, "Why don't they… where's the disconnect here?" I just… we were on the beach the other day taking family photos and we were all there trying to get a picture and some guy decided he wants to do… what is it? Wake-boarding right behind us. Not there. But right behind us. And of course, I'm going, "What can't you see about this, right?" He had a different idea than mine. He was… he had something else on his mind.
But embedded in our underlying decisions are things called cultural mores. It's spelled M-O-R-E-S. Cultural mores. Merriam-Webster defines them as “customs, values, behaviors that are accepted by a particular group, a culture or etc.” They are of central importance, accepted without question. Accepted without question embodying the fundamental morals of a group. So points that are worth noting here is mores are first accepted without question. We all have them. We just don't really think about them because we never really question them. They could be things that you grew up, being taught, or experiencing in your family, what have you. So they're accepted without question. And they're fundamental moral views of a group. That could be your family, that could be your community. Obviously, it could be a church. It could be your neighborhood. Mores tend to change from place to place and even within a group, they change over time. And so as we look at Scriptures here in a moment, we'll see that there's things we have to understand about the time so we can glean out of it then how to apply that in our lives today. And so again this is very critical to know this as we read Scripture to know the mores of a time. The cultural and social events of the time. Because we tend to read Scripture through the lens of our present-day experience. And being in the United States, from a western culture standpoint. And so sometimes we read things that we scratch our head at because it just doesn't make sense. And I'll elaborate that here in a moment.
And so missing some of those key elements, we might overlook clues. Maybe instructions that God would like us to learn that if we understood the culture of a time, we would have a better understanding. Let me give you an illustration real quickly. Genesis 19, the story of Sodom. I'm going to try to go through this one rather quickly. I'm not going to read the story. I think we're familiar with it but you can if you'd like to read all of Genesis 19 and review the account but I'll just touch on it real quickly. I thought it might help us realize how we tend to maybe read in not incorrectly but maybe read in things that then cause us to miss things that we might otherwise see. The Genesis 19… I think we're familiar with the story and the circumstances and the city of Sodom. Beginning at verse 1, "two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. Lot saw them, and he rose to meet them, he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, ‘Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; that you may rise early and go on your way.’ And they said, ‘No, but we will spend the night in the open square.’ But he insisted strongly; so they turned into him, entered his house. And then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.” Verse 4, “Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men? Where are the men that came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.’"
Let's drop down to verse 12. “Then the men said to Lot, ‘Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whoever you have in the city— take them out of this place! For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.’" So this is a story we're familiar with. And I just hit the highlights. So what's the great sin of Sodom? Well, we would all say sodomy. We've got a word named after the city, right. We don't see that word used here. I'm not saying it's wrong. I think we'll see here in a moment where I'm going with this. We know… for the sake of time, we won't go there. We know other places in Scripture, Leviticus 20 speaks of homosexuality being a sin. It's called an abomination. In fact, that's the word that's used to describe it.
And because of our Judeo-Christian puritan background, our western culture, we tend to look at that sin as a particularly grievous sin. One that's pretty repulsive. And so we'll read the story and we tend to say, "Yeah. Well, we know what happened here. They were committing sodomy and that's why they were destroyed." But if we're not careful we may not consider all that's here. We've jumped to a conclusion and I'm not saying that conclusion is completely wrong. But we may miss something here. Because we may look at it and say, "You know, again, they're destroyed for committing sodomy. Having reached that conclusion, you know, how does that apply to me? Oh, it doesn't apply to me because I don't commit sodomy so let's move on. We'll go read something else."
Notice Revelation 21. Well, I'll tell you before we go there, you're probably halfway there. I'll read this. Genesis 18:20 Genesis 18:20And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
American King James Version×. You can head over to Revelation 21 if you want. Genesis 18:20 Genesis 18:20And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
American King James Version×it said, "And the Lord said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,’” so it is clearly a very grave sin but it still didn't say what the sin is. Again, if you're still with me, we've inserted… we know what it is. It's sodomy. And that's not wrong by the way but I think you'll see here in a moment how it may limit what we can draw out of that. In Revelation 21:7 Revelation 21:7He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
American King James Version×we're here celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, picturing a time when a part of God's plan… we're all looking forward to be part of but notice in Revelation 21 we're told clearly who will be there and who will not be there. Revelation 21, beginning at verse 7. He who overcomes shall inherit all things. I love that verse. All things. And I will be his God and He shall be my son but… verse 8. “The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexual immoral, sorcerers, adulterers, all liars they'll have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.”
