On Fathers Day we can’t help but speak about the unique role and responsibilities of fathers. There is an unmistakable influence and legacy that fathers leave in their wake. Unfortunately, fatherless-ness is the common plague of our times. What should a good father look like and what do you do if you aren’t one or never had a good one? Discover that the Bible has lots to say on what fathering is supposed to, and can, be.
Fathers Day 6.18.17
2 Samuel 23.20-23
Benaiah the son of Jehoiada
The unmistakeable influence and legacy of fathers.
2 Samuel 23.20-23
20 Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day. 21 And he killed an Egyptian, a spectacular man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; so he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 22 These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and won a name among three mighty men. 23 He was more honored than the thirty, but he did not attain to the first three. And David appointed him over his guard.
How many of you think that Benaiah was an extraordinary guy? His name means “built by God.” The exploits listed here are pretty amazing. The killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day has inspired many a book, let alone men. Benaiah was one of David’s mighty men, and his job, in particular, was to lead, train and work with a team of personal bodyguards for David, called the Cherethites and the Pelethites. Benaiah stayed with David to the end of his life and then became the leader of the army for Solomon. He was crazy amazing.
But let’s not forget someone. Benaiah was once a boy, probably a little crazy boy, but a boy. And he had a father, Jehoiada. And in the beginning of the description we read about Benaiah, we find that the first mention of his life says that Jehoiada was a valiant man. Benaiah, who went on to do great things for God and his country, was standing on someone else’s shoulders. A father, his father, the valiant Jehoiada. And as we read, we can easily say that the “who had done many deeds” might well be a description of Jehoiada. What Benaiah saw and heard and received from his father was expanded upon in his own adult life. Benaiah, “Whom God Built” was indeed built by God, but plainly God used, as His instrument, a father, to build him.
The point here? Fathers have an unmistakeable influence and leave a legacy. Not to ignore the fact that good fathers can have great disappointment in how their sons or daughters decide to live their life. But their influence is powerful.
There are males, men, everywhere. And any male can reproduce and become a father in the biological sense. Only some become fathers in the good sense we’re talking about here.
Ideally, what do fathers do?
1. They are present and connected.
The whole idea of attachment is an important factor in the normal, healthy growth of any individual. We’ve discovered that the lack of attachment growing up is a root cause of many abnormalities in kids and adults.
1 Corinthians 4.14-17
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Paul was basing spiritual truth on the model of fatherhood. He called these Corinthian Christians “children.” And we read that not like instructors, who presumably share knowledge through teaching, Paul was a father to them. And a father to Timothy, because not only did Paul teach Timothy, but he imparted to him his “ways.” In order to do that, Paul had to be present and connected. And that’s what fathers do.
2. Fathers also oversee and train.
It’s just another observation as we examine Paul’s relationship with Timothy and with the Corinthians. Paul is “warning” the Corinthians, as in, warning them about danger, and he is training them through his writing yes, but training them further through Timothy.
Instead of just letting children just “figure it out for themselves”, fathers explain the world to young people, warning, instructing and imparting their ways, even after they leave home.
3. Fathers protect and provide.
These three practices of fathers weave together, don’t they?
Look at this portion of I Timothy 5
I Timothy 5.8
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
This is the conclusion of a discussion specifically about taking care of widows. But the principle here is meant to be applied to every area of fathering. If you don’t provide for your own, especially those of your own household, you are worse than the most unbelieving, unfaithful person you can think of, an “infidel.”
To whose benefit is fathering? The fathered. And who are the most vulnerable in this world? The fatherless. Gary Haugen, the founder and leader of the International Justice Mission, a Christian organization that rescues those in slavery, forced into trafficking, etc. all over the world talks about the greatest need for those who are poor in the world. It’s not primarily the lack of food or money, he says. It’s the lack of protection from the violent. He tells a story of a woman and her children whose husband, father, died of a fatal disease. After his death, their neighbor took all their valuables, took over their stall at the local market and tore their house down. This woman was found starving to death with her children because of a violent bully. Gary says that this kind of injustice is often the root cause of poverty and that the nations of the world don’t really address this in their anti poverty efforts.
In the Scriptures, God identifies the fatherless, the orphan and the widow as those we should minister to pointedly and specifically. Why? Because these often are the most vulnerable. They don’t have fathers.
So what about me?
Is this message meant to make me feel guilty? Just the opposite, it’s to inspire you and give you some answers.
If you’re a father of children, hold your life up to the things we’ve talked about here. God wants you to grow and become the father that He designed you to be. Do you need to repent and make some new plans?
If you’re a woman and your husband, or ex husband, isn’t the kind of father he could be, let me give you some advice. Pray for him. He most likely didn’t have a great role model in his own father. Come alongside him and help him. Robin helped me a great deal along the way. Robin, for one thing, encouraged me to take each of our kids out separately for breakfast or lunch, and she even told me things she thought they were going through, coaching me in that in case I missed it. That was so great. Women, you know how to influence. And even in divorce situations, depending on the circumstances, you can make ways for a father to be a father to your kids. Don’t hold them back in bitterness unless there’s danger for the kids in him being in their lives that way.
But what if you weren’t fathered or being fathered and it’s a big, gaping hole in your life. What if through death, divorce or neglect you weren’t fathered? Is it too late for you?
First of all, God especially is sensitive to the fatherless and makes the fatherless a promise:
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
6 God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
God can “father” you. He can fill in the blanks of those places in life that a father was supposed to fill. You know what the largest problem in our country is right now? Fatherlessness. Think about it, most every social ill would be at least reduced dramatically if every child, every adult, had a godly father in their life. It is the great lack of our day. God can answer that need for you!
But how does He do that? He sent His Son, yes, His Spirit, yes. But He also sends fathers through the Body of Christ, believers. You can have a significant impact on others if you, appropriately, selflessly, give to those who are fatherless. You can be God’s hands and feet to father the fatherless, and there are so many wonderful ways to do that.
The unmistakeable influence and legacy of fathers.
Pray against abandonment and rejection.