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Old 09-19-2014, 12:42 AM   #1
bearbear
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The Test of Fatherhood

God doesnít use the word Father lightly. Jesus told us to consider no one father but our heavenly father.

Matthew 23:9
And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

Jesus even once implied that God was such a good Father that compared to Him, he considered our parents evil.

Matthew 7:11
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Yet God considers Abraham to be our father. In Romans 4:16, Paul calls Abraham the father of us all. In light of God viewing fatherhood as sacred, God also considered Abraham qualified enough to take on the title of father. What made Abraham stand out from everyone else that he could be known as everyone's father through faith, by God even?

According to human wisdom, Abraham could have been seen as a terrible father because he was willing to kill Isaac, the very son he should have protected.

But according to Genesis 22:15-18 God actually rewarded Abraham the right to become the father of nation by his willingness to not spare Isaac.

Genesis 22:15-18
And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, ďBy myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.Ē

This isnít an accident because this mirrors what our heavenly Father, the best Father of the universe did. He was willing to sacrifice his one and only son Jesus (John 3:16). so that we could become his children. In turn, God went from being the father of one son, to a father of many sons. God actually expands his fatherhood in the same way that Abraham did by doing something seemingly "unfatherly" by being willing to give up the life of their only sons. It then makes perfect sense why God would have considered Abraham able to represent him as a father.

We know in John 3:16 Father Godís love for Jesus did not preventing him from expressing his love for the world by giving up the son he loved dearly.

Abrahamís love for Isaac did not prevent him from obeying God. If Godís expression of fatherhood was love behind his willingness to sacrifice, what drove Abrahamís demonstration of faith in sacrificing Isaac?

The Old Testament mirror of John 3:16 which speaks of giving up and one and only Son could be Genesis 22:12

Genesis 22:11-12
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ďAbraham, Abraham!Ē And he said, ďHere I am.Ē He said, ďDo not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me

Itís interesting that fear of God is mentioned as the motivation for Abrahamís obedience which demonstrated his faith. How else could he have unquestioningly obeyed God to point of being willing to kill the son he loved dearly?

There seems to be two kinds of fear mentioned in the bible. One is a fear can either drive someone away from the object of fear, another is a kind of fear that can drive someone closer and under the authority of the object of fear.

In Abrahamís case, the fear of the Lord drove him closer to God as he obeyed God. Scripture says God actually uses fear as a device to keep people close to him!

Jeremiah 32:40
I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

Yet in the parable of the talents, fear of the master is what drove the servant to disobey him

Matthew 25:24-25
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ĎMaster, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.

Isaiah 11:1-2 mentions seven spirits that rest on the Messiah, one of these is the Spirit of the fear of the Lord.

There is a difference between a spirit of fear and a Spirit of the fear of the Lord. One causes us to be cowardly and run away from God, the other actually gives us courage and strengthens us to obey God and draw close to him, making us better fathers.

The Hebrew word for fear used in the bible is ya-re which can carry the meaning of either terror, trembling or reverence. It is spelled yod-resh-aleph and in paleo hebrew would look like a hand (yod) holding a hammer (resh) with strength (aleph)- in other words the hand of God.

When we see the hand of God, the fear of man and everything else will disappear. When we do not see the hand of God we will fear whoever or whatever else we see.

Abraham saw the hand of God in his life through miraculous events such as the birth of Isaac in Sarah and Abraham's old age. Through this he built faith and attained courage to draw close to God and be in the center of his will. God then rewarded him to be the father of many nations.

As Abrahamís children get to inherit his blessing, so will our children if we pass the test of Fatherhood as Abraham did.

My father may have made many mistakes in his life like all other fathers, but one of the things I admired the most about him were the times in his life where he unquestioningly obeyed God. He gave up many things to go into full time ministry even if it meant he had to make sacrifices that seemingly affected his children negatively.

From an earthly view, some would say he was less of a father because he didnít make as much money for his family, but his obedience to God actually made him more of a father in my eyes and I can point to many spiritual blessing because of his choices.
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The one thing I ask of the LORD--the thing I seek most--is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple. - Psalms 27:4
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