So we have who's going to be there and who's going to not be there. And in that list, we see those that commit abominations will be in the lake of fire. So now if you join me in Ezekiel 16… because again, we're still answering the question what was Sodom's sin.
Ezekiel 16. We'll just look at two verses. Verses 49 and 50. Ezekiel 16:49 Ezekiel 16:49Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
American King James Version×, “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom.” So it's going to spell it right out here. “She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy. And they were haughty and they committed abomination before Me; therefore, I took them away as I saw fit.” We still don't see the word sodomy listed there. They committed an abomination. So why am I stressing this? Because as I said, we could read the story of Genesis 19 and say they were destroyed for committing sodomy. I don't commit sodomy. Nothing else to learn here. Move on. However, if we say, "Wait a minute. They were destroyed for committing an abomination. Maybe I ought to look through the Scripture to find all the things listed as abominations so I don't commit abominations." Because as we read in Revelation 21, “those who commit abominations won't be in the kingdom of God.”
There's many things in Scripture listed as an abomination. Let's look at one. Proverbs 6. So we should look… when we read a story like that and not jump to a conclusion inserting a sort of cultural mores because we kind of think, "Oh, it's talking about sodomy." It's talking about abominations. Their particular abomination was sodomy. But we should glean out that… wait a minute. It's talking about what happens to people that commit abominations. Proverbs 16, a familiar passage beginning in verse… Proverbs 6, beginning of verse 16.
“These six things Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren.” That is abomination. It's on the same level as sodomy. It's in the same category of its abomination. And so if we read Genesis 19 and only think of that one specific abomination, we miss that… wait a minute. The lesson of Genesis 19 might just be what happens to people that commit abominations. And now it does apply to me. Because I’ve got to look at have I ever sown discord among the brethren. It's an abomination. Pure and simple.
So again, we should look at Scripture in that way. Adam Clarke adds that one that sows discord among brethren, "he who troubles the peace of a family, of a village, of a state; who by lies, misrepresentations, strive to make men's minds evil-affected towards their brethren.” So again, Adam Clarke says… again he's speaking of disruption that happens in a group. He talks about family and village, state, church. If you and I do anything that causes that, we've committed an abomination. We're as guilty as Sodom. It's an abomination. And so we should look at things with a full weight of what those words mean and not just insert something and move on. And we all can do this if we're not careful. Matthew Henry adds on this sowing discord. “Those that by tale-bearing and slandering, by caring ill-natured stories, aggravating everything that is said and done."
So we can see that in Genesis 19 there's so much more to that than just simply sodomy. The lesson really is what happens to people that commit abominations. Now in addition to the idea of like how we read Scripture and not always, you know, jumping to those… or that we shouldn't jump at those conclusions. We have predominantly… I mentioned it earlier. We're a western culture. In western societies we are individualistic. We like our rights. We like our individual rights. We value them. We value individual freedoms, individual thought, individual expression. Our identity comes from distinguishing ourselves from one another. That's the culture of a western society by and large. Our identity comes again from distinguishing ourselves. We resist dress codes. You know, try to have a dress code at school. You know, mutiny. It's just in our culture. We just… we resist that. It's just kind of how we are. We don't like school uniforms and any other attempts at uniformity.
We're also binary. A western culture, we tend to be binary thinkers meaning we like, you know, we like either, or. Yes, no. Right, wrong. True, false. Like we like that in a western society. We don't like ambiguity. And so sometimes we look at things and we try to glean out of the Scripture. We want a yes or a no. And some areas that have become ambiguous, we struggle with. It's not in our nature. It's just not how we're made. And so we have difficulty with ambiguity. That's why we have thousands of laws on the book and once somebody finds that loophole, we make another law because we need it spelled out.
