Father’s Day. A happy day for some and a very difficult one for many – depending on the quality of ‘fathering’ we received from ours. A father’s role in our lives is to SECURE us, by PROVIDING a sense of IDENTITY, PROTECTION, STABILITY and SAFETY. The good news is that our earthly father is not our bottom line. As Christians, we actually share the best dad in the world – our HEAVENLY FATHER.
When Jesus came to earth – He brought His Kingdom with Him. In His first sermon – on the mount – He introduced to us the King of the Kingdom – His Father. Except He didn’t say – “My Father” – He said “Your Father in Heaven” – twelve times in Matthew 6. His introductory statements in Matthew 5 are:
Matthew 5:45 …your are the children of your Father Who is in heaven, and…
Matthew 5:48 your heavenly Father is PERFECT.
The hebrew word for SECURITY is shalvah. It has nothing to do with insurance policies or large bank accounts or stock piles of weapons. The root meaning is leisure – the RELAXED STANCE of one who knows that EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT because God is over us, with us and for us in Jesus Christ.
The biblical message is: Relax. We are SECURE. God is running the show. Neither our feelings… nor the facts… nor the possibilities are evidence that God has abandoned us. There is nothing more certain than that He will accomplish His salvation in our lives and perfect His will in our histories.
Three times in His great sermon, after introducing HIS FATHER AS OURS Jesus, knowing how easily we imagine the worst, repeats the reassuring command, “DO NOT BE ANXIOUS…” (Matthew 6: 25, 31, 34).
While in Germany recently, a new friend shared the best definition of ‘worry’ I’ve ever heard. WORRYING = dreaming with the devil. The opposite, then, would be to HOPE. HOPE = dreaming with God. Hope is possible because… evil is always temporary. The worst does not last. Nothing counter to God’s justice has any eternity to it.
Scripture does tell us some things that are EVERLASTING:
Isaiah 9:6 His Name shall be called … Everlasting Father.
Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge and dwelling place, and UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS.
At the bottom of everything, always, are our perfect Father’s MIGHTY, POWERFUL, OUT-STRETCHED ARMS that are ETERNAL, WITHOUT END. WE ARE SECURE.
All Jesus teaching seems to hinge on this singular truth concerning the nature of life: It is all right. Do not worry about tomorrow, I have come that you might have life abundantly. Be not afraid. Over and over, in parable, story, and example, He insists that regardless how it goes for us, we are cared for, we are safe, we are all right.
To live this out in our daily lives, we all have a need – to be restored, at a heart level, to THE HEART OF THE FATHER. The Old Testament ends with 2 verses that announce this theme as the central focus of the New:
Malachi 4:5, 6 Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
This verse has a New testament counterpart:
Luke 1:17 …turn the hearts of the Father’s to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
We understand the nature of the curse that has to be reversed, in studying the meaning of the word disobedient children. When father’s abandon their children (by turning their heart’s away from them) the children become “disobedient”: the Greek word apeithes (from which we get our english word apathetic). This word means unpersuadable and contumacious (a new word for me). Contumacious means insubordinate; rebellious; willfully resisting authority. Syn. obstinate, stubborn, unyielding, headstrong.
The root words of apeithes are I (as neg. particle) and peitho, which together mean: a child who has become disobedient is no longer able to ‘be convinced,’, ‘be pacified,’, ‘give assent’ (to evidence or authority), no longer able to ‘rely’ (by inward certainty), or :- agree, be assured, believe, have confidence, obey, be persuaded, trust or yield.
This is what happens to a child’s heart, when he or she experiences their father’s heart being turned away from them. This embodies the curse released by to the next generation by abandoning fathers. This is why the heart’s of father’s must be turned back toward their offspring, and the heart’s of children turned toward their father. This is the curse Jesus bore, and broke on the cross, when He cried out:
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour (three o’clock) Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? – that is, My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me [leaving Me helpless, forsaking and failing Me in My need]?
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN WANTS TO BREAK THIS CURSE OFF OUR LAND TODAY!
Our Father in heaven, break this curse off our land, and our lives – today! Father forgive our fathers – for they haven’t known what they’ve done to the children. Forgive the children, for they haven’t known what their hardened, disobedient, hearts have released in their lives and the land. Thank You Jesus for what you did for us on the cross. Thank You for experiencing Your perfect Father’s turning from You, so that our hearts can be fully reconciled to His perfect Fathering of us all. As we forgive our earthly fathers for the ways they’ve wounded us, reconnect us fully to the perfect heart of Your and our heavenly Father. It is what you came to do. It is what the land cries out for – let us, in this time, manifest as the glorious children of God in the earth. Thank You that we are SECURE. That ALL IS WELL and ALL WILL BE WELL because… UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS!