Honour is not a word that is used much in western society but it is a powerful word and weapon in the Bible. Honour in the Oxford dictionary means high respect and great esteem. It is a word that is not limited to people we don’t know but can also be for people we know personally.
The reason that we want to forget about the word is that in the Bible in 1 Peter 3:1, it tells us to honour all people and more specifically to honour the King. Some countries don’t have kings but the word implies to hold in great esteem those that run our countries. Now that’s why we don’t like the word -we think if we honour our leaders, we have to agree with every decision they make. Honour does not equal agreement; honour actually equals respect. Let’s look at a story in the Bible that demonstrates honour.
The story is found in Numbers 12 verses 1 to 16. The story contains three people and God. Those three people are well known to each other and are related – in fact they are two brothers and one sister. We wouldn’t expect to see a story about honour in that context but that’s what makes this story so powerful.
Miriam and Aaron decided to speak against their brother Moses because of who he had married. Now it wasn’t really about this but more along the lines of how can God favour Moses when he hasn’t married someone who is an Israelite. We know that from reading verse 2. It states that they said has God spoken only through Moses and has He not spoken through us too. In other words, why is Moses so important – God can speak to and through us – we are family.
You see they had become too familiar withMoses’ role as brother that they forget his role or calling in God was to lead the Israelites into the Promised land ( I know that wasn’t the initial reason – it was to go and sacrifice to God). God was upset with Aaron and Miriam because familiarity had overtaken honour. God stated in verses 6 to 8 that Moses was God’s servant. Moses’ calling came from God and honour needs to be given to those called by God who have been appointed by God.
What was the result of dishonouring Moses? Miriam had leprosy and had to be put out of the camp for seven days. Aaron seemingly escapes punishment but recognises that both of them have sinned and seeks forgiveness.
What I find interesting is that Moses then didn’t walk off high and mighty because they had to honour him – no his first concern was praying that Miriam would be healed. Miriam was healed but because of her disobedience was shamed and shut out of the camp for seven days.
God takes the dishonour of our leaders very seriously. We should not speak out against their position of leadership but recognise that God appoints leaders and brings down leaders. If we speak against the persons position, we are speaking against God.
What should we do if we disagree? Pray for them that God would give them His wisdom and that they would come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord( if they don’t already).
Why is honour a weapon? The first thing is that it is the will of God and we will be blessed. The second thing is that if we pray for them, we will get to live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and reverence. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God (1 Timothy 1:8).
This week let us honour our leaders and pray for them. If we mess up, seek forgiveness and move on. This is one way to keep living the life God intended for you.