May 19: Outline for Honor
1 Chronicles 7:1–40; 1 Timothy 5:1–9; Psalm 78:30–52
In most Western cultures today, we’ve lost our connection with the elderly. With one grandparent living halfway across the country and the others having died before I was born, I wasn’t around older people until I met my wife and her family. Unlike me, my wife had the privilege of knowing her great-grandparents. She has a strong sense of tradition and respect for the elderly, as well as a deep desire to help them in all aspects of life, and she has been able to teach me to do the same. Paul is dealing with a similar experience in his first letter to Timothy.
Paul says to Timothy, “Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. Honor widows who are truly widows” (1 Tim 5:1–3). By “honor,” Paul means showing a deep sense of concern and an earnest, regular desire to help them financially and with their daily needs. What Paul says is revolutionary for his time. It wasn’t that the elderly were disrespected culturally, but they weren’t sought out as teachers and people to help. Paul commanded not just equality in this scenario, but assistance and compassion. Widows, who were of the lowest rank of society, were to be loved as equals. And older men, at the higher rank, were to be respected for their understanding.
We don’t make these connections as readily in Western society. Instead, we see someone’s need as something to pray for, not to act on. And we see older men’s perspectives as simply “old guard” rather than a legitimate opinion we should take into consideration. Paul doesn’t say older people are always right, just as our fathers are not always right, but he does encourage Timothy to show them the respect they deserve “as a father.” Paul’s outline for honor was as powerful then as it is now.
How can you make the elderly and widowed a part of your life and church community?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And the sons of Issachar were Tola and Push, Jashub, and Shimron, four, And the sons of Tola, Uzzi, and Rephaiah and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads in the households of their fathers, Of Tola were valiant men of war in their generations, whose number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand, and six hundred. And the son of Uzzi was Izrahiah, and the sons of Izrahiah, Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, and Ishaiah, five men all princes. And with them in their generations after the household of their fathers were bands of men of war for battle six and thirty thousand: for they had many wives and children. And their brethren among all the families of Issachar were valiant men of war, reckoned in all by their genealogies fourscore and seven thousand. The sons of Benjamin were Bela, and Becher, and Jediel, three. And the sons of Bela, Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri five heads of the households of their fathers, valiant men of war, and were reckoned by their genealogies, two and twenty thousand and thirty and four. And the sons of Becher, Zemirah, and Joash, and Eliezer, and Elioenai, and Omri, and Jerimoth, and Abijah, and Anathoth, and Alemeth: all these were the sons of Becher. And they were numbered by their genealogies according to their generations, and the chief of the houses of their fathers, valiant men of war, twenty thousand and two hundred. And the son of Jediael was Bilhan, and the sons of Bilhan, Jeush, and Benjamin, and Ehud, and Chenaanah, and Zetban, and Tharshish, and Ahishahar. All these were the sons of Jediael, chief of the fathers, valiant men of war seventeen thousand and two hundred, marching in battle array to the war. And Shuppim, and Huppim were the sons of Ir, but Hushim was the son of another, The sons of Naphtali, Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum of the sons of Bilhah. The son of Manasseh was Ariel whom she bare unto him, but his concubine of Aram bare Machir the father of Gilead. And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, and the name of their sister was Maachah. And the name of the second son was Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had had daughters. And Maachah the wife of Machir bare a son, and called his name Peresh, and the name of his brotehr was Sheresh: and his sons were Ulam and Rakem. And the son of Ulam was Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh. And his sister Hammoleketh bare Ishhod, and Abiezar, and Mahlah. And the sons of Shemida were Ahiian, and Shechem, and Likhi, and Aniam. The sons also of Ephraim were Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and his son Eladah, and Tahath his son, And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezer, and Elead: and the men of Gath that were born in the land, slew them, because they came down to take away their cattle. Therefore Ephraim their father mourned may days, and his brethren came to comfort him. And when he went in to his wife, she conceived, and bare him a son, and he called his name Beriah, because affliction was in his house. And his daughter was Sheerah, which built Beth Horon the nether, and the upper, and Uzzen Sheerah. And Rephah was his son, and Resheph, and Telah his son, and Tahanhis son, Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, Nun his son, Joshua his son. And their possessions and their habitations were Bethel, and the villages thereof, and Eastward Naaran, and Westward Gezer with the villages thereof, Shechem also and the villages thereof, unto Ayyah, and the villages thereof. And by the place of the children of Manasseh, Beth Shean and her villages, Taanach and her villages, Megiddo and her villages, Dor and her villages. In those dwelt the children of Joseph the son of Israel. The sons of Asher were Imnah, and Ishvah, and Ishvi, and Beriah, and Serah their sister. And the sons of Beriah, Heber, and Malchiel, which is the father of Birzaith. And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their sister. And the sons of Japhlet were Pasach, and Bimhal, and Ashvath: these wer the children of Japhlet. And the sons of Shemer, Ahi, and Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram. And the sons of his brother Helem were Zophah and Imna, and Shelesh, and Amal. The sons of Zophah, Suah, and Harnepher, and Shaul, and Beri, and Imrah, Bezer and Hod, and Shamma, and Shilshah, and Jithran, and Beera. And the sons of Jether, Jephunneh, and pispah and Ara. And the sons of Ulla, Arah, and Haniel, and Rizia. All these were the children of Asher, the heads of their father’s houses, noble men, valiant men of war and chief princes, and they were reckoned by their genealogies for war and for battle to the number of six and twenty thousand men. 1 Chronicles 7:1–40
- Rebuke not an elder, but exhort him as a father, and the younger men as brethren, The elder women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all pureness. Honor widows, which are widows indeed. But if any widow have children of nephews let them learn first to show godliness toward their own house, and to recompense their kindred: for that is an honest thing, and acceptable before God. And she that is a widow indeed and left alone, trusteth to God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure, is dead, while she liveth. These things therefore watn them of, that they may be blameless. If there be any that provideth not for his own, and namely for them of his household, he denieth the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, that hath been the wife of one husband. 1 Timothy 5:1–9
- They were not turned from their lusts, but the meat was yet in their mouths, When the wrath of God came even upon them, and slew the strongest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. For all this they sinned still, and believed not his wondrous works. Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their ears hastily. And when he slew them, they sought him, and they returned, and sought God only. And they remembered that God was their strength, and the most high God their redeemer. But they flattered him with their mouth, and dissembled with him with their tongue. For their heart was not upright with him: neither were they faithful in his covenant. Yet he being merciful, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not, but oft times called back his anger, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were flesh: yea, a wind that passeth and cometh not again. How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness? and grieve him in the desert? Yea, they returned and tempted God, and limited the Holy one of Israel. They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy. Nor him that set his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan, And turned their rivers into blood, and their floods, that they could not drink. He sent a swarm of lies among them, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave also their fruits unto the caterpillar, and their labor unto the grasshopper. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their wild fig trees with the hailstone. He gave their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to the thunderbolts. He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, indignation and wrath, and vexation by the sending out of evil angels. He made a way to his anger: he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life to the pestilence, And smote all the firstborn in Egypt, even the beginning of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham. But he made his people to go out like sheep, and let them in the wilderness like a flock. Psalm 78:30–52