INTRODUCTION – Rom 15:4 “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
My readings in Proverbs
Prov. 8:33 “Heed instruction and be wise and do not neglect it.”
Take a look at some of the first fathers on the planet. Far from perfect – all of them. But they all had strengths. They all did something right somewhere along the way.
Six lessons from six men whose example God wants us to learn from.
I. Adam. Adam is famous (or infamous) for what he chose not to obey. But Adam did obey the Lord’s command to be fruitful and multiply.
Gen. 1:28 “And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth….” In other words – have lots of babies. “and subdue it.”
Cain, Abel, Seth 5:4 “and he had others sons and daughters.”
Psalm 127:3-5 “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward….
God’s original plan is that husbands and wives would gladly procreate and have multiple children based on God’s command and His promises. This plan has never been rescinded.
Today’s societal drift – inconvenience of children
If God is truly planning on purifying His bride and bringing in the harvest before His Son returns, it stands to reason that He would restore to His church and to believing couples – His heart and mind about children. I believe He is doing that today.
My example is wanting – the Catholics may be more biblical than we evangelicals are on this one
II. Abraham. Again we are all aware of the mistakes he made with Hagar, and his tendency to stretch the truth when under pressure. But Abraham lived for the future generations by faith. He refused to live a self centered, short sighted life. Even his blunder with hagar was an attempt to fulfill God’s command. He lived his life with his children’s and their children’s and their children’s children destiny in the forefront of his mind.
Now God obviously initiated and led Abraham to do this. But Abraham followed, and eventually saw God do some pretty amazing things through him and his promised son – as He learned to stand on God’s promises – instead of leaning on His own resources and human wisdom.
Dads, God wants to do a whole lot more through you and me , our kids, their kids and beyond than we give Him credit for. To experience that – We need first to discern that the world doesn’t think beyond its nose on the most part. And the enemy is behind this. The whole world system operates on the basis that the most important thing in my world is me and whoever might help me satisfy my own self seeking pleasures. I mean what is the big push in all the advertising leading up to Father’s Day?? C’mon Dad you deserve that new boat, or that new set of golf clubs or that new car – it’s all about you.
Now there’s nothing wrong with buying a new boat or set of golf clubs or new car for that matter. My point is in the world’s eyes, Father’s Day is all about fathers doting on themselves. In God’s eyes, Father’s Day is about Father’s renewing their passion and commitment to not living for themselves, but for the eternal destiny of the coming generations.
Secondly we need to realize as we are trying to learn to hear God’s voice and know Him and His ways – He has always been a generational God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob is the God of Ray, Matson and Solomon Ruddell. When God looks at Ray and speaks to Ray, he doesn’t just have Ray on His heart, though He loves Ray for who Ray is deeply,….. He also has Matson and Solomon in His heart and mind as well, and He sanctifies Ray with this mindset.
Abraham in Romans 4 is called the “Father of us all” because I believe he lived by faith a generational life. He trusted God to do the impossible through him and his children and their children.
III. Noah courageously led his wife, sons and their wives in a path and a mission that drew much ridicule and derision, but ultimately led to his family’s salvation and deliverance, and to the deliverance of mankind.
Noah obeyed God by building a massive boat for a coming massive flood, when it is possible the world had never seen a flood, nor knew what a flood was. There are some who believe the world had never even seen rain by then. But what impresses me about this story is his wife, his sons and their wives all joined him and stuck with him even though only Noah had heard from God, and even though for all the time they built this monstrosity, not a drop of rain fell, and the onlookers probably gave them hell. What was it about Noah that caused his wife and sons and their wives to hang with him – all the while enduring ridicule and contempt by their community – perhaps even their friends??
Heb. 11:7 (turn there)
Well first his faith is mentioned, which is what landed him in this chapter or hall of faith as some call it. But notice also his reverence. Literally “having become reverent….. Noah prepared an ark”. I believe what caused Noah’s sons and wives (and his own wife) to follow him and stick by him was his utter sincerity and passion to obey and please God. It wasn’t his gifts, his intelligence, his education, his persuasive abilities, his talents, or his expertise in meterology. It was his heart for God and his simple, sincere and selfless desire to please Him in public and behind closed doors – that proved to be so contagious – – that’s what set him apart as a man that was worth following.
