Abraham, A Pattern of A Godly Father
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 18:1, 17-19
Sunday 18th June 2017
As we celebrate Father’s Day today, let me begin by congratulating all the Fathers in the house. We recognise the place of Fathers in the home. The sacrifices made, the price paid, the commitment, loyalty, love, support and devotion.
John Maxwell says: ‘Everything rises and falls on leadership’. ‘As goes the Father, so goes the family, community and nation’ is another quote that you may have heard over the last couple of years. If fatherhood is gotten right, then a whole lot can be amended in society. This message is a great opportunity to sharpen the cutting edge of fathers.
Here is a ‘Confessions of a Dad’, that I came across recently: ‘My family are all grown and all my kids are gone, but if I have to do it all over again, this is what I’ll do: I will love my wife more in front of my children, I will spend more quality time with my family, I will inspire my children by my lifestyle, I will pray differently for my family, I will encourage my children more, I will discipline my children only in love, I will do more things together with my children, I will listen more to my children, I will laugh with my children more - at our mistakes and at our joy, If I can do it all over again, I will share God more intimately with my family’. Let these words inspire all Dads to make the necessary amendments in our family lives.
Here is Genesis 18:1, 17-19 which reads: ‘Then the Lord appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."
Abraham lived around ungodly people – right from his childhood in the Ur of the Chaldeans until the time when God called him in Haran. His obedience to God led him and his family to Canaan. In the passage above, the Lord visited him once again as he sojourned in Mamre – a suburb close to Sodom and Gomorrah. He was surrounded by spiritual darkness. Yet this did not inhibit God from using him, as the conduit for righteousness. His life story is similar to the spiritual climate in which we find ourselves today, as Christians.
In Genesis 1:26, we read of God’s original intent for humankind: ‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God’s quest for a man to fulfil this mandate eventually narrowed down to Abraham. Although naturally, Abraham did not qualify or merit this grand position, God’s grace qualified him for this (See Genesis 17:1-8). Filling the world with godly people, God’s priority for Abraham is also His desire for us today.
God expects that our world will be transformed through Godly fatherhood. Verse 19 gives us an insight into what God did through Abraham to transform his generation. Here is the Message translation: “Yes, I’ve settled on him as the one to train his children and future family to observe GOD’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that GOD can complete in Abraham what he promised him.” Genesis 18:19 (MSG).
Let us take a closer look at this scripture as we draw out five truths that distinguishes a godly father:
(a) Chosen by God (I have known Him): This phrase: ‘I have known Him’ signifies that each father has been chosen and appointed by God. Jeremiah 1:5 puts it this way: ‘“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Abraham did not possess any experience that qualified Him to be chosen as a vessel to fulfil God’s mandate. In the same way, Godly fathers did not merit the choice God made in qualifying each of us. Each father is on assignment – God’s candidate to fulfil His divine purpose. You were chosen not by the wisdom of man but by God’s divine wisdom. Each father must embrace this fundamental truth.
(b) Called to be responsible: Here is Genesis 18:19 once again: ‘For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him." Abraham’s calling was to command his children and household. In other words, he was called to take responsibility. As Fathers, each of us have been called to take responsibility. To command is to take charge, take responsibility, to lead and guide. In the same way, we are called as fathers to lead our children and our entire responsibility. There are three areas where responsibility must be taken: Training, Discipline and empowerment. Let’s look at these three points quickly: Training: Proverbs 22:6 reads: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it’. Each child has a specific way that God has ordained for him/her to go, and it will be unwise to compare a child with another one. Find out from God what He has ordained for each child and train accordingly. Give Spiritual knowledge: Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Teach them the word of God, about having a relationship with the Holy Spirit, depending on the grace of God and so much more. Give Moral Knowledge: Teach them Love, Obedience, Honesty, Integrity, Respect for others. H. Jackson Brown said: “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” Here is a quote from Clarence Budinton Kelland: ‘My father didn’t tell me how to live, he lived and let me watch him do it’. Give intellectual knowledge: Give them adequate education that you can afford. Expose them to intellectually stimulating and challenging environments; develop a reading culture at home. Develop their reading, writing and creative skills by rewarding their consistencies. Take them out on excursions and to tourist places. Give Social Knowledge: Teach Social graces and politeness – thank you, please, you are welcome. Teach hygiene, orderliness and appearances. Teach Economic Knowledge: Teach your child how to manage his/her pocket money. Teach them to save. Discipline: Another form of training is discipline, but it ought to be carried out in love. Every child must be moulded through discipline to become a better person. Here is Proverbs 29:15: ‘To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child’. (Also see Hebrews 11:6, Proverbs 13:24, 1 Kings 1:5-6). Empowerment: Proverbs 13:22 reads: ‘A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous’. David empowered Solomon with resources to construct the temple. Every child ought to begin life from an advantaged position, as a result of the hard work of his/her parents.
(c) Model Christ to your children: There is a phrase in Genesis 18:19 that we need to take another close look at: ‘For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him." This statement implies that as a father, Abraham is already following intimately after God. Moreover, here is the big question: ‘Can it truly be said that our children and household should follow after our footsteps?’ Our children must look at us and see Christ.
(d) Establishing your children in God’s way: Our children must be seen to be keeping the ways of God, observing righteousness and justice in all that they do, as they follow us.
(e) Fulfilment of divine Purpose: God’s ultimate intention is to fill the earth with godly children. Our obedience to God’s instructions will ultimate result in the fulfilment of this divine purpose.
May the Lord enable each father to live in accordance with what He has preordained, so that it may be said of us we lived just like Abraham – a godly father in an ungodly world.
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