14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
16 Then the people answered, "Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!
17 It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled.
18 And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God."
THE IDEA FOR CREATING A DAY for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Her father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died.
A GOOD FATHER IN ONE OF THE MOST UNSUNG, UNPRAISED, UNNOTICED, AND UNAPPRECIATED HEROES IN ALL HUMANITY.
One time a little boy was asked to define Father’s Day and he said, “Its just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much on the present.”
The greatest number of long distance phone calls are made on Mother’s Day; the largest number of collect calls are made on Father’s Day!
DAD’S FAVORITE SAYINGS:
Go ask your mother!
Just wait ‘till I get home!
When I was your age…
I used to walk to school in the snow!
I’m busy right now.
I came across this prayer the other day, which I thought you would appreciate:
Mender of toys, leader of boys,
Changer of fuses, kisser of bruises,
Bless him, O Lord.
Mover of couches, soother of ouches,
Ponder of nails, teller of tales,
Reward him, O Lord.
Hanger of screens, counselor of teens,
Fixer of bikes, chastiser of tykes,
Help him, O Lord.
Raker of leaves, cleaner of eaves,
Dryer of dishes, fulfiller of wishes,
Bless him, O Lord.
WE COULD GO TO MANY PLACES IN THE BIBLE for an example of a godly father. One such is without a doubt, JOSHUA.
At the age of 110, he summoned the leaders of Israel to Shechem for a farewell address. He charged them to obey the Lord who had fought for them and given them an inheritance. He warned them of the danger of apostasy, saying, “Choose you this day whom you will serve….”
He chose the perfect setting, because Shechem was alive with sacred memories:
25 years earlier, a tremendous dedication service had taken place here
As Joshua spoke, he did so with authority of experience, for he had walked with Moses for 40 years and led Israel into the conquest of Canaan for another 25 years.
He reinforced his appeal with the POWER of a GOOD EXAMPLE. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
There are lot of things we could say about Joshua, but for the sake of time I want to mention just two—two qualities that he possessed that all fathers would do well to emulate.
I. Priest of the Home
A. He acknowledged his responsibility for the spiritual life of his family. He spoke for his family; he declared their intent.
(1) A priest cannot function unless he is in close contact with God.
(2) According to the Bible, the family was designed to be the basic educational unit (Deut. 6:6-9; 11:18; Eph.6:4).
It is the father’s duty, then, to make sure his children know how to be saved and how to walk in the ways of the Lord.
(3) The greatest thing a father can pass on to his children is the
love of God. We all know that love begets love. In chapter 3, verse 11, Joshua urges Israel to make love of God their special aim. I remember a little fellow, frightened by lightning and thunder, who called out one dark night, "Daddy, come. I’m scared." "Son," the father said, "God loves you and he’ll take care of you." "I know God loves me," the boy replied. "But right now I want somebody who has skin on." If I were starting my family again, that is what I would want to be above all else - God’s love with skin on
(4) Joshua, the warrior has become a man of peace. It brings to
Mind the scene on the seashore one day when the Lord looked at Peter and said, “Simon, do you love me more than anything?” If we would give love we must first receive it. And if we are to pass it on to our children and grandchildren, we must first absorb it.
B. The family will usually follow the parent, especially the father.
Someone has said, “A boy loves his mother, but will follow his father."
Some months ago I heard a touching story about a humble, consecrated pastor whose young son had become very ill. After the boy had undergone an exhaustive series of tests, the father was told the shocking news that his son had a terminal illness. The youngster had accepted Christ as his Savior, so the minister knew that death would usher him into Glory; but he wondered how to inform one in the bloom of youth that he soon would die. After earnestly seeking the direction of the Holy Spirit, he went with a heavy heart through the hospital ward to the boy’s bedside.
First he read a passage of Scripture and had a time of prayer with his dear child. Then he gently told him that the doctors could promise him only a few more days to live. "Are you afraid to meet Jesus, my boy?" asked his devout father. Blinking away a few tears, the little fellow said bravely, "No, not if He’s like you, Dad!"
His little arms crept round my neck,
And then I heard him say,
Four simple words I can’t forget,
Four words that made me pray.
They turned a mirror on my soul,
On secrets no one knew,
They startled me, I hear them yet,
He said, “I’ll be like you!”
TEN WAYS TO FAIL AS A PARENT
1. Have fights in front of your children. Then when quests come, turn around and act affectionate toward one another.
2. Stifle your children’s questions by saying, “Don’t bother me now; I’m busy.”
3. Take no interest in your children’s friends. Let them run around with whomever they choose.
4. Never discipline your children; try to use psychology instead.
5. Nag them about their schoolwork; never compliment them on their achievements.
6. Demonstrate your love for them with material things. Give them everything their little hearts desire.
7. Never discuss the facts of life with them. Instead, let them learn about sex from their friends, public school, or pornographic literature.
8. Set a bad example so the children will not want to grow up to be like you.
9. Absolutely refuse to believe it if you are told that your children have done something wrong.
10. Let your children make their own choices in the matter of religion. Be careful not to influence them in any way.
C. As priest of the home, the godly father is also a man of prayer. He goes to God often on behalf of his family, asking for wisdom and courage for himself, and protection for his wife and children. Job is an example: “Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom” (Job 1:5).
The second quality that Joshua possessed is that he had a….
II. Plan for the Family
Being priest of the family is not enough. The godly father must also have a plan for the spiritual life of his loved ones. Joshua said, “…we will serve the Lord.”
A. We must strive with God’s help for family unity.
When Joshua spoke his voice rang with the sound of unity: “me and my house.” There was togetherness. And I believe that the reason that unity was there was due to his godly character, his example. His faith was genuine, authentic and as a result his family said, in essence, “Whatever you say, dad, we will agree.”
When marriage vows are kept, and the couple is devoted both to the Lord and to each other, there is no more powerful statement of family unity.
B. When the family is united, it will endure the trials that come its way. Joshua pressed a godly determination to persevere with his family. He was prepared to stand alone with his family if necessary.
This wouldn’t be the first time he stood apart. 65 years earlier, at Kadesh-Barnea, he and Caleb had given the minority report.
C. This godly determination must extend into the devotional life of the family. Joshua was determined at least to establish a spiritual oasis with his family. In such an oasis, spiritual giants are grown.
Since its first publication many years ago, over 30 million copies of Charles M. Sheldon’s book, In His Steps have been sold. In it Sheldon gives this testimony:
In a log house on the prairie my father taught me to love the Bible. After breakfast every morning, the family would have a devotional time in the parlor. Each of us had a Bible of his own. Father would read two verses out loud from the chapter of the day. Then mother would read two verses and each of us would read two. Before five years were over, we read the whole Bible five times. I think I am the only man alive who has heard the whole Bible read five times. We never skipped, not even those long lists of worthies who begat one another. The minute we finished Revelation, father calmly turned back to Genesis and we went at it again. I want to repeat that my father taught me to love the Bible as the greatest book in the world.
After we had read the Bible passages for the day, we would sing a hymn and then all kneel down while father offered the morning prayer. We are Scotch-Irish, and naturally father prayed as long as he liked. And he would often pray for us by name.
When I finally left home to go down East to college, I would often be tempted to do what some of the college boys did—swear, gamble, go to the bars, etc. Just as I was about to give way to my desires, I would hear my father’s morning prayer in the log house. It was enough to keep me from falling away from God.