Noah feared God and lived to do His bidding.
IV. Joseph was the father of two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) when his 11 brothers came back into his life. These 11 brothers, some years previous, because of their hatred of Joseph had sold him as a slave to a bunch of Ishmaelites, who then sold him to Potiphar – Pharoah’s officer and captain of the bodyguard. The brothers had told their father that Joseph was killed by a wild beast, and then they tried their best to forget about him. Then the famine came and they were forced to go down to Egypt to purchase some food. You know the story – unbeknownst to them – their brother who must have looked and talked much differently by then – was the very one they had to go through to get food for their families back home.
Now we don’t know for sure how old Joseph’s sons were, but most likely they were around nine or ten years old when Joseph’s brothers strode into Egypt.
Now… I don’t think Joseph was thinking about parenting his two sons when he began to interact with his brothers. But the impact – his amazing mercy and forgiveness towards his brothers must have had on his sons – had to be tremendous.
By this time in Joseph’s life he had become a man’s man. He was a man of great stature and wisdom and authority. And here all of a sudden he is found to be a weeping mess! There is no way his wife and children could not have known about this. My guess is it was the talk of Egypt! I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Ephraim and Manasseh pretended like they were asleep, but in fact had their ears glued to the walls as Joseph late at night wept with his wife as he told her all that his brothers had done to him when he was a young lad, and yet how God was giving him only love and forgiveness and mercy towards them. Joseph had the power and authority and plenty of reason to lock these brothers away for life or worse, but instead he gave them material gifts, and the ultimate gift of his heart and affections.
Fathers, do you want to be an effective father to your children? Then extend forgiveness and mercy to those who have wronged you. Refuse to walk in bitterness and un forgiveness towards anyone – no matter how evil their deeds towards you have been. When you do that – it’s like giving your children an inheritance of emotional and spiritual freedom to embrace their destiny. When you forgive, and go beyond that to extend mercy and grace to those who have wronged you, and you allow your children to watch the process – you are giving them something no education (be it home school, Christian school or Ivy league university) can give them.
Joseph taught his children to forgive and to extend mercy and affection (especially to family members) – – not by his words necessarily, but powerfully by his deeds.
V. On a scale of 1- 10 – – 10 being very righteous and godly, how righteous and godly would you say Job was?
Job 1:1, 3, 8
Job was the father of seven sons and three daughters. Now I don’t know how you can be blameless, upright – and constantly fearing God and turning away from evil and be considered the greatest of all the men of the east and not be a good father.
But in spite of all of that, we find in vs. 4,5 that Job constantly interceded for his children. (read it)
Fathers, you are going to find sooner or later if you haven’t already that there are characteristics and mindsets and convictions that need to be formed in your child’s life, that only God can pull off. The greatest privilege and the most powerful weapon you will ever have with your children is the privilege and weapon of intercession. This was never meant to be soley the mom’s job. I see nowhere in scripture that women are somehow more suited for intercession than men are. In fact in the epistles, the only person I am aware of who is commended for his intercession is a man called Epaphras who prayed fervently for the church in Colossae. Fathers do not sell yourself short on interceding for your kids (and their kids). You have the same Holy Spirit to help you that the wives and mothers have.
VI. David had a number of children by different wives and wasn’t considered to be a wonderful father – especially with his early children – – in fact – it could be said that he failed miserably in those early years.
I think by the time Solomon came around he had learned some hard lessons about parenting. One of those is that it is never too late to learn to do it right.
I Chron. 22:1-19 David’s charge to Solomon to build the temple and to the leaders to help him
Fathers, especially those of you who are older and have older children – it’s never too late to have an impact in your child’s life – I don’t care if they are 20 or 40.