WOULD you like it if you could do anything you wanted? Are there times when you wish that no one would ever tell you what to do? Now, be honest, and tell me what you think.—
But which is better for you? Is it really wise to do anything you want? Or do things turn out better when you obey your father and your mother?— God says that you should obey your parents, so there must be a good reason to do that. Let’s see if we can figure it out.
How old are you?— Do you know how old your father is?— How old is your mother or your grandmother or grandfather?— They have lived much longer than you have. And the longer a person lives, the more time he has to learn things. He hears more things and sees more things and does more things every year. So young people can learn from older ones.
Do you know someone who is younger than you are?— Do you know more than he or she does?— Why is it that you do?— It is because you have lived longer. You have had more time to learn things than someone younger has.
Who has lived longer than you or I or any other person?— Jehovah God has. He knows more than you do, and he knows more than I do. When he tells us to do anything, we can be sure that it is the right thing to do, even though it may be hard to do. Did you know that even the Great Teacher once found it hard to obey?—
One time God asked Jesus to do something very difficult. Jesus prayed about it, as we see here. He prayed: “If you wish, remove this cup from me.” By praying this, Jesus showed that it was not always easy to do God’s will. But how did Jesus finish his prayer? Do you know?—
Jesus finished it by saying: “Let, not my will, but yours take place.” (Luke 22:41, 42) Yes, he wanted God’s will to be done, not his own. And he went ahead and did what God wanted rather than what he thought would be best.
What can we learn from this?— We learn that it is always right to do what God says, even though it may not be easy to do. But we learn something else. Do you know what it is?— We learn that God and Jesus are not the same person, as some people say. Jehovah God is older and knows more than his Son, Jesus, does.
When we obey God, we are showing that we love him. The Bible says: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.” (1 John 5:3) So you see, we all need to obey God. You want to obey him, don’t you?—
Let’s get out our Bible and see what God tells children to do. We are going to read what the Bible says at Ephesians chapter 6, verses 1, 2, and 3. It says: “Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous: ‘Honor your father and your mother’; which is the first command with a promise: ‘That it may go well with you and you may endure a long time on the earth.’”
So you see, it is Jehovah God himself who is telling you to be obedient to your father and mother. What does it mean to “honor” them? It means that you are to show them respect. And God promises that if you obey your parents, it will “go well with you.”
Let me tell you a story about some people whose lives were saved because they were obedient. These people lived long ago in the big city of Jerusalem. Most of the people in that city did not listen to God, so Jesus warned them that God was going to have their city destroyed. Jesus also told them how they could escape if they loved what was right. He said: ‘When you see armies all around Jerusalem, you will know that its destruction is getting near. Then is the time to get out of Jerusalem and run to the mountains.’
Well, just as Jesus said, armies came to attack Jerusalem. The armies of Rome camped all around it. Then, for some reason, the soldiers left. Most of the people thought that the danger had passed. So they stayed in the city. But what had Jesus said they should do?— What would you have done if you had been living in Jerusalem?— Those who really believed Jesus left their homes and ran to the mountains far away from Jerusalem.
For a whole year, nothing happened to Jerusalem. In the second year, nothing happened. And in the third year, nothing happened. Some people may have thought that those who had left the city were foolish. But then in the fourth year, the Roman armies came back. Again they camped all around Jerusalem. Now it was too late to escape. This time the armies destroyed the city. Most of the people inside it died, and the rest were taken prisoner.
But what happened to those who had obeyed Jesus?— They were safe. They were far away from Jerusalem. So they were not hurt. Obedience protected them.
If you are obedient, will that protect you too?— Your parents may tell you never to play in the street. Why do they say that?— It is because you could be hit by a car. But someday you might think: ‘There are no cars right now. I won’t get hurt. Other children play in the street, and I have never seen them get hurt.’
That is how most of the people in Jerusalem felt. After the Roman armies left, it looked safe. Others were staying in the city. So they stayed too. They had been warned, but they did not listen. As a result, they lost their lives.
Let’s take another example. Have you ever played with matches?— It may seem like fun to watch the fire when you light a match. But playing with matches can be dangerous. The whole house could burn down, and you could die!
Remember, obeying just some of the time is not enough. But if you always obey, that will really protect you. And who is it that tells you, “Children, be obedient to your parents”?— It is God. And, remember, he says that because he loves you.
Since Jesus was perfect, why did he have to learn to obey?