It’s so sad today, what is happening in this world. So many fatherless fathers, and fatherless sons. How is it so easy to walk away from your own flesh and blood? How is it so easy to walk away from boys and young men when they are so desperate for help. What do they need? Love. The love of a father. How many young men never receive God’s offer because they can’t fathom a father wanting them? How many can not relate because all they ever had was a harsh father? So very sad.
When kids are growing up, we teach them all the rules for them, even in our churches we teach them. Honor your mother and father. Obey your mother and father. What if we taught them what it means to be a mother and a father? After all, aren’t they destined to be one of those a lot longer than they are a little child? Not that we stop honoring our parents at any specific age, but regardless, we will be in a relationship as a mother or a father which means at some point carrying the burden of the relationship.
What is a father supposed to do? What does the Bible teach the fathers? Besides all the scriptures referencing God our father, let’s look at the scriptures addressing earthly fathers.
I think God wants to restore fathers and sons. In Luke 1:7 we see these words, “he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.” I found the phrase “restore fathers and sons,” so very interesting. So I dug into it. I found commentaries that said it was a “marked the care of the fathers for the salvation of their children.” And “The effect of true religion on a family will always be to produce harmony. It attaches all the family to “one” great Master, and by attachment to him all minor causes of difference are forgotten.” And “to restore harmony to the broken and disturbed family life of Israel, whereas now the home life of the chosen race was split up.” All these sound like God cares about the father/son relationship, don’t you think so?
In Luke 11:11, we see we can ask, God wants us to ask. And He uses the heart of the father to demonstrate how we can ask, and how we can receive. A father wants to care for their children. They want to provide for them. It is in their nature to protect them, so they would not do them harm or disappoint them in situtions when what they are asking for is appropriate and grantable.
Funny how this would lead us right to Luke 15 where we read about the prodical son. Can you even image a son coming to his father today and saying, “Give me my inheritance now.” Some sons can’t even get a few bucks out of their dad, let alone their inheritance. Don’t you find it interesting how the father just gives the son what he asks for? I don’t think I would. I’d give him a nice long speach, but I don’t think I’d give him the inheritance, would you? And then, when the kid comes home, he doesn’t say I told you so, which I’m sure I would get around to saying. And then, he throws a party! This kid has been disrespectful, ungrateful, and irresponsible.But you know what else I notice, he COULD come home. The kid, somewhere inside, knew he could go home. So sad today, we have so many kids who do not even have that option. Forgiveness, that is what this teaches. Let the kids learn the hard way and when they wise up, let them come home.
Now we see a direct exhortation to fathers in Ephesians 6:4. It tells fathers not to “provoke” their children. Interestingly enough, this same word is translated as “anger” in Eph 4:26. One commentary says, “It denotes the exasperation produced by arbitrary and unsympathetic rule.” Another says, “Be not impatient; use no unreasonable severities. Deal prudently and wisely with children; convince their judgements and work upon their reason.”
It also tells them how – by nuturing and admonition. What does that mean? Nurture means “training of a child;” hence education, instruction, discipline. Admonotion means literally, “a putting in mind,” then warning, admonition, instruction. This is followed by clarification that both are to be “of the Lord,” such as he inspires and approves. That would require some serious Bible study and meeting with the Lord daily. It isn’t about our own personal preferences as parents, it’s about the Lords. Boy is that a tall order or what!?
We again see the word anger with father in Collossians 3:21. Here it says don’t provoke them lest they become discouraged. One commentary puts it this way, “What is forbidden is a constant and restless stimulation, “spurring the willing horse;” which will end in failure and despondency.” So basically, if they are trying, don’t kick them again! Another says, “irritate by exacting commands and perpetual faultfinding and interference for interference, sake. The consequence of such foolish exercise of authority is that the child becomes discouraged; in other words, his spirit is broken, and since what he does leads to constant blame, he loses hope of ever being able to please. How often we see this kind of parenting today.
1 Thes gives a little more light to this in 2:11. Paul says they are exhorting, comforting, and charging as a father would. This means this might be a good chapter for a father to read, to see how that is done. One commentary says, “It was not done in a harsh, dictatorial, and arbitrary manner, but in tenderness and love.” These three words imply getting someone to do something willingly, joyfully, and with awe. Another commentary says, “exhorting” denotes also encouraging and consoling; “comforting” denotes supporting and sustaining and “charging” denotes testifying or protesting – a solemn pressing home of the exhortation to the hearers.
In Hebrews 12 we see how the way God deals with us is the same as an earthly father should. And if we are corrected, then it is because we are his children. Makes for a good prompting to take a look at how God deals with us a children in order to get a great picture of how father’s should be, doesn’t it?
As a father, will you? Will you do it God’s way or your way? That is the real question. I find it even more interesting how so few men want to step into that father role. Take note here, Joseph was Jesus’ STEP-father, and he didn’t run from that role. And if we want to look at it in earthly ways, God isn’t our biological father either. So what exactly does the blood running through those young men’s veins mean? You know, you don’t even have to be married to their mother. If they need a father figure, step up to it. The don’t have to call you father. Truthfully, who calls their father, father anyway? Let’s face it, what these young men in is a Dude Around Daily – they need a DAD!
So, what about you dad? What are you going to do?