Summary: Understanding the Fatherhood of God clarifies and brings healing to all our other relationships
The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which of them should have the present. "Who is the most obedient?" he asked. "Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?" Five small voices answered in unison. "Okay, dad, you get the toy."
Fathers. Fathering. The Fathered. The Fatherless. God our Father.
When you spend much time at all in the Bible, pretty quickly you encounter the idea of fatherhood, particularly the Fatherhood of God. For some that’s a good thing. It opens doors to really understanding who God is and who we are.
For others, it’s something we can trip over and struggle with. Fatherhood as it relates to God is one thing. As it relates to humans, it’s a mixed thing. Some of us have been hurt by our fathers.
Some of our fathers truly failed us - sometimes profoundly. Some of our fathers never figured much out in life, so they were a problem to themselves and, unavoidably, a problem to their children.
For all of us, fatherhood is something that God wants to redeem in our lives. Like every area of human existence, fatherhood needs to be redeemed.
My parents had 4 kids. They meant to have 3, but then there was an ‘Oops!’. I am the ‘Oops!’, I’m proud to say. I’m proud to say it because human ‘Ooopses’ are God’s on-purposes, God’s “that’s how the person I wanted to be here got heres-ses”. I’m sounding a bit like a Tolkien character. Let’s move on.
I’m sure that at least some of us here today, when we think about our dads, are pretty aware of the hurt that we’ve experienced or still experience in relations to our dads. Our idea of father, of fathering, needs to healed. Fixed. Redeemed.
And our understanding of the Fatherhood of God needs to be strengthened because, I believe, it is the key to all of our relationships.
It moves me that Jesus really cared about you and I coming to understand who God really is.
Most of what Jesus talked about had something to do with revealing God’s character - His love, His justice, His righteousness, the things He values, the things He loves. At one point, the disciples, who were people who prayed and who, being good Jews, knew how to address God, nevertheless asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
It was a key moment. It was a chance to raise the bar. It was a chance to add insight and enrich their understanding. They asked because they were ready to know. People who teach love these moments. As some of you know I’m a jazz musician and I’ve got a good background in music theory. When someone I know who is already a good musician with a good understanding of theory, asks me a question about music theory, or the intricacies of how music works , it’s exciting because I know the person is ready, willing and able to go a lot deeper in their understanding of music. It’s a truly teachable moment. This was a teachable moment for Jesus, and so, speaking to people knowledgeable about prayer, He began by revealing not how to pray, but to Whom they prayed. And how did He begin?