GOD AS A FATHER
The Christ taught His disciples to pray, saying, “When you pray, say, Our Father in heaven . . .” (Luke 11:2). God the Father is both “our Father” (the spiritual Father of Christians) and “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:2,3).
As a Father, what does God do for His children? How does He treat them? What lessons can we learn?
God loves His children. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). Our great God cares about us. All children need to have a sense of security, being assured that their biological father loves them unconditionally and permanently. That is the way that God loves His children, and earthly fathers need to imitate that kind of love.
God wants what is best for His children. Of course He does, because He loves them. The Lord told Israel, “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you . . .” (Deuteronomy 6:18). That was a statement for the Israelites who were preparing to enter the land of Canaan, but we can see this basic truth: God wanted things to “be well with” His children. What is the best thing that can happen to a person? To be saved, of course. Because God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), we know that He wants His children to be saved. Wise, caring earthly fathers definitely want their kids to be saved.
God provides for His children. When Jesus taught His disciples not to worry, He reminded them, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26). Good earthly fathers take care of their children, too (1 Timothy 5:8).
God is committed to His children, promising them, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Some earthly fathers do not have such a high-level of commitment to their kids, putting their own personal desires above the needs of their children. Such fathers need to make a change.
God communicates with His children. Today He does that through the Bible’s message (2 Thessalonians 2:14). In some modern-day families, there is a lack of communication between fathers and children. This leads to disaster. Let all earthly fathers learn from the Father of spirits and take the initiative to communicate with their kids.
God expects His children to respect Him. “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts . . .” (Malachi 1:6). Our heavenly Father wants us to live our lives “as obedient children” (1 Peter 1:14). Earthly fathers long for such reverence and submission from their kids, too, and it is up to the fathers to train their children to show respect for others, especially their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3).
God disciplines His children. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5,6). In the Bible, we read about God teaching His children to make right choices: such education includes commands, explanations, and warnings. We might call that God’s preventative discipline. We read of God verbally rebuking His children who sinned. In others instances, God disciplined His rebellious children with painful punishment. At others times, we see Him withholding blessings as the means of trying to persuade His children to do what was right (Amos 4:6-11). Fathers who truly love their kids will be like the God of heaven and discipline them, using appropriate disciplinary measures to try and help their children make the proper decisions.
God teaches His children the truth. Godly fathers do that today, bringing up their kids “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). When God teaches His children, He knows that in the end, they must make their own decisions in life. And when they do, He is not responsible for what they choose. God said this about the Israelites: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me” (Isaiah 1:2).
God is crushed when His children go astray. When the Jews of Ezekiel’s day departed from Jehovah and refused to repent, He proclaimed, “. . . because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me . . .” (Ezekiel 6:9). The hearts of righteous fathers are devastated also when they see their own kids leave the truth.
How blessed Christians are to have a wonderful heavenly Father. Earthly fathers need to learn from Him and imitate how He deals with His children.
— Roger D. Campbell