God has roles He can be powerful (Gen. 18:14; Mt.19:26), mysterious (Is. 55:8-9), righteous (Ps. 11:7), and Infinite (Ps. 90:1-2; Dt. 33:27); simply put, those roles may make Him appear as Someone who is difficult for us to “know”. But Scripture also makes it clear He fills a more endearing and fully understandable role as “Our Father”. Like an earthly father, the Heavenly Father provides for His children, nurtures and corrects them (Prov. 3:11-12) and loves them (Hos. 11:1). This aspect of God’s character is seen throughout the Old Testament in His relationship with Israel (Ps. 103:13; Is. 64:8; Jer. 31:8). Moses called the Lord a “loving Father” (Dt. 1:31: 32:6) and David acknowledged God in the same way (1 Chron. 29L10). Isaiah notes that God’s greatest act of His fatherly love was Israel’s redemption (Is. 63:7-9).
In the New Testament that relationship expands to include every believer. God’s love for His entire creation is demonstrated through the sacrificial death of Jesus (Jn. 3:16-17; Rom. 5:8). He continues to demonstrate His fatherly love to all believers in the same fashion He demonstrated His love to Israel. He teaches and guides us by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16: 7, 12-15). He provides for our basic needs (Mt. 6:25-33). He disciplines us when necessary (Heb. 12:6-11). Most earthly fathers take pleasure in giving good things to their children. It is no different with our Heavenly Father (Mt. 7:9-12). We have immediate access to Him at any time (Eph. 2:18). Our relationship with the Heavenly Father is not one that is removed and distant. Instead it is endearing and intimate (Rom. 8:15) and it brings peace (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 1:2).
The most outstanding aspect of God’s role as our Father though is His love for us simply because He is love (1 Jn. 4:7-8) and it is that love which enabled Jesus to endure the cross on our behalf (Jn. 13:1; 17:25-26; Heb. 12:1-2). Through Christ we have entered into an intimate relationship with God as part of His family (Rom. 8:14-16; Eph. 5:1-2; 1 Jn. 3:1-2). Jesus commanded His disciples to begin their prayer with “Our Father” (Mt. 6:9). He encourages us to rely completely on our Heavenly Father just as we would an earthly Father and while some earthly fathers may not be that “good”, the Heavenly Father is good (Ps. 25:8; 34:8; 100:5; 135:3; 136:1; Mk. 10:18; Lk. 18:19) and He can be counted on in any and all circumstances (Mt. 6:31-33).
Many of you, like me, have been blessed with incredible fathers. We have seen them demonstrate self-sacrifice, patience, steadfastness, and love throughout our lifetime. I would sometimes ask myself if I was doing enough to let my father know how much I appreciated him. As my father’s days were drawing to a close, I wanted to tell him just how grateful I was to have had him as my father. It was not easy to say those words as they truly meant “goodbye”, but I am so glad that I did. One thing that I wanted to make perfectly clear to him was that much of what I knew about God the Father was because of the way Dad demonstrated Him to me. Some of you may not have had that kind of Father, but don’t lose heart. Jesus has told us that if we want to know the Father, all we have to do is look at Him (Jn. 1:18; 14:7-10). When we see Jesus’ love for us, we are also seeing the Father’s love for us. So while your earthly father may not have been the best of fathers, your Heavenly Father is!
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
Week of 6/18/2017