Father’s Day is on June 19, which will serve to remind us that it is good to honour our fathers. The Bible actually says we should honour our parents all the time. It is not a suggestion but a commandment: “Honour your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you!” (Exodus 10:12)
One of the explanations for the origins of Father’s Day is that a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea of honouring and celebrating her father while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church in 1909. She felt as though mothers were getting all the acclaim while fathers were equally deserving of a day of praise also.
Today, however, we live in a culture that makes fathers look so useless, so irrelevant. Television programs make men in general and fathers in particular look like irresponsible fools. This may seem funny to those who produce and watch the shows, and yet it is tragic.
The Bible is clear that fathers are—or should be—spiritual leaders in the home and should be honoured. At the same time, the Bible does not hide the fact that there have been some bad fathers. A few examples from the Bible:
Eli was a permissive father and, because of his tolerance of sin, God had to deal with him: “For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.” (1 Samuel 3:13)
God had to deal with Samuel because he failed to confront the sins of his son who did not walk in God’s way (see 1 Samuel 8:1-6).
David had three spoiled sons: Amon, Absalom and Adonijah. All three faced an early death because of sin.
Then there are example of great fathers in the Bible:
Job was part of his children’s life, socially and spiritually, and would rise early in the morning to offer burnt offerings according to the number of his children. Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” (Job 1:4-5)
Jairus was a concerned father who humbled himself even though he was a ruler of the Synagogues, and he went to Jesus to ask Him to come to his home as his daughter needed help. Jairus’ daughter actually owed her life to her father for his faith that led him to Jesus.
Someone may ask: “How can I honour a man who abused my mother and his children?” There are those who don’t even want to be reminded of their fathers. And there are others who never knew or hardly saw their father or his love and protection for them.
Let’s not forget that even good fathers are not perfect. There is no perfect father except the One in Heaven. The Bible says: “God is a father to the fatherless, and defender of widows.” (Psalm 68:5) God is our Heavenly Father because He created us all. In the first chapter of Genesis we read: “So God created man in His image, in the image of God he
created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
Isaiah, addressing God, said: “You, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 63:16, 64:8)
The Prophet Malachi said: “Have we not all one Father? Did not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10)
Our Heavenly Father cares for His children, He loved us so much that He gave his Son to save us from eternal death. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
How much are we praying for our children? How much time are we giving to teach them and discipline them? Let’s look again at David and his children.
He Was Too Busy
Rich Murphy writes: “Parenting takes a lot of time. It is impossible to properly train a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6) without investing a lot of time. If we, as fathers, are too busy with our work and our lives, we’ll never succeed in being good dads.”
He Wasn’t Involved
We saw in Adonijah’s life that David never asked him, “Why did you do that?” Instead, he let his sons go their own way, without worrying about the consequences. Children whose fathers aren’t involved in their lives go their own way to the path of hell.
He Didn’t Discipline
While I don’t think the Bible would tell us every action of David’s life, it does tell us enough to know that he didn’t discipline his children for their misdeeds. This is most obvious with Absolom. First he committed murder, then he raised up a rebellion, and all David said was: “Treat him gently.” If we, as parents, don’t discipline our children, the world will. And, the world’s discipline will be much harder than ours.
He Gave Them Everything
Like many parents, David misunderstood love as satisfying someone’s every whim. But true love is more interested in what someone needs than in what they want. David indulged his children to the point that they thought they should have whatever they wanted.
It is a great honour be a father, and yet there are great responsibilities. Of course, a father must provide for the material but there are also other needs, some more important. Fathers must teach their children about God while the children are young, They should lead them to the Lord Jesus and talk to them about the need to surrender their lives to Christ.
Even if your children are grown and gone, continue to pray and help them walk godly lives. If you are a grandfather, uncle or a mentor, you still can help the young people in your life find real peace and salvation in this corrupt world.
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian