When Father Does Best

When Father Does Best

God has a very high regard for dads, because earthly fathers are the model of our relationship with our “heavenly Father”. God loves fathers. After all, He is one.

Psalm 128 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.  Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel.

In this psalm, God tells fathers that He wants to bless their families and make them strong. He wants to make their homes safe and happy places. And He’s telling fathers there are some things they can do to ensure that result.
The first thing is this, godly fathers have to make their family a priority for their homes to succeed. Notice the location of the blessings listed in Psalms 128:3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.”

Notice: it’s "within your house" and "around your table." Too many men make their greatest priorities work, recreation, and possessions. To afford their desires, they require their wives to work outside the home and keep house, too. Now, as providers, men HAVE to work… we can’t be at home all the time. And there’s nothing wrong with having some recreation time to go deer hunting or fishing. Nor is there anything particularly wrong with possessions that you enjoy having around. But, we need to realize that the allure of job, recreation, and possessions can distract us from the priority of our families. We need to be home, eating with our families, and controlling our expenses so our wives can stay home to tend to the children.

William Willimon told about an adult Sunday school class that was studying about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. The teacher asked "How are we tempted today?"

A young salesman was the first to speak. "Temptation is when your boss calls you in and says ‘I’m going to give you a real opportunity. I’m going to give you a bigger sales territory. We believe you are going places young man.’

‘But I don’t want a bigger sales territory,’ the young salesman told his boss. ‘I’m already away from home 4 nights a week. It wouldn’t be fair to my wife and daughter.’

‘Look,’ his boss replied, ‘we’re asking you to do this for your wife and daughter. Don’t you want to be a good father? It takes money to support a family these days. Sure, your little girl doesn’t take much money now, but think of the future. Think of her future. I’m only asking you to do this for them,’ the boss said.

The young man paused and then told his class, “Now that’s temptation.”

In order to have a God-blessed home, fathers need to make their home a priority. Sometimes we’re not going to understand everything we ought to do to in order to be effective fathers, but that’s why God gave us wives. Right, ladies? They are our helpmates, and they can help us understand their needs and the needs of our children, if we will listen.

Another thing that I noticed in this Psalm was that it emphasized “walking with God”.
Look again at that first verse: “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.

The Bible talks a lot about how we walk. It emphasizes walking in His ways, His laws, His ordinances, and His statutes. The whole idea is that we should want to walk with God.

Gal 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (NKJV)

God has always wanted to walk with His people. The problem is… His people rarely seem to find the time to walk with Him.

Fathers who want God’s blessings in their homes have to decide that they are going to take the time to walk with God, talk with God, and let God be in control. We can do this by studying the Bible, spending time alone in prayer, worshipping at Church, and fellowshipping with other Christians whenever we can.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

Every time we spend time with God’s people, we’re walking with God, because Jesus promised to be in our midst.

A godly father, who wants God’s blessings, makes walking with God a priority, too, and he models that priority for his family to copy. One of major reason boys and young men do not like to come to church is that they don’t see their fathers going to church. Mother may go to church at every opportunity, but the boys want to be like their father, not their mother. So if you want your son to follow Christ, fathers must set the example.

Now there’s one more thing in this passage that earthly fathers need to consider. It’s a difficult concept for men to wrap their minds around. Look again at verses 1 & 2 of this psalm: “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”

Essentially, it is saying this: Fear the LORD… and you shall receive His blessings.

Now, there are people who have problems with the idea of FEARING God. They try to tone down the word. They’ll say this phrase means to “reverence” God or “respect” God or be “devout” with God.

However, the Hebrew word translated here is “Yare” which means “fear”. It is used in other places.

For example, Jacob cheated his brother Esau out of his inheritance and then fled for his life because his brother Esau said he’d kill him. Fourteen years later, Jacob returns to his home and the Bible tells us that Jacob “Yare” or “feared” Esau and prayed that God would deliver him from his brother’s hand.

Gen. 32:11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children.

Jacob was not feeling respect, reverence, or devotion for Esau. Jacob was afraid of him.

Another example in Exodus tells of God bringing the 10 plagues upon Egypt, and in response to one of those plagues, that Pharaoh’s officials “feared the word of God” and protected their cattle from plague. That’s not respect, or reverence, or devotion; that’s fear.

