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A Family’s Honor and Issues

We’ve often heard that the Old Testament primarily uses the Father-child relationship to picture God’s relationship with a nation (Hos 11:1). It is  a collective, chosen family that is given the hope of a mysterious King/Son who then in turn is referred to as “Everlasting Father” (Psa 110:1) ( Isa 9:6).

But it is primarily the New Testament that encourages us to think of our God in the most intimate of terms (Rom 8:15) (Gal 4:6). Even today in Israel you can hear little children calling their father “abba” in the sense of “daddy” or even “papa”.

We’ve talked in the past repeatedly about this wonderful-problematic way of speaking of our God. Some find it helpful and are moved toward God through personal experience with a healthy (though far from perfect), loving, protecting, and providing father. Others find that they can’t think warmly of God using such a term because they cannot shake the memories of emotional distance, abuse, or abandonment that is a part of their story.

So why does the New Testament take such a risk while acknowledging the difference between God and human fathers? (Heb 12:9) Am guessing that the answer, whether we think it works for us or not, is that Jesus came to renew and redeem our understanding of what it means to have a Father who loves us perfectly (Hebrews 12:5-12).

That answer does not require us to admit that everything that Jesus did and said is endearing. As we have noted together in the past, because of what we don’t understand about his love and wisdom, so many things that Jesus said, can sound off-putting, alarming, and even unloving.

Yet that’s why its so important for us to see how this Story plays out at the foot of a Roman Cross; at the mouth of an empty tomb; and then on the lakeshore of Galilee where Jesus restores and expresses his love for those who had abandoned and even denied him in his darkest hour, and deepest expression of love (Heb 12:2).

It was when he suffered and died in our place to bear the condemnation in our place for all of our sins, that he redeemed the word “papa”, “daddy”, and “father”, in the most infinite, eternal, and personal of terms.

The price to redeem our fallen relationships was messy. It was bloody, and agonizingly more terrible than the awful, inhuman, things that happen in war. Yet that’s the realism of how far our Father went to make it possible for us to know that (even if we can’t feel it now), the term Father will eventually enable the whole Family in heaven and earth to know and honor what it means to have a Parent—in the best of terms–rather than the worst.

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16 Responses to “A Family’s Honor and Issues”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    My father’s dad died when my dad was about 5 or 6 years old, his mother sent he and his 3 year old brother to an orphanage because she was unable to care for them. When she eventually remarried, the man she married went to the orphanage and brought the boys home.

    This unfortunate event created a better father for me, my dad loved me and though he had his faults the care and concern for his children was never one of them.

    I have often thought of my dad’s step father, I remember him though he died when I was about 10, like my own father he had his faults, but it was he who understood the situation correctly and went and rescued my father and uncle from the orphanage.

    My own father never forgot that and defended his step father through any faults others may have found in him.

    I choose today to remember these men in the light of the good men they could be and the love they showed by action.

    I too have tried to be as good a father to my son as I am able to be, my reward is the love I receive from him and that is always enough.


  2. SFDBWV says:

    In thinking more of Mart’s directed questions; I never thought of it as a “risk” that God is described as our Heavenly Father, given the fact that so many earthly fathers have done so badly at being a father, some no more than the seed to generate more of their kind.

    Thinking about the technicalities of the OT, the word for God written in the Hebrew tongue is masculine; in Genesis 6: 2, 4 the sons of God are mentioned, if God has sons and is masculine, then He is a Father, and Psalms 68:5 says of God that He is a Father to the fatherless, and in Psalms 89: 26 the author describes God as his Father, his God and the Rock of his salvation.

    To what may seem as harsh treatment to the people in the stories of the OT from God can in the fullness of the story be seen as the foundation of the perfect act of love given and shown in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. A Father who gives His only Son for the salvation of all those who don’t deserve it. Keeping the view that we all are loved by our Father and Creator and all of us are His sons and daughters.

    In Matthew 5: 44,45 Jesus says of us to be like our Heavenly Father and so His Children; in Matthew 6: 9 Jesus leads us into prayer by identifying who it is we are praying to “Our Father”.

    In John 14 and 15 Jesus has a lot to say concerning His Father.

    There is no risk found here in telling us about who God is and what we can expect of Him as His children.


  3. cherielyn says:

    I am very fortunate to have had a wonderful Christian father. We lost him in 2006, at the age of 86, and miss him so much. I have so many fond memories of him.

    In my growing up years I recall several incidents of friends who were not as fortunate as I. Two of them never knew who their fathers were. Another had a father who served in WWII and sustained head injuries so severe that he had to live in a veteran’s hospital the rest of his life. Because he was unable to fulfill his role as a father my friend, along with a sister and two brothers, grew up devoid of having a father relationship.

