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Monday, June 20, 2005

God of the fathers

I trust that all you fathers had a wonderful Father’s day with your loved ones. For the past few weeks I have been writing about mothers of the Bible, so now with Fathers’ day behind us, I think it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention something about fathers and their place in our lives.

Fathers are tough, or most of them are, but they, too, need the guidance and strength that can come only from their Heavenly Father. A father who thinks he is too much of a man to pray or go to church is depriving himself -and his family- of one of the greatest benefits, which is, godly counsel. In Psalm 63:1, David said, " ... early will I seek thee: my soul longeth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;"

David knew the benefits of seeking God’s face regularly not only for counsel, but for comfort. Because even big, rugged men need to be comforted. When the storms of life come against you, as they did for David many times, you need comfort. You may try to mask your feelings with a macho outlook, but inside you hurt just as women do.

Abraham, called by God to be the "father of many nations", also knew the benefits of staying close to God. So much so, that he was called a "friend" of God. And the Lord said, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgement; ..."( Genesis 18:19).

Such was the confidence that God had in Abraham. And He can have that same confidence in fathers of today if they would seek His face the way Abraham did. But not only did Abraham seek God, he obeyed him in everything, even to the point of taking his only son Isaac to sacrifice him, as the Lord had commanded.

Our society today is in dire need of strong, godly fathers. In many homes the fathers are missing, and in some they are missing in action. Many juvenile offenders come from homes like these. What type of father are you? Are you missing or missing in action? Ask God to bring you back so you can fulfill your divine destiny as the head of the home. If every father would begin to do this we will see a turnaround in our nation and in the world. How about it?

Monday, June 06, 2005

God of the Wilderness

We have been looking at mothers who were rewarded by God for their outstanding acts of faith and sacrifice. This week I want to look at a woman who showed neither, but we shall see what God did in her life.

Hagar was the Egyptian maidservant of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. But Sarah, who was too old to have any children, one day had a bright idea. She thought, why don’t I give my maid to my husband so we can have a family through her? So she sold her idea to Abraham who bought it, and Hagar became pregnant.

Hagar’s status changed overnight, and she became disrespectful to her mistress, who in turn, mistreated her and Hagar fled into the desert. But the angel of the Lord spoke to Hagar and told her to go back to her mistress and submit to her and that "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude" (Genesis 16: 10).

So Hagar went back to Sarah, and she bore Abraham a son just as the angel had prophesied. Life went on smoothly after that until Sarah bore her own son, Isaac, whom God had promised. Sarah asked Abraham to put Hagar and her son out saying, "... the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac" (Genesis 21:10).

Once again Hagar found herself wandering in the wilderness, this time with her son and only some bread and a bottle of water. But soon the water bottle became empty, so Hagar placed the child under some shrubs and went and lay down a little way off and wept. But once more an angel of God came to her rescue. He told her to pick up the boy and her eyes were opened and she saw a well of water. The angel again promised, "I will make him a great nation" (v 18).
So the boy Ishmael’s life was spared.

There are many Hagars in our society today. Some of them were raped and became pregnant, or some of them might be unwed mothers, still others might be divorced mothers bringing up their children alone. We might call them unfortunate, victims of circumstance, being in the wrong place at the wrong time or whatever. If you are a Hagar today I hope that this discourse will help you to take heart. God will look after you. He will be with you in your wilderness experience. He will hear your cry, and He will save your children.