Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Father-God is a name used by some in place of the name Heavenly-Father. It's use has been brought about by the teaching designed to deal with the absentee biological fathers of the last two or three generations. Promise-Keepers has had speakers who have personalized even further this thought by calling God, Daddy.

Our concept of the fatherhood of God is largely shaped by our having lived with earthly fathers. It is in this context that the greatest of error can occur. Our earthly fathers can not emulate the sovereignty, grace and love, nor the justness, of God. In this we see the vastness of the separation between these two models of fatherhood. Our earthly fathers are more aligned with a model denoting authority, protection, security, well-fare, a teaching of the goodness of God, the affirmation and establishment of the husband/wife, male/female relationship, the concept of brotherhood/friendship, provision, work-ethic, basically those things linked to life and successful and productive living.

It is in the father/son relationship and that relationship predominantly distorted by cultural (alcohol abuse, pornography,etc.) and preexisting conditions (prior father/son relationships) that the damage done in terms of a representation of authority, the distorted abuse of authority, that blessing and from that a projection of God's goodness and grace has been done. The names given in this perversion are discipline, teaching a life of hard-knocks, tough-love (a boy named Sue), and dealing with the issues of teen rebellion and control. It is a requirement of fathers to deal with these issues, 'spare the rod, spoil the child'...but.

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly', however they should not be dealt with in a manner which falsifies or debases the role of father, or in the long-term makes a son's coming to terms with his furtherance in the Christian life or acceptance of God as a father-figure a hindrance.

Ephes. 6:4 ...and you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Col. 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Fathers are to be a source of strength and provide a security which forms a springboard to face life's challenges and the ability to move into the fullness of manhood.

The Fatherhood of God is represented in the passing or transference of the authority of the parent to act and intervene on behalf of the child, to the child being empowered to decide and determine the actions best suited for themselves. The recognition of the mature, essential characteristics of the son, being a partaker of the nature of the father, and in that, the observance of the needed qualities of manhood, is requisite to enduing confidence in the son and his capacity and ability to ensure the best interests of the family are maintained. This is best exemplified by what is known in the Bible as 'the blessing of the father'. The blessing of the father was a powerful mandate, it included the inheritance; the placement of the man as a patriarch, rightfully; the father stretching out to forgive; the father expressing remorse for errors of omission and commission; the recognition of manhood, deservedly, proudly, with affirming; the shouldering of faith, promise, pain and love as a privilege and consequence of position; the acceptance of the responsibility for the future prosperity of the family, as a resolute covenant; the legitimating of authority, with design; What shackles are undone? what fetters released? what dreams unleashed? what aspirations are freed?

There is symbolism in the role of father as a model of rescue, that the failings of the child and the consequences from those failings are met with unconditional love.The father not requiting the sins of the son, understanding the process of growth and pain, and not holding aloof benevolence and security, or the opportunity for rescue from failings. The placing of conditions for acceptance is an attempt to align the thoughts, to make forcefully compliant the thoughts, attitudes and actions of an otherwise free-spirited and God-created individual. The false concept of creation being the sole property of the father and the deterministic attitude borne of that attitude refutes the charitable and altruistic characteristics of God. The abuse of authority is most prevalent in these situations, seeing the sons without options or opportunity to fully express themselves within the context of the father/son relationship, seeing the sons never realizing the full potential as a result of the strictures and boundaries imposed from never having freedom within the father/son relationship; i.e. the bestowing of the right of decision; the allowing of liberty, passage; the giving of permission to act in one's self-interest; the conceding of the entitlement to submission; the granting of consent to the willfulness of youth; to allow a son to be absent. These are the hard things. The lack of control, the affront caused by the resistance of the son, the defensive posture of the son, combined with a selfish autotheist attitude (I may be too harsh) has to come to grips with the needs of the son to move, to attain, to build, to fall and to rise up again. These are the things needed for survival and health both for the son, the family and for community.

There lies within the father/son model the importance of grace. It is touched on in benevolence, and rescue, and unconditional love. It goes beyond these matters to the positioning of the father as a person of understanding; a position of relational astuteness to the nuances of life; a man in like manner to the son; a fellow traveler, a companion, a wise mentor; a person in whom you can find comfort; a brother-in-arms; in a little used word of great significance, gratefulness or gratitude. Ingratitude is a poison to a relationship, it negates grace by the lack of acceptance, the distrust of the intent of the giver, placing conditions or terms on endearment. Grace finds it's strength in the motivations of the giver. Grace does not have a claw-back clause, it has as an intent the health, and wellness of the receiver of the gift and the benefit bestowed without regard for the end-use. There is in this concept of end-use the situational possibilities for vulnerability, exposure, frailty, disregard, and betrayal with regard to the giver. Grace shown creates equal and alternative options for either the perceived benefit to be obtained or a consequential slighting of the giver in the misuse,(possibly a detrimental outcome) or refusal to accept the gift.

A vision of the fatherhood of God has to do away with fear, anxiety, oppression, suppression and doubt. The human capacity to model this in real life is close to, if not entirely impossible. The reality of the vision for fatherhood may lie in the Son. The relationship of the walk to the talk.

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