Now the Bible is predominantly what we would call a non-western culture. Right, non-western. They're collectivists, right. They value tradition. They value community. And you see this all throughout the Bible. It's more important that there… to be accepted as a group than to have individual rights. Generally speaking. I know I'm making some generalizations here. So again, the most important identity is the group, the family, your community. Church, right. It’s… that's the most important thing. As a result, the person's identity comes from fulfilling their place in the group. The apostle Paul speaks of this over in 1 Corinthians 12. You know, we in a western society kind of bristle it… phrase it like know your place, right. But Paul tells us to know our place. And now since… if we look at 1 Corinthians 12… but he's speaking of a collective mindset. Again, as people identify with the group knowing and fulfilling their role in the group. He's speaking here of spiritual gifts and if we just break into the context of verse 4, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it's the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for…” what? “The profit of all.” All. And so he's speaking to people that understand their place and that fulfilling your role in that place is for the benefit of the whole group. Western culture people are like, "Nah. I do my own thing. I don't do it… you know, I'm going to do my own thing."
And so I'm not here to say one's right or wrong. I'm saying we have to understand this as we glean in the Scriptures and we pull out some of what we see there. They also in non-western cultures… because they think in terms of group, they're also a very honor, shame society. You know, we see this in like Asian cultures to this day, right. There's a lot that has to do with honor. I know and I've never traveled there on business but I know people that have and you better know the rules because you could really easily do something to dishonor somebody and then all… you just… there's not going to be a business deal. So honor and shame is a big part of the culture as well. Scripture's written with this kind of background. Okay, so just kind of understand that.
I won't go into it but if you want an example, you know, one of the examples you could think of that would be easy for us to understand is dating in a western culture versus a non-western. Right? In the United States, kids date who they want. You know, parents try to influence that. I think every parent has tried to influence that at some point or other. But in a non-western culture… we see this in Scripture. You can go back in the Bible and read Genesis 24. We won't. You know, when Abram sends out somebody to find Rebeka for his son… Abraham does, right. There's a whole process in how that happens. The kids don't pick their mate. The parents do. And there's a lot of reasons for that. But those are the kind of things that happen in a collective culture. Honor or shame. Kids don't make decisions that would dishonor the family. It's important that we realize that because in a western culture, we read some things and it doesn't always make sense to us. And so again if you wanted to just review that, you could go read Genesis 24 but what you see there is that again marriages were arranged, families made the decision. Oftentimes, the children didn't even meet their mate till they got married. But they accepted this because it was about the family honor. They just did it because they weren’t… it wasn't right to go off. If they did, they dishonored the family. So again, it's important we kind of get an understanding of this as we go through here.
So let's now look at some examples. Acts 5. Acts 5. Because we're going to see here some examples. Maybe with some of this background… and I'm just skimming the surface. Again, as I said, the publications that will be listed… if you want to read some and… I guess I'll give you the caveat we all do. Not everything that these authors print is accurate but if you glean the overall things that they share, you'll get some of these insights. But in Acts 5, notice a story here. We'll see how important honor is in our relationships because that's what we're going to transition now as I've kind of thrown some of this background at you. How important honor is in our relationship with each other and certainly as I mentioned, as somebody said to me after my sermon, "Man, you pitched your Bible." I said, “Oh…" And so I did. I want to talk about what it means to honor God. And you'll see that there’s… you sort of can't do one without the other. You have to honor each other if you're going to honor God. So we see here in Acts 5… now at the end of the previous chapter and at the end of Acts 4, Barnabas had sold his estate. He brought all the money and he surrendered it at the feet of the apostles and we would… you know, it's like giving it all to the Church as symbolized by here laying at the feet of the apostles.
We come to Acts 5:1 Acts 5:1But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
American King James Version×, “A certain man named Ananias and Sapphira his wife sold a possession. And he kept that part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’" And then of course verse 5, “Ananias, hearing the words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.”
In verse 2, it says they “kept back part of the proceeds.” Now we could read that and say, "Okay, they just kept some of the money." Now again, you start digging in and doing word studies and you see the word for kept back. In modern-day we could use embezzled, right. They embezzled. They kept back something that didn't belong to them. But it's the word proceeds. It's the same word that in other places of the Bible is translated honor, respect, reverence, esteem, value, and price. But here it’s… you kept back part of a price.
