TO GOD'S HOUSE
When considering honor, it seems that it is quickly disappearing. Proverbs 26 gets to the heart of the issue, "Like snow in the summer rain in the harvest. It is not fit for a fool. Or, "like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool." Honor then is not for everyone. In the House of God, dishonor can be present. It can be so normalized that the bar of acceptable behavior descends lower and lower. If a family reflected such things that go on at times in the House of our Father, we would consider it dysfunctional. Yet, what are we if we're not a people with each other's honor, our leaders following daily these principles of our Father? But given our times, we should make it a topic of our discussion.
HONOR and TIMELESS
For generations, our Father's principles of honor established mutual respect through His laws; they have passed from one generation to the next unbroken. But they are so plain and unequivocal that even a child could grasp their meaning. Yet, more people seem to struggle to recognize them today. Yet the Apostle John writes, "and this is love, that we walk after His commandments." Further, he states, in I John 3:16. "Let us not love in word, but in Deed and Truth." It would come as no surprise then that most of these commandments relate to our conduct, which always brings us back to our Father's virtuous principles. For instance, Solomon knew how to honor his Father David; Elisha honored Elijah, Joseph honored Jacob, and John honored Jesus, as Jesus honored His Father. A generation that seeks this kind of glory, our Father, will undoubtedly find pleasure in. It is also where genuine revival settles into the hearts of His people.
When Jesus gave an analogy from nature regarding the kingdom, He stated, "the tree that is known by its fruit." The point is. A real child of the kingdom is different: "Out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38) Such kingdom transformations cannot come forth without personal integrity. Add to this forgiveness of others, love for our fellow brothers and sisters. Again, "For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God's power" (I Corinthians 4:20). Then, Romans 14:17-19, "Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification." This particular virtue of honor is seen in Romans 12:9-11, "Give preference to one another in honor; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." The Ten Commandments, God's moral code for man, shows that honor is the central principle guiding the Israelites' conduct. In turn, it was a guide for all of God's people.
So, when entering Abba's House, it shouldn't surprise anyone to encounter it. Actually, we should expect it. From the doorkeeper to the greeter, honor should be present to all those walking around in it. Lest we forget, our Father's very nature is HONOR, and for this reason, His Son is supremely honored.
Where the rubber meets the road, as they say, honor is esteeming something or someone. This represents a valuable light in such a dark dishonoring society of today. When God's people respect each other, they esteem one another, establishing our distinction in the eyes of the world. To honor those things that our Father honors then, respect the principle of distinction.
By way of illustration, we honor God with our time when we set aside the Sabbath day, thereby making it distinct from all other days. Holy convocations are honored from any other civil holiday. We honor God with our money by our tithing and special giving. In Biblical times, years were honored by the separation of the Sabbatical year from all other years. We honor the Church, congregation, or fellowship because wherever two or more gather in His name, a distinction is made from every other gathering on earth. Finally, we honor Israel and the Jewish people because God made them distinct from all other nations. We elaborate upon this last point at the end of this chapter.
LOSS OF HONOR
WE LOSE DISTINCTION
One noteworthy principle is worth repeating. Along with the loss of honor goes distinction, and what always follows in its path is a regress of God's commandments. Taken from our prior remarks, the Ten Commandments, the first five deal with our relationship to God-honoring him above all else. They're countless verses urging us to honor God with our lips, as well as the meditations of our hearts. The last five commandments deal with our relationships with each other. This includes the family of God because if honor disintegrates, the family disintegrates. Certainly, a congregation may operate and function like a well-oiled machine, but if honor amongst its members is not upheld, one of the essential attributes of our Lord is absent.
Let's be straightforward. An acute loss of honor is underway.
Political leaders mock each other from both sides of the political aisle, and the world views too many spiritual leaders as money mongers or immoral. We have the title of "Pastor" being replaced with "team leader," and the Sabbath dress codes are jeans and sandals. There is a new wave of casualness. Now I am well aware of current statistics and trends that reveal that younger people respond more to casual attire than formal. Younger people reject formalness, not necessarily as a sign of spirituality, but because they feel the person preaching to them is speaking down. But given this cultural shift, those same people, if invited to a state dinner at the White House, would make every effort to wear their best apparel to the President's House. Surely, values are in high conflict today. Let's recall such things as a Pastor's title is a holy office, ordained and given by our Lord to the Church (Ephesians 4). It would be good to rescue this alone from our times and restore its God-given place of dignity.
The connection between honor and seed is first discovered in Genesis; "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest and, cold and heat and, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22) Most importantly, the seed is the Word of God, as found in Luke 8:11. By nature, seed possesses God-given extraordinary properties. As it interacts with the soil, moisture, and sun, tender shoots rise to penetrate the soil to become a plant.
Consider the sunflower. A plant designed to turn and face the sun, What if it turned instead towards the shade? Would this not signal a strange mutation and signal that something must be wrong? Is it the seed, the soil, or the environment? In nature, it could be all three? When Paul spoke of those with a form of godliness but no power, it points to a seed's mutation. You might say, wait a minute. Are we not referring to the seed of the Holy Spirit, the seed of God's Word, and the seed of faith? Can this type of seed truly have a mutation? Heaven forbid!
Yes! The seed is good! God is good! His work is good! And thankfully, this seed is immutable! Paul describes in 2nd Timothy 3 an uncertain environment and one in which the family of God finds themselves today. In other words, when it comes to the environment of the last days, people will become hostile to this immutable seed, and it will no longer be able to produce honor in many. Mostly, many will seek it, and many won't. It reminds me of Proverbs 26:1, "Like snow in the summer rain in harvest, honor does not fit a fool." Have you ever seen snow in the summer rain? If you did, it would be one of those mutations or aberrations of nature.
Notably, then, honor attributes itself to our Father's ways. Not only does it elevate the House that our Father built, but it also activates blessing in every environment in our life. That individual that God places in your life to bless you because he or she was drawn to you, I would say, depends upon whom you honored. Honor will either unlock a door or close it. In the business world, it will make the difference between more money or less. I have long understood this principle that if I honor and respect those important areas to my Heavenly Father, His blessing will follow. Sow dishonor and doors will shut, and God's favor will be deactivated. Personally, the many blessings and favor that have been experienced in my life are attributed to honoring. I honored my employer because I honored my Father first. Did you catch the connection between the two? Proverbs 3:4, "Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
A MAN OF HONOR:
When considering Joseph's life, an extraordinary example of the principle of honor comes before us. First, Joseph had dreams of harvesting grain and being a successful farmer and shepherd. But after hearing of it, jealousy rose in his brothers, and they sold him into Egypt, a powerful and grain-rich nation where shepherds were detested as an abomination. Circumstances followed Joseph that would have made it easy for him to be dishonorable. His life was lived mostly amid trials and hardships away from home, but he was always a man of honor. Consider the fact that his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites, who, in turn, placed him on the slave market in Egypt. After being brought to Potiphar, a high-ranking officer in Pharaoh's army, he was thrown into prison due to Potiphar's wicked wife's false charges. Then he interprets the meaning of Pharaoh's dreams, and in turn, he becomes precious. Joseph's life we know well, but when it comes to the family of God, are we dealing with criminals or God's people. Let's consider this.