    Another friend, whom I just met in the past 5 years, had an alcoholic father. At the age of 12 she was pushed out of the home to fend for herself. For her entire teen years she went from one friend’s home or barn to another. Some of the parents were sympathetic to her circumstances and would welcome her into their homes for a few days or weeks. Then she would have to move on to yet another friend. When she stayed in the barns of some friends they would sneak food and blankets out to her, the parents totally unaware of what was taking place.

    As a result, because my friend does not know the love and protection of an earthly father, she has a very skewed view of God as a Father. I have been witnessing to her for 5 years and pray that the time will eventually come that she will be open to the Gospel and the true love of God. For now, she is very confused and hardened because of her life experiences. Please pray for her. Her name is Corinne.

  4. billystan121 says:

    In the June 16 devotion in Our Daily Bread Albert Lee Gave a commentary relative to this topic. Albert wrote, “When I was a child,someone close to me thought they could motivate me to do better by frequently asking, “‘Why are you so stupid?'”
    AS a child and teen, that is the kind of comment I heard almost every day. I come from an abusive home , where beatings and sexual abuse seemed normal. I remember thinking that all families were like that.
    Mr. Lee uses Psalm 139 as a source for his commentary. I agree wholeheartedly. Verse 14 was his main focus and it says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
    When I came to know Christ as my personal Lord and savior this verse and many others implanted in me a desire to forgive. They daily give me the courage to carry on and praise God’s wonderful name. I’ve found forgiveness to be a mighty and powerful weapon against Satan in my life. Matthew 5:12 says, “and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
    I have learned to forgive and God has taken my hardened heart and turned into jell-o. I frequently thank God for the attribute of forgiveness and it makes a huge difference in my daily life.


  5. poohpity says:

    King David gave us an example of what a lack of discipline with his son’s did. They ran all over him and tried to take his kingdom away plus many other difficulties within the family. Discipline or correction is different than being authoritarian which is what some have pictured our God to be. Discipline and correction shows love, authoritarianism displays control.

    Had I never went to college I do not think I would have learned that our parents just teach what they have learned. By doing a genealogy not just to learn about who we came from, but we did it to learn how our parents were parented and the things that happened as they grew up. That brought a new understanding as to why they parented as they parented. I learned a lot about things that happened in the 10’s, 20’s and 30’s but one thing that was so important was I learned more about my grandparents and parents from a different perspective.

    Eight months before my dad died he called and said he wished he would have been there more for us. That alone just knocked my socks off for him to admit to a mistake was a first for him. I asked him if he thought he did better than what his parents did to him and he said yes. I told him he only did what he knew how to do and everyone makes mistakes but he learned from what had happened to him.

    At first with God I looked at Him like my earthly dad, He is in fact there for us all the time as a protector and provider which is how my dad was but I am learning that he is here emotionally as well. I wish I could say that I have got that altogether that God loves me no matter what I do and I wish I still did not feel I have to earn that love but that is still a work in progress but I know God will not give up until I know that He is there in all areas.

  6. inhisword says:

    In response to Steve, AKA, SFDBWV
    To new believers and unbelievers alike, Scripture first appeals to us at face value. Only traveling upon the tough road to Calvary ourselves do we begin to understand the Spiritual depths of the human parallel, such as the parables themselves. Without carrying our cross daily,the topical text becomes religion. I am familiar with this aspect of Mart’s gifting and equipping, thoroughly enjoying His role as an advocate for those on that road. He so beautifully relates to the difficulties experienced by the flesh trying to reconcile the examples used of this physical world against what Christ will ultimately work out in them as they persevere.

  7. SFDBWV says:

    Inhisword, as I read you comments directed at me I sense a rebuke. What is your point?


  8. SFDBWV says:

    In continuing to attempt to answer Mart’s question “So why does the New Testament take such a risk..?

    Jesus say’s in John 14: 9 that he who has seen Him has seen the Father. So to segue into Mart’s next thoughts “that answer does not require us to admit that everything Jesus did and said was endearing.”

    Any father has at some point attempted to warn their children of the dangers they can get into only to be ignored. No loving father will set idly by and let their child harm themselves, yet this is the poison and *risk* of free will.

    If after warnings and perhaps even disciplinary action the free will of children pushes them into harms way, all a father can do is be there to pick up the pieces and do what can be done to help the child then.

    Many a parent has buried their wayward children because they would not listen to wisdom and good advice.

    This is a reality in this world and this level of existence.