What they held back was not just money. They held back honor due to someone else. What they attempted to do was to be honored for laying out this money but not really giving all of it. So we see here it was again holding back honor. Expositor’s says, "Here they desired to have all the honor and esteem, all the credit the Church would give them for acting as generously as Barnabas did, and yet, while getting that credit and honor and esteem for unselfish liberality, to be able to enjoy in private somewhat of what they believed to have surrendered."
So again, if we're not careful, we think it's just about the money and it's really not. It's about honor and they wanted some of that. They wanted to be revered and they held back what should've been given. We won't go there. Proverbs 3:9 Proverbs 3:9Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase:
American King James Version×tells us to “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of your increase.” Again, honor Him with those things. We can also go here in verse 4 and it says, "Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." Withholding honor is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of the heart to withhold honor due and that's what they're called out for here. They were not honoring God by withholding honor due God. That's why they said they lied to God, they lied to the Holy Spirit.
So again, we can begin to see how honor now weaves its way all through Scripture because again, those words… here it's translated price which is not very common but in many places, it's glory or glorify, honor. Let's look at another example, Exodus 32. Exodus 32.
Another familiar passage of Scripture. Israelite’s… now they make a golden calf. God is clearly angry. He's intent on destroying them. And notice how Moses persuades God to change what He's about to do. Exodus 32, we'll begin at verse 12. “Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants to the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants and they shall inherit it forever.’" Verse 14. “And so the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.” How did Moses persuade God? He didn't appeal to His sense of justice to do what is right or what would be deserved but rather He appealed to His honor that your name would not be dishonored is in essence what he's appealing to God. “Look, the Egyptians are going to speak bad about You if you do this.” And it was appealing to that sense of honor that He relented. Again, he in essence says, "Look, you're going to be shamed and mocked. They're going to say things about you." And so that's how He was able to, you know, plead with God and God then, as it says in verse 14, relented.
Look at another example. Numbers 13. Numbers 13. Now in Numbers 13, Moses… familiar story. Sends 12 men to spy out the Promised Land. When they return, 10 spies give an evil report, give a bad report. Numbers 13. We'll just look at a couple of verses here. Look at verse 32. “And they gave the children of Israel a bad report.” I'm reading from the New King James. That's how it's translated. “A bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants, (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and they were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.’" Now the word… the translation of bad report… you know, King James I believe says evil report. That word can be translated slander. They gave a slanderous report. Now who did they slander? They slandered God. So now this word study of the New Testament describes… it says it describes a report given for an evil purpose such as to defame someone. It includes whispering in a sense of spreading slander against someone.
This evil report really was intended to slander God and dishonoring Him by suggesting that what God promised wasn't going to come true. “Oh, yeah. We went over there but, you know…” what did God tell them? Go on in. You will possess that land. I'll make it happen. And they're in essence saying, "No, that isn't going to happen." And so they were slandering. They were dishonoring God, slandering His name with this evil or slanderous report. Now we see here again if we continue then in Numbers 14 how Moses again appeals to God's honor. Numbers 14. We'll drop on down to verse 10. “And all the congregation said, ‘Stone them with stones.’ Now the glory of the Lord appeared on the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel." The word for glory of the Lord is the same word, honor kabowd. The honor of the Lord, the glory of a Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting.
Again, He says, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will these people reject Me? How long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them. I will make you of a nation greater and mightier than they.’" Verse 13, “And Moses said to the Lord:” once again, "Well, then the Egyptians will hear of it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night." “Now” verse 15, “if You kill these people as one man, then the nations will have heard of Your fame… then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying,…” verse 16, “‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ And now I pray let the power of my Lord great, just as You have spoken, saying, ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant and mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children of the third and fourth generation.’” He again appeals to God's honor saying, "Look, this is what's going to happen. The people will hear of this and then it's Your name that's going to be destroyed." And so in making that appeal, God again then relents what He's going to do.
Now let's look at another example in 2 Samuel. A well-known account of David and Bathsheba. And I'm going to move along in making this more directly related to our lives today. 2 Samuel 11. This again is a familiar story. It's interesting because we always call this the story of David and Bathsheba. Yet, in the Scripture, it's called the matter of Uriah. We almost forget about Uriah but that's how it's titled. And it's always a familiar story. We know David looks out from his rooftop. He's the king. He looks from his palace. He sees this beautiful woman. She's bathing. And he inquires about her. And of course, we don't know why specifically he does but as you dig into the Scripture, you realize he must've known who she was. Her grandfather was his trusted advisor so I don’t… I doubt he didn't know who she was. We don't know. It doesn't really say clearly.
