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Be Obedient



Scripture: Proverb 1:8, 6:20–22; Luke 2:41–49, 52; Ephesians 6:1–3; Colossians 3:20

Memory verse: Proverbs 1:8
"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching."


You will need a plastic bottle, water, and a large pan. Make a small hole near the bottom of the bottle. Hold your finger over the hole as you fill the bottle with water. Then screw the cap on. No water should come out until you remove the cap. When doing this experiment, hold the bottle over the pan.

Ask the students why water does not leak out of the hole when the bottle is capped. Then tell them that when the container is capped, the pressure inside the bottle remains the same as the pressure outside, so nothing can come in or go out. Surface tension at the hole created by the outside pressure presses against the water and holds it in.

Ask if they know what will happen when the cap is unscrewed. Explain that when the top is opened, water is heavier than air, so the water will go out the bottom. Gravity will pull the water down and then suck air in at the top to maintain equal pressure inside and outside the bottle.

Tell the class that the plastic bottle might represent us. The water inside is like our witness to others. The way we treat our families is important for our Christian witness. A person may be friendly and respectful to friends and those in authority at church and school, but if he does not obey his parents and does not honour them in front of others, that person’s witness for Jesus lessens. His disobedience to his parents shows disobedience to God. Just like gravity pulls down the water in the bottle and begins to empty it, the sin of disobedience will take away that person’s ability to show what it means to be a true Christian. (Hold the container up and let most of the water flow out.) However, if a person obeys his parents, God will help his attitude and actions be pleasing both to God and his parents. Then his witness will be strong again. (Cover the top opening so the water stops.)

Hearing God’s Word

Ask: “How do you respond when your parents ask you to do things you do not want to do or things you think are not important?” (Allow discussion.)

Whatever the situation may be, it is important that Christian youth obey their parents. God reminds us of this several times in His Word.

Importance of Obedience

Ephesians 6:1–3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honour your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’”

Ask: “What does it mean to ‘obey your parents in the Lord’ and ‘honour your father and mother’?” (Allow responses.)

To “obey your parents in the Lord” means that, as Christians, we are to follow the guidance of our parents because God has placed them in authority over us. Honouring them means to show respect toward them. Obeying and honouring our parents is so important that God promises we will have longer, better lives if we do.

As youth, you are growing and learning to be obedient. Sometimes you will be tempted to disobey. Consider this situation: You want to do something, but your mother says no. Later, when you ask your father the same question and he says it is OK.

Ask: “What should you do? Is it all right to do it since your father said yes?” (Allow responses.)

First of all, that type of action is unfair. Your parents have not been able to discuss the situation together and reach an agreement. If they are not in agreement, you should not take advantage of the situation to do what you want. You should all discuss together why you should or should not be allowed to do something. Try not to become defensive, but listen patiently to what your parents say. If an answer is given to you that you do not agree with, ask God to help you obey anyway. Remember, it is God’s will for you to obey your parents. Do not let disagreements ruin your family relationships.

When you obey your parents, family relationships are strengthened. Your parents will trust you because they have confidence you will do what they expect of you.

Honouring Non-Christian Parents

Ask: “What do you do if your parents are not Christians and they say you cannot go to Bible Study or church?” Should you go anyway since you are a Christian?” (Allow responses.)

Explain to your parents that you want to go to church or Bible Study because you love God. You want to obey Him and worship with others who love Him. Perhaps you and your parents can come to an agreement about the situation.

You will need to be careful that your behaviour shows obedience and honour toward your parents in all areas that do not break God’s commands. Help them see that God is real and important to you and that He is making a difference in your life. Your parents may soften as you pray for them and show them a loving, Christ-like attitude. It may be a long time before you see a change in their lives, but do not give up. God will help you be a witness to your parents.

Even when you are given the privilege to go to church or Bible study, remember to treat your parents with love and respect. For instance, your mother may ask you to stay home with a sick brother or sister at the same time that church starts. It is always important to show Jesus’ love in all things. Obedience is one of the best ways to do this. Colossians 3:20 refers to this.

