Summary: What do we dads for? In a society that regards fatherhood as irrelevant, why would God believe in fathers?
OPEN: Have you ever noticed how little children pepper you with questions? I read the story once about a little four-year-old who did that to his mom.
"Mommy, where do babies come from?
Not quite sure she wanted to get technical with her son just now, she replied: "The stork."
“Oh, ok. (pause) Mommy, who keeps bad people from robbing our house?"
"The police, honey."
“Oh, ok. (pause) Mommy, if our house was on fire, who would save us?"
"That would be the fire department, sweetheart."
“Oh, ok. (pause) Mommy, where does food come from?"
"Well, Farmers grow the food honey."
“Oh, ok. (pause) Mommy?"
"Yes, sweetheart – what is it now?"
"What do we need Daddy for?"
APPLY: That little boy’s Dad wasn’t necessary to help making babies.
And his Dad wasn’t needed to keep bad people from robbing their house
And he wasn’t needed to save them from fire.
And he wasn’t needed to supply food.
So the question remained: if daddy wasn’t necessary for those things – what good was he?
That’s become the overall attitude of our society.
Men in general, and dads in particular, are considered irrelevant .
Years ago there was a bumper sticker that said:
"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."
A couple of years ago Jennifer Anniston, the 42 yr old actress from popular sitcom, Friends, made the statement that fathers were often inconvenient and when it came to child rearing they could be quite optional.
In the entertainment industry, we’ve gone from “Father Knows Best” … to Daddy’s an idiot. Sitcoms, Movies and even Cartoons portray fathers as mindless, humorous, and even stupid.
But Proverbs paints an entirely different picture of Fathers.
Now granted, the writer of Proverbs is a FATHER writing to his son. But this Father was not just any Father – He was a man inspired by the Holy Spirit to give us God’s Wisdom. And God’s wisdom throughout Proverbs about Fathers is this:
“…keep your father‘s commands...” Proverbs 6:20
“Listen to your father, who gave you life...” Proverbs 23:22
“A wise son heeds his father‘s instruction…” Proverbs 13:1
“Listen, my sons, to a father‘s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.” Proverbs 4:1
And, of course, our passage this morning: “When I was a boy in my father‘s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.” Proverbs 4:3-5
In that passage alone, God loudly declared that fathers are critical.
Throughout Proverbs God teaches each and every son and daughter: listen to your Dad. Your dad has things to tell you. He has things that you need to hear!
Now why would God tell children to do this? Why command them to pay attention to their dads? Well, because the tendency – especially of teenagers – is to believe that their Dads don’t know anything!
ILLUS: Mark Twain famously said:
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in 7 years.”
Recent research indicates that Dads are a vital resource for their children.
1. This first is an extremely encouraging piece of information, but it also is one that needs a little explanation: Research indicates that the best fathers are the biological ones. That’s one of the reasons that God hates divorce, it puts step-fathers in a very difficult position. They generally aren’t as equipped to supply what the kids need.
However, as much as I appreciate statistics, and as difficult it is for Step-fathers to “step in” and shape their children’s lives, the one thing statistics often don’t take into account is the power of God to fix what is broken in people’s lives. A biological father IS the best father for child. But a step-father who heeds the things I’m going to tell you today will have God’s power to undo the damage that not having the biological father in the picture can create.
2. Sons learn about male responsibility, achievement, suitable assertiveness, and independence best from their fathers.
3. Daughters who enjoy their fathers, experience a healthier femininity. They feel worthy of love, and they’re more able to trust the men they marry.
4. Fathers protect their daughters from abuse, protect their sons from violence, protect their wives from rape and assault, and protect their neighborhoods from intrusion and disorder.
5. Fathers provide stimulating and exciting "rough and tumble" play, but within limits. Children learn that biting and kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable. They learn when enough is enough.