Obviously, their home was near the king's palace and in an honor and shame culture, there's a pecking order. And I worked at a… one of my corporate jobs. It was clearly, you know, the president of the company sat here, the vice-president was there and then there was a pecking order. And how close your office was to the president's had significance, right. And we see that in this culture. So the fact that her rooftop was close to the king's, clearly there was a relationship there. So again, her grandfather was his… one of his chief advisors. And that's probably why she lived so close by. And as the story goes on and we're familiar in verse 4 they commit adultery. Later on… skipping on to verses 15, 16, 17. David devised a way to have her husband killed by sending him into battle. He then fathers a child by her. And so we know that David sinned in many ways. I mean, he committed adultery, he's guilty of murder because he had Uriah sent in… actually sent him into battle so he would be murdered. Coveting or lusting after another man's wife. So he clearly did violate many commandments.
Notice then when we read at the end of the chapter in 2 Samuel 11, verse 27… “And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David did… the thing that David had done displeased Lord.” Now it's interesting to recognize the things that David did was typical… not that they were right. Typical of a king. Kings pretty much got what they wanted. When you understand the mores, the culture of the time, it was not uncommon. Kings took whatever they wanted. That was just the way it was. Doesn't mean God agreed with it but it is kind of the way it was. And so some of the things that David was doing wasn't necessarily alarming in one sense. Doesn't mean it met God's standard at all. I think we understand that. Kings often sent people to battle. In fact, they still do that. You know, we live in a country. They have to send kids to battle. So these things happen. Because of that, some of the things that he did didn't cause people to think too much but God's standards are much higher and we understand that. And what we see here is that our conduct matters regardless of what society's cultural mores find acceptable. We answer to God's standards and our conduct is very important.
And so we go in out of the next chapter. We begin to see as God sends Nathan, the prophet, to David. He presents the matter to David to give him a story to judge over and he waits until David does judge the matter and he says to him in 2 Samuel 12:7 2 Samuel 12:7And Nathan said to David, You are the man. Thus said the LORD God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul;
American King James Version×a familiar phrase we often now, "You are the man! You are the man!” If we continue on… let's go to verse 12. Let's go down verse… you know, let's continue verse 7. “Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “I anointed you king over Israel. I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would've given you much more!”’”
Notice what it says in verse 9, “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people Ammon. Now therefore,” verse 10 “the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.” Verse 11. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; I will take your wives from before your eyes. I will give them to your neighbor,’” keep in mind, this is an honor and shame society. “And he shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.”
This is what got to David. He understood honor and he understood shame and in verse 10 it says, "You have despised." That word means disrespected, “dishonored Me, God.” And as a result, He lays out what's going to happen. David knew there's consequences for dishonoring God. That's when it hit him. That's when he realized what he did. He was now going to be publicly shamed for dishonoring God. At that point, David knew. Because we see in Psalm 51 his heartfelt reply.
You know, as a child growing up, I used to, you know… like many people, read this story and say, "How could David be a man after God's own heart?" Because David understood honor. Didn't mean he was perfect. He made his share of mistakes but this he knew. He dishonored God and that hit him. Psalm 51 "To the Chief Musician. The Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” Verse 3, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, I have dishonored You. I committed sins and there's consequent…” but in the end, he realized he had dishonored God. And that's when it all hit him. And he knew there'd be consequences for doing that.
David wrote many psalms addressing this topic of honoring God. I'll just read these to you for the sake of time. Psalms 22:23 Psalms 22:23You that fear the LORD, praise him; all you the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all you the seed of Israel.
American King James Version×. “You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify [or honor] Him,” is what it says. Psalms 86:9 Psalms 86:9All nations whom you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord; and shall glorify your name.
American King James Version×… in verse 12. “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify” or honor… same word, “Your name… I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify [or I will honor] Your name.”