The only time obedience to parents is not pleasing to God is if your parents have asked you to do something that is illegal or a sin. If your parents want you to do something that is harmful to you or to someone else or it clearly goes again God’s Word, explain to them that you love and respect them but feel it is wrong to do that thing. If they become abusive, talk to someone you can trust—a teacher, pastor, or counsellor.

In all other cases, obedience pleases God. His Word tells us when we obey, we will have favour with God and man. Our obedience shows we can be trusted to do what we should.

Jesus Obeys His Parents

The Bible tells us of a time in Jesus’ life when He had to make a decision to obey His parents. When Jesus was 12 years old, He and His family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival. When it was over, His parents headed back to Nazareth. Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. There were so many people travelling that at first Jesus’ parents did not realise He was not with the group. When they discovered He was missing, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him.

After 3 days, Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus at the temple. He was listening to the teachers and asking them questions. When they asked Jesus why He had stayed, Jesus said, “Do you not know that I am to be about My Father’s business?” He was speaking about God, His Heavenly Father.

Jesus was only 12 years old, but at this point He had to decide if He would stay in the temple for a while longer discussing questions with the priests or obey His parents and return with them to Nazareth. The Bible tells us Jesus obeyed His parents and was subject to them. This means He did as He was instructed. The result of this can be found in Luke 2:52. (Ask a student to read this verse.)

Jesus is a good example to us. Although Jesus is the Son of God, He still honoured and obeyed His earthly parents.

Obedience Brings Protection

Another reason for children to be under their parents’ authority is for their protection. (Ask a student to read Proverbs 6:20–23.) This explains that when you obey your parents’ instructions, which are often for your own protection, you can avoid suffering or experiencing things that could harm you. (Allow the students to give examples of instructions their parents have given them concerning health or safety.)

Matthew 7:9–11 describes the natural love a parent has for a child. (Read the passage to the class.) Parents know what their child needs and makes rules and decisions based on their sincere love for that child. Most parents would not give a child something that would hurt them or make rules that do not serve a purpose. God has given us parents to guide and correct us in love.

There are two ways to learn—the easy way or the hard way. For example, the easy way to learn about fire is to listen to parents’ warnings that fire can hurt you. They probably began teaching you that when you were very young, before you had the chance to get too near a flame. If you learned the hard way, you probably discovered this truth by ignoring your parents’ instructions and getting burned as a result.

Accepting God’s Word

Listening to your parents’ advice makes your life much safer. They often know and understand things you do not. They have learned a lot of things by experience and can share them with you. When your parents discipline you, remember that they love you. They do not want you to get hurt or make a mistake.

When you memorize or place something in your heart, you will always have it with you. In a similar way, when your parents tell you the right, safe way to live, you need to make every effort to remember their instructions and to obey them.

Resettled Nomads

Villages along the road from Agordat to Kieru are primarily Tigre. The fertile Barak River farmland provides people with ample food for their families. Before reaching Kieru, we found a large settlement of about 3,000 people living at Algheden, the Dige sub-region headquarters. The resettlement of nomadic peoples has been a major government project.

Algheden provides training for new farmers along with schools and clinics. It appears that more than 50 percent of the area’s nomadic peoples have taken advantage of this opportunity. It is definitely a changing society.

Tigre Prayer

Heavenly Father, as Your child I come with a request. I know that You can provide for me far better than my earthly father, for the resources of the world are at Your disposal.

My request is for a strong indigenous church to be established among the Tigre as many are born again and filled with Your Spirit. Let Your kingdom reign in their hearts as they submit their lives into Your care.

May those new believers learn to pray, “Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” Let them experience the provision of a loving Heavenly Father for their spiritual and physical needs. Help them daily to live a victorious Christian life.

I know this is possible, for You are God above all other gods and Your power is far superior to the kingdoms of men. Into Your hands I commit the Tigre and believe that a great ingathering of souls will occur.

For Your glory and the good of the Tigre people, I offer this prayer. Amen.


Memory verse: Proverbs 1:8
"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching."

1. My parents gave me physical life.
2. Jesus gave me spiritual life.
3. I will give Jesus and my parents the gift of obedience.

Pray for Tigre migrants to meet a true believer in Christ.

Study 5 | Migrants—Proverbs | africaatts.org/go-teach

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