Blessings on you, and particular blessings be upon our fathers at Providence Church.
The Bible is a covenantal book. It is all centered on this divine covenant made by the Father, Son, and Spirit. And that covenant relationship is then to be imitated by God’s people at all times. It is no wonder that there is a very close connection between a man and his children in the Bible, because it mirrors the relationship between God the Father and all his adopted children. In fact, Job chapter one provides a picture this fatherly responsibility and relationship:
His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
We find here a description of a godly, covenantal father. He is blameless and upright, according to verse one. This does not mean he is perfect in a human sense, but righteous in a godly sense as one who lives faithful to his God. He offers a sacrifice, not to receive forgiveness for his parenting failures, but for the sake of his children. Job took the time after feasting and rejoicing to offer a sacrifice for each of his ten children. This is a father who petitions for his children that they would find refuge in the forgiveness of God. He even prays on account of what any of his children might have done in their hearts. He prays that if they should break the Lord’s commandments they would seek and find forgiveness.
A faithful father needs to not only pray for himself, but also for his family. The father prays the Lord’s Prayer for his family: that God would lead them not into temptation, but deliver them from evil. This is not to take away the responsibility of children to seek forgiveness themselves and to find refuge in God alone, but that the father has the responsibility to be an example, a model of faithfulness before his family.
Wives submit to your husbands in love, encourage them daily in their labors, because God has placed a heavy responsibility on the man of the house. Children honor your father, because he is to provide for you an environment where grace is modeled and repentance is seen. Woe to the father who is arrogant; woe to the father who never utters the phrase “Please, forgive me.” Woe to the father who overlooks the affairs of the home, while prizing more his job and career. But blessed is the father who rises early to speak to God on behalf of his family; who prays that God would honor his labors, and who seeks God day and night. That father is blessed. His children will surround him with love, and they will feast with him in his house.
Let us pray:
O, Lord, I pray on behalf of the fathers in this congregation: strengthen us that we may show the world the joy of living our children, pouring affection on our brides, and cleansing our homes, so we may serve and worship you in your holy temple, even on this day, Amen.