Summary: Dads will find their wisest counsel for fatherhood from the way God Father’s humanity.
Deuteronomy 10: 17-18 For the LORD your God …defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.
Deuteronomy 24: 19-21 When you are harvesting in your field…when you beat the olives from your trees…when you harvest the grapes in your vineyard…leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow.
Deuteronomy 26: 12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
Deuteronomy 27: 19 "Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"
God made provisions so that widows and other who needed to be defended WOULD be cared for. Even the tithe…even the tithe was intended to be given to, among others, the fatherless and the widows.
So God defends the cause of the fatherless through His law…and His law conveys what He values, what He protects. What he expects to be honoured among His people. The law of God represents God’s concern for you and for I.
And God sets the lonely in families. He cares for those who are on their own, He empathizes with the isolated and those who are cut off from others. Hmm.
This is an aside, but for years it’s been my desire to see us as a church learn to embrace those who are isolated and alone. You know, we do that in many ways.
Pastor Jan is on vacation today but a lot of what she does with her time is to connect with people in prison. She visits inmates at the women’s prisons and she connects with those who are getting out of jail and helps them to reconnect with healthy supports, perhaps new ‘families’.
Ruth Grimes visits people and helps them. There are others, I’m sure, of you who spend your energies in such ways…I perhaps just don’t hear about it. And if you do, I applaud you.
Whether you know it or not, you are acting as God’s hands and feet, God’s listening ear as you befriend and care for the lonely. You are letting God love others through you.
And because you are doing this, you know that you are richer for it, your faith is stronger for it, your joy is more complete because you enter into the lives of others in order to be a blessing.
One other profound passage about God as Father is found in the story we know as that of the Prodigal Son. I’ve always said that, no matter how much we can easily relate to the son in that story, see ourselves in his actions, the teaching point of this passage is about God, who in the story is the prodigal’s father.
Luke 15:11-24 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ’Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. "When he came to his senses, he said, ’How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. "The son said to him, ’Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ "But the father said to his servants, ’Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.