Bible Order: Numbers 32–33
Chronological Order: Leviticus 26–27
New Testament Only: Mark 4:10–41
Your Father Is Trying To Raise You Right!
I’m sure you’ve noticed subheadings in your Bible before. From time to time you see a paragraph proceeded by a short title. These titles are not from the original manuscript. The folks that put together your particular translation have created those as a way to summarize the text to follow.
In today’s reading, in my Bible, I see the title “Blessings for Obedience” just before Leviticus 26:1 and I see “Punishment for Disobedience” just before Leviticus 26:14. I can’t tell you how often I have been in the process of correcting and disciplining my daughter only to hear the Holy Spirit say to me “Your right; and you’ve been guilty of that too.”
God has taught me a great deal about how I am too relate to Him as I attempt to teach my daughter how she is to relate to me. Since this blog is supposed to delve into what it means to be a “Godly Man” I think we need to chat a little about being a “Godly Father”. This is one of the roles we are to fulfill. I have written before about the fact that my daughter isn’t mine, she is the Lord’s. He put her in my care. He expects me to be a good steward of His daughter.
I love this little girl and would, without hesitation, lay down my life to preserve hers, but we are not equals. She needs guidance and protection. She is under my authority. She is supposed to obey me and show respect to me. I have found myself, at times, angry with my daughter because I believe her behavior was disrespectful or because she was disobedient. Far too often I am angry because I am focused on me instead of being focused on her.
My daughter is to be respectful and obedient to me because God put her under my authority, not because I am worthy of respect and obedience. The problem is I can forget that I am supposed to model Christ for her. My behavior is supposed to be sacrificial toward her not over-bearing or domineering. Now Christ didn’t come to be my slave. He didn’t come to do my bidding. He came to save me from the punishment I deserve and to call me into right relationship with Him. That is what we are to do with our children. We are not their slave; we don’t “work” for them.
My daughter is a sweet, loving, wonderful girl and when she is respectful and obedient the world is bliss for both of us. When she violates the rules of correct behavior I must call her back into right relationship. I do not punish her because she is annoying me or because I had a bad day at the office; or at least I’m not supposed to.
Notice how God says He will discipline us. If we don’t obey He will make our life uncomfortable. If we continue to disobey He will make life a little more uncomfortable. Between Leviticus 26:14-39 God increases the discipline five times. Ultimately we are given over to the results of our disobedience. Verse 40-46, however, show us that God stands ready to take us back like the Father of the Prodigal Son when we turn back to right relationship with Him. His ultimate purpose in disciplining to begin with is to return us to right relationship with Him.
That is our role as fathers; return our children to right relationship with God. Notice I did not say “to us”. Why? Because I think it is important for us to remember the ultimate goal and that it isn’t about us. God tells us a number of times that we are to obey our parents so that it may go well for us. If I’m going to be a good steward of my child I must put her ultimate well-being above my own. By obeying and respecting me she is learning to obey and respect God; that is if I’m doing it right.
But let’s not forget the blessings. When we are in right relationship with God life is good; blessings flow. This does not mean that no one you love will ever get sick, or that you will never lose your job, or that you won’t ever experience a hardship. While today’s verses do imply that we can’t forget that Jesus told us we would suffer for His name and that we live in a fallen world. I mean that you will have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, Galatians 5:22-23. The real blessings are greater than the paltry materialism this world has to offer.
So fellas, I see here a lesson for us as followers of Christ and as fathers. Let’s obey Him in everything. Let us walk in His ways and let us teach our children to do the same by sacrificially bringing them into right relationship with God.
May God bless you as you do!
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 2/13/10)