Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.(Genesis 2:24)
From the very beginning, when God created the first couple, the design purposed the propagation of the human race. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28, emphasis added). Note that God did not create Adam and Steve or Bev and Eve. Such a combination would not have yielded the desired effect that God purposed. The family unit and the survival of mankind demanded both a father and a mother.
God, in a very real sense, is the First Father and the Father of the human race – our Father. His love for His children – His creation – is first illustrated in the life of Abraham as he offers his only son in sacrifice to God (Genesis 22:1-18). Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob (Israel), Jacob the father of Judah, Judah the progenitor (father) of David, and David was the progenitor of the Lord Jesus Christ who would be the realization of the sacrifice portrayed by Abraham. The father is an important figure throughout Scripture and throughout history. In fact, God’s first “horizontal” commandment says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12). Paul repeats this commandment in Ephesians 6:1-3.
Earthly parents are far from perfect, yet we have this assurance of our Heavenly Father, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Psalm 27:10). “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him” (Psalm 103:13). Yet even in their imperfection, we are exhorted to listen to the counsel of our fathers: “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding” (Proverbs 4:1). My father was not perfect, yet “I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother” (Proverbs 4:3). My Heavenly Father, encourages, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 6:20). For “what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?” (Matthew 7:9-10). Human fathers may not always get it right, but any father who loves his child always has the best in mind for his children.
However, “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother” (Proverbs 30:11). Indeed, Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36, emphasis added). We may be experiencing that very thing now. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-3, emphasis added). This may be demonstrated in open rebellion or in passive aggressive behavior. Either way, the son has departed from the teachings of his father. To a father who loves his son, nothing can cause more heartache than a son who rejects his father’s teaching.
I am eternally grateful for my imperfect father, who despite his imperfections demonstrated (and still demonstrates) unwavering love for me. I learned much from my father – how to drive a car at the age of ten, how to throw a curve ball, how to work hard, how to respect authority, how to love. But the most important thing my father taught me was to love and trust God and to unquestionably trust in God’s Word. Those lessons have never failed me, and they are the lessons I would impart to my sons, who now have children of their own.
My pastor recently, in a Mother’s Day sermon, offered the following illustration. A prison warden thought it would be good to offer all inmates that wanted a Mother’s Day card with free postage to be sent to the prisoner’s mother. Without exception, every single inmate took him up on the offer. The warden was so impressed with the success of the exercise that he thought he would do the same for Father’s Day. To his surprise, not a single inmate took him up on the offer. Fathers are important, but even when our earthly fathers fail us, our Heavenly Father never, never fails us. He is “A father of the fatherless,” (Psalm 68:5).