When Moses repeats the law to the children of Israel as they were about to enter into the promised land, he again points out God’s instructions for a long and prosperous life. It’s intimately tied in to the stability of the family unit. So both in Exodus and Deuteronomy the responsibility for honoring parents is emphasized as well as the results. But Deuteronomy adds yet another reward. It says, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

Deuteronomy is not just a blanket reiteration of the law already recorded in Exodus, but it’s an urgent appeal for God’s people to be obedient to it for their own sakes. In Deuteronomy 4:40, we read a similar statement regarding the whole moral law of God. It says, “Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”

Living God’s way is to live the “far better life.” These verses do not promise us a specific number of years, or a specific thing we might want, or any other specific thing we might want to call to God for from our human interests. Rather, they offer us a way to live a satisfying and meaningful life in this present world. There are still many injustices and much suffering in this world, but we must leave them with God and live the way He calls us to live. The instructions God has given us reveals to us that God intends us to live with the welfare of others foremost in our minds. When we put God first and serve others our lives become meaningful and joyful. Indeed, we can live a far better life. In contrast, as Thomas Merton once said, “To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.”

“He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.” 2 Cor 5:15 (TM)