    The words of God the words of Christ are a loving warning to those who would push past good advice and follow their own free will into the dangers God warns us of.

    The great difference in this matter between our Heavenly Father and we earthly fathers is that God can hit the reset button and resurrect the dead to life, the crippled to a new body and the sick to health, we can not, though many of us would like to.

    God made this possible by His sacrifice at Calvary, and our hope is found there in this event by Christ. And so as we bury our dead and tend to our sick and injured we find that our hope is not in this world, but in the world to come promised by the one we trust who died on the cross at Calvary.


  9. davids says:

    I enjoyed reading Mart’s text, and your replies. But I see that Mart only put one question mark in the text, halfway along, which he mainly seems to answer in the following paragraphs.

    It seems an awkward point that when there was the most contention and offended feelings that this blog had the greatest participation. Says something about our nature, I suppose.

    Blessings to all.

  10. poohpity says:

    Parenting sometimes is hard especially when we have to say no, correct, discipline or hold them accountable for their behavior. The children normally resent it until they mature and have children of their own then they understand. There are many times that even as adults we resent or get angry when we are corrected or held accountable I guess thinking we do not ever need it when we really do.

    So it seems to me that there are times when we do not understand the things God does or have the wisdom to fully get all that happens or how He works. Laying down the highest place in all creation to be a human and walk with humans speaks volumes about the love that is held for us. To teach the meaning of what is written in the OT by example to a stiff necked bunch leaving heaven to be with us not to even mention the death He suffered is at times hard for me even to get my mind around but He did. A complete love. We often feel love is that fuzzy feeling you get towards another but His love showed that it is more than a feeling it is having to do the hard things as well, things that we may view in a negative context but are ultimately the best thing for ALL included.

  11. poohpity says:

    Ooooops forgot it was 118 here today, do not believe the news weather, it is taken in the shade, lol.

    Be a blessing!!

  12. saled says:

    Maybe the reason that God took the risk of describing himself as Father is to help us realize our place as children. Mark 10:15 “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

    Research has shown that our abilities to learn and form trusting relationships depends on the quality of the bond that develops between parent and child. Many of us struggle because we lacked the kind of bonding experience with our parents that would have set us up to become successful adults.

    Maybe this is what it means to be born again, to admit that there is something fundamentally wrong with us that only God can fix, and then trust Him to do it. That Father-child relationship is possible because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

  13. SFDBWV says:

    “Been Thinking About with Mart DeHaan and friends”

    Mart poses a thought, sometimes asks questions without answers and sometimes gives his answers, but then invites us all to join in the thought and gives us the opportunity to voice our own thoughts along the subject he has posed.

    There are no right or wrong responses only our views and thoughts all looked at from a mixture of people who may all see things in a different light.

    We may learn from each other we may agree and we may not, but if we just read Mart’s thoughts and express none of our own and believe that Mart has said it all, then we just as well be reading one of the other sites on RBC and give no opinion.

    That is not what Mart wants here on this site, he wants to hear what we think, even when we may disagree with him or each other, as long as we do so with a little class; that is my opinion at least.

    Why has God been given the title Father in the scripture? Could it be because He is the creator of all things? Could it be because we tend to look at a father as a protector and provider? Could it be because God wants fathers to have a nature such as He? Could it be because that is what He is “our heavenly Father”? The list can go on and only we the participants of this *blog* can add to it.

    I will do my best to interact with Mart’s topics and with others as time will allow.

    It is a very warm morning in the mountains 57 degrees with a nice gentle breeze, going to get hot today all the way up to 80….I though you might get a laugh out that pooh.


  14. foreverblessed says:

    Davids, indeed, Mart had a well rounded article, I didn’t see what I could add to it, but now after you comment I will say some:
    I have 3 friends who have had a hard time with their dad, and they are christian more then 10 years, and still struggling.
    With these things I pray, come Holy Spirit come, and enlighten our hearts, let us see how to have a breakthrough.

  15. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve is right on. Although this blog does give me a chance to express what I’ve been thinking… the real value is in our interaction together… with different perspectives, but with a shared desire to grow together in what it means to be the children of one Father.

    Am planning to post something else in a bit.

  16. poohpity says:

    Steve, I know your hot includes humidity so I do not really know which one is worse, lol. I just can not go barefoot in mine or I get blisters. I have not reverted to frying my eggs outside, yet. ;-)

    The native Americans here refer to the earth as the Mother and God as Our Father. I think because man was formed from the earth but all else was spoken into existence. I found that so interesting since they did not have the written Word to explain that, they just knew. To me it shows that God has a way of talking to all His creation like in the times before Moses received the Word to write down and when Job was written.

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