A Word to Fathers on Father’s Day


On this Sabbath Day, in which we give special remembrance to the calling and blessing of fathers, I call your attention to the Word of God in Psalm 103:13:  “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.”  This verse from the holy Scriptures goes right to the heart of what it means to be a father.  It expresses it in one word:  pity.  A father pities his children.

…Now, that truth of Jehovah’s fatherly pity must be seen in a Christian father.  For the pattern of all of our life is to be holy as God is holy, that is, to pattern our life after God.  For instance, in marriage we must live as God lives with His bride, the church.  Therefore, as fathers, we must seek to conform our earthly parenting and fathering to His heavenly fathering and parenting.  God says, “I have shown My pity to you as My son.  I am your perfect example.  As I have pitied, so you are to pity your children.”  You must cultivate a relationship with your children in which you seek to reflect the fatherly pity of God.

Yes, that means for sure that as a father you are called to meet their earthly needs.  You are to fill their bellies.  You are to clothe their backs.  You are to put a roof over their heads.  And, yes, leave them an inheritance.  But what a horrible thing if that is what fathering means to you—if it is nothing more than that—if you do not prayerfully create a climate of spiritual warmth in your home, of tenderness and pity and affection for your child.  You must be as God, filled with tender pity and affection and compassion in Christ for your child.  Do not say, “Oh, that pity stuff is for wimps.”  Oh, no.  As a father you are to reveal the pity of God.  That means that you must not allow coldness, distance, ill-will, resentment to be the atmosphere of your home.  If you allow that to be the atmosphere of your home between you and your child, if you are guilty of those things, if you are guilty of the abuse of your child, if you are guilty of harboring resentments and ill-will and distance and coldness toward them, you are being ungodly.  You are not as God!

This is the question with which we must confront ourselves as Christian fathers today:  Would you want God to be the kind of parent to you that you are to your children?  Fathers, you and I are confronted by that question today in God’s Word.  Would you want your children to conceive of God’s heart as they conceive of your heart?  That is serious business.  You say, “I never thought about that when I got married.  I never thought about that when I started to have children.  You mean to say to me, pastor, that all of my child’s concepts of God are also to be based upon what they see in me as a father?”  I answer you, “Yes.  That is the teaching of God’s Word.”  That is why we tremble.  That is why we need to be on our knees before God.  That is why we need the holy Scriptures.  That is why we need the faithful church of Jesus Christ to instruct us.  And that is why we need one another in the house of the Lord.  We must work together as men of God, that we might be fathers in Christ.

That is why you need, as a man of God, a husband, father, to know more of your God—more and more of Him.  What will our children think of their heavenly Father?  Much of the answer is to be found in you, especially in those formative, pre-school years.  Oh, we are not perfect.  That is why repentance is so necessary in our lives before our children.  But, you see, if we resent those children; if in our frustration we slap them across the face; if we do not use wise, consistent, biblical discipline applied to the seat of their pants; if instead we rant and we yell and we call them names and we have no time for our kids — if that is the way we go about things and brush it off as insignificant and we go on in those patterns of life, then we are being ungodly.  What will that little boy, that little girl, think when you teach them to fold their hands and pray, “Our Father who art in heaven”?  How will they have the courage to look to heaven and believe that they are precious to their heavenly Father?  That means that you must rear your child conscientiously, principally, from the Word of God.  You must seek to be conformed to the pattern of your heavenly Father.

Taken from the message, “A Father’s Pity,” based on Psalm 103:13 and delivered on the Reformed Witness Hour program for June 15, 2014 by Rev. Carl Haak. You may find the audio version here.

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