Summary: A responsible earthly father exhibits the characteristics and traits of fatherhood as set forth in the Word of the Heavenly Father.
Text: “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives” (Exodus 20:12).
There are only two people I know about who did not have an earthly father and mother. Those people were Adam and Eve. Each one of us was brought into this world through the efforts of an earthly father and mother. Those of us who are parents know about the amazing miracle of birth.
We also know about the trials, tribulations, and sometimes the heartaches of raising those children we had the privilege of bringing into this world. Children in the same family are different in many respects. Some are willing to follow in the footsteps of their Godly parents, but some are rebellious and choose to follow the ways of the world.
Some children are kind, considerate, and respectful while others are mean, inconsiderate, and disrespectful. There are those children who want everything their way regardless of right or wrong. Material possessions are a major goal with many young people.
It takes strong Godly parents to raise children. Scripture tells us that “The husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23).
This verse of Scripture is not to be misinterpreted. In other words, man is not better than woman and man is not on a higher level than woman; instead, they are equal. Man has the responsibility of providing leadership in the home just as God provides leadership for the church. Man’s or dad’s or father’s leadership must be in the same spirit, same devotion, same attitude as that exhibited by Christ when He walked upon the surface of the earth.
As we search through the Scripture, we find that Jesus exhibited many fatherly traits or characteristics. Jesus was obedient, trusting, responsible, prayerful, promise keeper, loving, compassionate, faithful, understanding, sharing, leader, and a savior. A good earthly father will follow in the footsteps of a good leader, that leader being non-other than our Lord.
In our Scripture reading, we find a father who is obedient to God and to the Jewish Law. This father had two sons and the younger son wanted to be independent and venture out into the world to live life as he pleased. Most fathers agree that young people think they know more about life than they really do. A good father hates to see one of his children make a bad choice and then have to suffer the consequences.
According to Jewish Law, a father’s estate was to be divided after the death of the father, but the father had the option of dividing his estate before his death. The younger son in this illustration said to the father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me” (v. 12).
This younger son wanted to be independent. He wanted to go out into the world and live the way of the world. He thought he knew more about life than his father and with his part of the estate, life would be wonderful, exciting, and rewarding. The younger son received one-third of the estate while the older son received two-thirds.
The younger son left home and went out into the world to enjoy what he thought was a good life while the older son stayed at home and was faithful, obedient, and continued to work in the fields for his father.
This father was obedient and trusting. He was obedient to God and to the Jewish Law and he trusted that the younger son was in good hands, because God, the Father, would offer him safety and protection.
Another father in Scripture who was obedient and trusting was Abraham. Abraham was married to Sarah, but for some reason, Sarah was never able to have children. Then one day the Lord appeared to Abraham and said to him, “Sarah your wife shall have a son” (Genesis 18: 10).
Abraham had been obedient to God and trusted God throughout his life, so he had no reason not believe that God would make it possible for Sarah to have a child. Scripture tells us, “For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him” (Genesis 21:2). This son’s name was Isaac.
Some years later, God spoke to Abraham and said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2). Abraham did just this, but when the time came for him to sacrifice his son God intervened.
God said to Abraham, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him for now I know that you fear God, and since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12). God was testing Abraham’s faith. Abraham was willing to give all that he had to God. Abraham knew that as a parent his son really belonged to God. As a responsible father, Abraham was willing to return to God the life God entrusted to him.