“Our Father… (Matthew 6:9).” Those are the opening words of the exemplary prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. It expresses the relationship between a genuine believer and our eternal Creator. We do not approach a stranger or someone who is disinterested in us. No one will ever care more for us than our God. Yet, modern culture has essentially stripped the concept of fatherhood of any significant meaning. The consequences are evident.
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:7).” One of the unfortunate consequences of the breakdown of the family is the loss of the fundamental concept of authority and submission. That is a lesson initially taught at home. Example is a great teacher and a marriage based on biblical principles will educate a child in ways that nothing else will. Without such a foundation, the Fatherhood of God is distorted. He is the potter. We are not. We are the product of His hands. The influence of a father never ends, not even at death. Our view of God will be influenced by our human dad.
He is a role model. We find ourselves morphing into our parents whether we intend to or not. Their words come out of our mouths. Their thoughts fill our brains. Their interests become ours. That makes a father’s example extraordinarily important as his habits are passed on to the next generation. There are exceptions. Cain and Abel grew up in the exact same environment and we know the outcome of their story. Unfortunately, we do not know anything of Adam’s parenting skills. Still, fathers will generally have a great deal to do with a child’s development.
Scripture puts a special responsibility on fathers (Ephesians 6:4). He is the spiritual leader of the family, and it falls to him to instruct the children in the ways of the Lord. This must be done in a realistic and compassionate manner that does not dishearten the child (Colossians 3:21). His influence will extend far beyond his lifetime as he teaches and shows respect for the Lord and His word (Psalm 78:5-8). Being a dad is an important job.
Joshua was God’s chosen man to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. His commitment was unquestioned (Numbers 32:12), and he was a successful leader of the Lord’s nation. Yet, he failed in one regard. He did not prepare the next generation (Judges 2:10), and that began a downward spiral that became an oft-repeated pattern. A father’s impact will reverberate far beyond their lifetime.
We have no choice about our earthly father. They are good and bad, but men do have a choice about what kind of father to be. Be a good one. Our heavenly Father is the best. Learn from Him, and have a Happy Father’s Day.