Lord willing, Valeria and I will have our 5th child in April. We are looking forward to it. But we also realize that having 5 kids is a big responsibility.
I love the quote by the late Jim Valvano “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
I want to be a good father to our children.
I recently spent time observing Abraham as a father to Isaac in Genesis 22. There are several key passages in God’s word on parenting and fatherhood (Psalm 127 and Ephesians 6:1-4 just to name two), but I believe that Genesis 22:5-8 is one of the best passages in all of Scripture on fatherhood.
Here are 4 thoughts on Fatherhood from Genesis 22:5-8:
- The son was led by his father to worship. In Genesis 22:5 Abraham says “I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” Can you picture the power of a dad who speaks like this? Very few boys or sons in the world have ever heard a dad say this. Few have heard their dad say “Lets go to church.” But what about “We’re going to worship.” That is a strong statement. Many dads lead their sons well. Sons treasure being led by their fathers. I have heard my dad say often “Come on son, lets go help your mom.” Or “Come on Josh, lets go mow the yard.” Or “Come on, lets go play corn hole.” I want to be like Abraham in that I lead my sons to worship God.
- The son was aware of his father’s devotion and obedience to God. In Genesis 22:6 Abraham is doing everything that God has asked him to do. The whole story of Abraham in Genesis, which covers chapters 12-25, is full of Abraham obeying God. And Isaac, his son, is right there observing all of it. Isaac knew he was loved by his dad. There was no question about that. In verse 22:2 God says to Abraham “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love.” Yet Isaac knew that his father, Abraham, loved God even more. He was meticulous in obeying all that God had told him. In 22:12 God acknowledges Abraham’s devotion to God. While I want my children to know that I love them dearly, I also desire that they clearly observe in me a greater devotion and love for God.
- The son understood his father’s faith and practice. In Genesis 22:7 Isaac observes “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” What a great question? Many children have no idea why their parents are religious. Or why their fathers do what they do. Many sons today have no idea what their fathers believe. In this passage, Abraham is getting ready to offer a sacrifice to God. And Isaac is not sitting in the car waiting. Isaac is not disengaged while consumed by his phone. Isaac is there. He is aware. He understands. And he is even pointing out to his dad that there is a key element missing. This is remarkable. Many fathers today have very little devotion to God and that which they do have has not carried over to their children. I want to be like Abraham in that his son understood his faith in and devotion to God.
- The father wholeheartedly trusted God. In Genesis 22:8, in response to Issac’s question/observation in verse 7, Abraham boldly answers “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” This is one of the greatest verses in all of the Bible on fatherhood. Abraham had no idea where the lamb for the offering would come from. But he believed God (Genesis 15:6). And in the meantime he was faithful to obey God, trusting that God would provide the lamb. The rest of the passage, verses 9-14, show God doing just that – providing the lamb for the offering. There is nothing better for a son than for his father to wholeheartedly trust and believe in God. With all of my sins and with all of my sons sins, may I continually assure them that God indeed has provided a sacrificial lamb. That’s Jesus!
May God make us fathers who point our children to Jesus!