June 21st is a day of recognition is set aside for honoring fathers. Father’s Day has been on the calendars longer than I have been in existence. To my knowledge, it is not celebrated in a religious atmosphere by society, however, that is not the focus of today’s article. I would like to briefly notice what GOD has told us in His word about fathers. The first person, Adam of course was a father. GOD gave him instructions, responsibilities, and blessings as He has done to all fathers ever since. How well man has listened to his Creator since then is really the purpose of today’s article.
Whatever GOD has said, is to be found in His revelation…the Bible. Therefore, if we are familiar with that revelation, we will know what GOD said to and about fathers. GOD had created an environment for man when man came into existence. In Genesis 1:28, we find that GOD blessed ‘them’ (i.e. the male and female-vs.27) and said unto them, “…be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth...behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food: and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so.” And GOD saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Gen. 1:31) So man came into an environment that GOD created for him with knowledge of what was expected of him from his Maker.
We next read of a father by name of Noah. (Gen. 6-7) Noah was “...a righteous man and perfect in his generations...” (Genesis 6:9); and GOD told Noah that He would “...establish My covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy son’ wives with thee.” (Genesis 6: 18) In Genesis 6:22, it is recorded of Noah, “thus did Noah; according to all that GOD commanded him, so did he.” As a result of Noah’s obedience, GOD told him (Genesis 7:1), “…come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation...”.
Next, we read of a father by name of Abraham in Genesis 12. GOD told Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3), “...and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed”. GOD sent Abraham far away from his family and made a covenant with him. GOD’S instructions to Abraham in regard to this covenant is recorded in Genesis 17:9, “...and as for thee, thou shalt keep My covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations”. GOD said of Abraham in Genesis 18:19, “...for I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him”.
Two things stand out about these two great patriarchs. First, they were faithful to their Creator. Secondly, the effect that their faithfulness had upon their families. In particular, was their effect in commanding their children and their household to ‘keep the way of Jehovah’, to ‘do righteousness and justice’. In order to do this, both men had to be righteous. This speaks of the example that they set before their children and their household. Both these men are held in the highest esteem for their faithfulness to GOD. I wonder if we were careful in our reading of their faithfulness to take note of how that in being faithful to GOD they had to command their family ‘that they may keep the way of Jehovah’. You see, as a father, they had this responsibility. It would never have been recorded of these two men of their great faith in Jehovah had they not taught their children and household to ‘keep the way of Jehovah’.
This command of fathers has not changed since the days of Abraham. Throughout the remainder of Old Testament, and the history of Abraham’s descendants, we have record of good fathers and bad fathers. The same two characteristics were present in all good fathers of Abraham’s descendants. 1) They were faithful to GOD as seen in keeping His commandments; (Deuteronomy 6:25) “...and it shall be righteousness unto us, if we observe to do all this commandment before Jehovah our GOD, as He hath commanded us”. [see also Deut. 6;17-18; 11;13]; and 2) they commanded their children and households after them to ‘keep the way of Jehovah’. God had also given this command to them (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) “...and these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up”.
Whenever these instructions were not followed, the results and consequences were always the same…GOD’S laws were forgotten… idolatry was practiced…and punishment came from GOD.
Today, fathers, still have the same responsibility. First, become righteous themselves by rendering obedience to GOD’S will today as found in the gospel of Christ, and secondly, ‘bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’. (Ephesians 6:1-4) The first must precede the second for without it, there will be no godly example to follow.
How many fathers today are Christians? How many command their children and their households to ‘keep the way of the Jehovah’? How many ‘force’ the second upon their children without giving thought to the first? It will only cause resentment from those under your care if, as a father you do not exemplify what you demand in your family. How many children and other members of a household attend, study, and offer worship unto GOD without a father present? How will your children turn out… as idolaters or Christians? Chances are they will follow in your footsteps.