And so a lesson we can take away from this is that our conduct matters. David's conduct certainly mattered. He did quite a few things that were wrong. You and I have done many things wrong in our lives, things we have to repent of. But David understood what it meant to dishonor God. Remember I said in non-western cultures the most egregious thing to do is to blemish the family name, to do anything that would bring dishonor to the family. See, we're in a society that's all about self, our individual rights. We need to start thinking about our community, our family, and the things that we do that… or, you know, things that we should not do and hopefully do not do that could dishonor our family and our family name and certainly to dishonor our God.
So then as we begin to wind down, how do we honor God? How do we honor God? We look at several examples here. We see honors is all… you know, concept of honors throughout Scripture. Well, we looked at earlier that the Fifth Commandment, that first commandment with promise that we looked at involves relationships with children and the parents. That one of the first thing God wants them to learn is honoring mom and dad. And a lot of people honor God as our dad, the Church as our mom, that we would honor those in a spiritual sense in the same way we're taught to honor our physical parents. Notice 1 Timothy 5.
You see, to honor God starts first with us learning to honor one another, treating each other appropriately. 1 Timothy 5. Beginning in verse 1. “Do not…” excuse me. “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father.” Honor him. Right? We're told to honor father and mother. So it says treat him as a father. Honor him. “Younger men as brothers, older women as mothers.” So honor the older women as you would honor a mother. It's staring us right in the face. We need to show honor to one another. Honor our older men as fathers, our older women as mothers. “Younger women as sisters, with all purity.” Verse 3. “Honor widows who are really widows.” All through Scripture we're told honor. Honor one another. This is where it starts. If God expects us to treat each other with honor and respect, with honor and respect… again, as I said, these honor, shame cultures, these non-western cultures, to dishonor a family is one of the most egregious things. To dishonor a person. They got that in a way that I don't think we fully comprehend. And we can read it and study it and try to understand it but we're still at the end of the day a western society. But it's good for us to try to understand these things. Let's drop down a little bit.
Verse 17, “Let the elders who rule well become worthy of double honor.” There's that word again. So then as it goes again, fathers, men, and women, widows… speaks here… then of the elders who rule well to be counted worthy of double honor. And then a little bit further down just in verse 21, he admonishes Timothy. “I charge you before God and Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.” Treat all the older men, all the older women, all the widows with honor. Don't pick and choose but treat them all with honor.
Notice that in 1 Peter 2. Because again, we're looking at how then do we honor God.
Peter was in here this morning. I read him.
There we go.
1 Peter 2. Notice verse 17. “Honor all people.” So if we missed anybody, right, kind of got it covered here. “Honor all people.” Treat them with honor. Treat them with respect. “Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” You know, this verse alone just… you could've stopped at “Honor all people.” Boom. Covered it. That's all people. I like to tease Mr. Aust, he keeps telling us his “wife's a grammarian, I'm not.” But I know what all is. I know what all people means, right.
I think we can get this. God wants us to show honor to all of us in all that we do. And in doing that, we then honor God because honoring God begins with honoring each other. Doing things that don't bring shame on our family, on our name. That means sometimes we're willing to let my idea go. For the family's sake. Because it's more important than the family has unity than for me to have my idea. There's a lot of ways we bring honor or shame to the family.
And so we accept our responsibility as Paul said in 1 Corinthians to know our place, to know our part in the family, to bring honor and whenever we're called, wherever place that we would do that in a way that honors the family. And that, as I said, sometimes mean that things don't go our way but you know what? That's okay. Whatever's best for the family, I'm in. And we need to think that way in so many aspects of life. Remember in answering the scribes and the Pharisees, He quoted from Isaiah. He says that “People honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from them… or far from Me.” He called them hypocrites for giving lip service to God but not living in a manner that truly honored Him. It was just lip service.
We're here in 1 Peter. Let's go up a little bit. Beginning verse 9. 1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
American King James Version×. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now,” verse 10, “the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved,” verse 11, “I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works which they observe honor…” same word. This probably says “glorify” but that word's the same one, “Glorify [or honor] God in a day of visitation.” And of course, Jesus said… Matthew 5:16 Matthew 5:16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×to “Let our lights shine so before men, that when they see your good works, they would honor, they would glorify our Father in heaven.”
If you want to honor God, then number one, we have to live a life with conduct that brings honor to Him and it starts at home as we show honor to one another. Thanks for coming.