After a sermon in which I had spoken of the blessings of fathers, a woman said to me, “I really had trouble with what you said. All it did was bring back painful memories of how I was mistreated by my father.” How would you have responded? Sadly, it’s true that some fathers are abusive, rather than caring. Even the best of fathers are sinners who are sometimes impatient and preoccupied, instead of giving their full attention to their child.
However, human dads are not the ultimate gold standard when it comes to fatherhood. They fall short of perfection, but there is one Father who is loving and righteous in all He does. He loves us with an everlasting love. He describes Himself as “the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Ex. 34:6-7). Think of how He pictures Himself in the parable of the father who welcomed back with open arms the wayward son who had squandered his inheritance.
The heavenly Father loves us so intensely, that He even punished His only-begotten Son on the cross for our sins. By the Spirit He has called us out of sin and unbelief and adopted us as His children by faith in Christ. What greater demonstration of love could there be? How incredible that in the Lord’s Prayer He invites us to address Him as “Father”! Luther explains: “With these words God tenderly encourages us to believe that He is our true Father and we are His true children, so that we may ask Him boldly and with complete confidence as dear children ask their dear father.”
Thank the Lord for faithful earthly fathers who strive to reflect the heavenly Father’s love toward the children entrusted to them. But when you think of fathers, don’t forget the best one of all! Pray that the Spirit through the Word will bring many more fathers to trust Jesus for forgiveness and move them to love their children as the Father does.
In tomorrow’s sermon text (Deut. 11:18-21, 26-28), the Father lovingly calls on His children, the people of Israel, to listen and follow His word as they prepare to enter the promised land of Canaan. It’s also an important and encouraging call to us, God’s present-day children.
Remember, tomorrow we begin our summer schedule: services at 8:00 and 9:30 a.m.
Yours in the Father’s service,