Exodus 9:20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside.

The idea of “Yare” is fear. Fear the LORD, says Scripture, and God will bless you.

Ps 103:11 As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him

Psalms 103:13As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him”

Therefore, if we fear God, we are assured that He loves us, that He has compassion for us, and that we will lack for nothing. But, what does it mean to “fear” God? Well first, fearing God means fearing His disapproval more than anyone else’s.

Back in the days of Jezebel, it was a fearful thing to be a prophet of God. She killed them wherever she could find them. According to I Kings, Obadiah was employed by Jezebel and her husband, King Ahab.

I Kings 18:3-4 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD.  While Jezebel was killing off the LORD's prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)

In other words, Obadiah feared God more than he feared Jezebel. As frightening and as dangerous as Jezebel was, Obadiah believed she wasn’t nearly as big and bad as God.

People will often make decisions, bad or good, upon whatever they fear most. Thus, a man, who fears God properly, does what is right, even when faced with things that could make him afraid. Partly because right is right and wrong is wrong, but more importantly, a man who fears God does what is right because he believes there is nothing, and no person on earth, that is nearly as strong and fearful as God.

As Oswald Chambers wrote, "The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God you fear everything else."

Godly fathers and husbands fear God. When we really fear God in the right way, there’s nothing else on this earth that can make us afraid. There’s nothing bigger or more powerful than the God we serve.

Ps 118:4-8 Let those who fear the LORD say: "His love endures forever."  In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.  The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

The second aspect of fearing God is understanding that we don’t take Him for granted, we don’t disobey Him, and we don’t anger Him.

For example, the book of 1Samuel tells about a time when the priests in Israel were wicked men. They were the sons of Eli, the priest, and their names were Hophni and Phineas. At the time, Israel was at war with the Philistines and the army of Israel felt the need to have God’s presence with them at the battle front, so they asked Hophni and Phineas to bring the ark to the battle. Here’s what happened:

1 Samuel 4:10-11 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.  The ark of God was captured, and Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

Why did this happen? Because the wicked priests thought they could live anyway they wanted and still count on God to help them fight their battles. If we learned anything growing up, we should know that doesn’t work. It doesn’t work with man or with God, but people try it daily.

When I was a boy, my dad had boundaries. There were lines you didn’t cross. If I crossed those lines, there was a price to pay. There was a punishment to be endured. Now, did I fear my dad? Yes I did, but ONLY if I had crossed over those lines or if I was considering crossing those lines.

Did my dad love me? Sure he did! I knew he was being as fair as he could be. He had set boundaries because they were “right” boundaries and I knew he really wanted what was best for me. The questions to be tested were did I love my dad, would I please him, or would I disobey?

Likewise, Hebrews12:9-10 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

So, as earthly fathers, it’s important for us to know where God’s boundaries are. We need to know where God draws the line. We need to teach God’s Word to our children and demonstrate obedience by living according to His Word and His boundaries.

Psalms 34:11-14 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Fearing God is knowing where He has drawn the lines and determining to draw those same lines in our own lives and homes.

So, if we want to be a godly fathers, and receive all the blessings He wants to give our families: 1st – we need to make our families a priority; 2nd – we need to determine to walk with God, to be with Him at all times; 3rd – we need to have a proper fear of God, to fear Him more than anything else in this life. We cannot pass these duties to our wives. God holds us responsible for the outcome of our families’ lives. More money and more things are not nearly as important as is more of God in us.

Eccl 12:13-14 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Andrew Gillies wrote a poem called “Confession to Father”.
Last night my little boy confessed to me some childish wrong;
And kneeling at my knee he prayed with tears:
"Dear God make me a man like Daddy - wise and strong
I know you can." Then he slept.

I knelt beside his bed, confessed my sins
And prayed with low bowed head.
"Oh God, make me a child like my child here -
Pure and guileless, trusting you with faith sincere.”

Matthew 18:3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Fathers, are you doing your best to be the priest and leader of your home; so that, you, your wife, and children will be blessed by God? If not, you can change your circumstances by humbling yourself like a child, confessing your sin, and repenting today. Fear God and ask Him to take control of your life. Then walk obediently with Him.