Father’s Day – Genesis 18:1-19
Fathers-day is a day of mixed emotions and quite often it is a day of pain for those who have lost fathers or who had abusive fathers. I was blessed to have a father who loved his family and who set an example for his family. My father was not perfect, but he was steadfast in his, love for God, and his love for his family.
The Bible has so many examples of good fathers and poor fathers, but one of the best examples we have of a father in the Bible is Abraham. God called this mighty man of faith to be the father of a great nation. Abraham was a man of exceptional faith who had a unique relationship with God. In Genesis 18 we have the account of God speaking to Abraham about the birth of Isaac, and the reaction of Sarah to the good news.
After the declaration of Isaac, the two angels prepare to leave and go to Sodom where they will rescue Lot and his family, but the Lord stays with Abraham. The Lord stays behind and discloses to Abraham what he is about to do in punishing Sodom and Gomorrah. God has a special role for Abraham, to raise up God’s chosen people and to be the father of the nation of Israel which will bless all the nations of the earth.
In verse 19 we read, “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
In this verse we see four characteristics of a good father that we need to develop in our own lives.
1: A godly father teaches –…”that he may command his children…” Genesis 18:19a
The Greatest Command in the Bible is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, the Shema is the very first scripture a Hebrew boy would learn, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
But the Scripture doesn’t stop there, verses 6 and 7 continue, “6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
God tells the Hebrew fathers that they have a responsibility to teach their children to love Him with all their hearts. He tells them how to impress this command on the children by talking about it when you sit down or walk along the road, when you lie down to sleep and when you get up first thing in the morning. The teaching continues all day and every day. Teaching happens all the time, even when we aren’t intending to teach, but right teaching does not happen by accident. You have to teach on purpose the things of the Lord.
Fathers teach your children to love God. This is your first and primary discipleship role as a Christian parent. Our children have a much better chance to grow up to love God, if they see the love for God in our lives (see Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4).
2: A Father is to lead his children, “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord…” Genesis 18:19a.
God told Abraham to command his children and his household, the people who were under his sphere of influence. Abraham was to lead his family.
You can lead by rule, or force, but a good father leads primarily by example (Joshua 24:15).
Fathers are you leading your families well? Are we leading those in our sphere of influence to know and love the Lord?
3: A father disciplines his children, “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord… Genesis 18:19a
Keeping the way requires discipline, it requires intentional correction in order to maintain a life that walks along the pathway that God has for us.
Discipline is not beating a child into submission, it can be affected without the rod, although sometimes a child may need to feel correction.
But discipline is correction, guidance, keeping the child in the pathway that is right. A fathers’ discipline is always done in love (Hebrews 12:6-11, Proverbs 3:11-12).
True discipline is an act of love. We need to know the difference between discipline and punishment.
Punishment causes rebellion, but Discipline builds relationships.
Punishment is spoken harshly in anger, but Discipline is usually spoken kindly and lovingly.
Punishment produces a bitter, poisonous fruit, but Discipline produces the fruit of acting in the right way, which is righteousness.
4: A father loves his children.
In Matthew 22, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6, when he was asked about the greatest commandment, and he responds by saying what we read in verse 37, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…” and the second, Jesus said is to love your neighbor as yourself.”
Fathers, your children need to know that you love them (see 1 Corinthians 13:1). Parents tell your children they are loved and show them that they are loved. Bringing a paycheck home is not loving your children.
God blesses good fathers.
The last part of verse 19 contains a promise, “…so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
Those two little words, “so that”, introduce the promise.
If you want to see all that God has in store for you, follow these four principles in your homes. You will be overwhelmed by the goodness of God and his blessings to you and your family.
It all stems from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Jesus, that is the place to start. Only then can you teach your children by example to love God and you can introduce them to Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life.