On June 16, 2019, the USA has a special day to honor Fathers. Mothers’ Day is in May. I don’t know if a lot of other countries do Father’s Day, though many do the same date we have for Mother’s Day. In America, the origin of these days has no connection to ancient pagan days. Grown children wanted to honor their Father and, earlier, the mothers – and Congress eventually passed those days.
Since the 5th commandment is to honor father and mother, (Exodus 20:12) it is fitting and appropriate to have this special day. Since God the Father is the ultimate Father, there are several scriptures that compare our honoring a human father with honoring him. I may do a fresh sermon on that later today.
My father died in 1984 when I was only 31 yrs old, and my Mom died in 1993 when I was 40. I wish like anything I could be with them and honor them on these days and I miss them so. So many times, some people don’t realize what a gem they have in their father and mother until … until they are gone. Don’t let that be your regret, if you have a living father and mother. Be spending time with them now. Honoring them on a certain day each year will mean more if they know you honor them and spend time with them in person or on the phone all throughout the year.
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you”.
Let’s notice a couple things:
** It’s the transition command between the commands on how to love God and how to love man.
** God is also our Father.
** It does not say, HONOR your parents IF they are worthy of your honor in your opinion. It doesn’t say that. It just says to honor them for being your dad and mom. Our God gives no qualifiers. They qualify for honor simply by being your parents. I know in most situations, honor has to be earned. But in this case, God gave no qualifying standards. I realize that some few fathers may even be dangerous to be around, so perhaps you can’t be there with some fathers, but at least from a safe distance still honor the man. He’s your Father!
Fathers, on the other hand, let’s do our very best to BE worthy of our children’s love and honor. But “kids” – even if your dad lacks some virtues, our fathers are to be respected and honored.
There are many scriptures about honoring mom and dad.
** If someone curses, strikes or hits their father or mother, God said that child shall “surely be put to death”. That’s how seriously God considers such disrespect (Exodus 21:15, 17). Yeshua (Jesus) repeated that in Matthew 15:4-6.
Respect for parents is commanded (Leviticus 19:3), so much so that we are all to rise in the presence of the elderly and old people (Lev. 19:32). Do we always do that? That’s part of God’s instructions. Let’s start doing it. Solomon did for his mom Bathsheba – 1 Kings 2:19.
Instead of honoring dads, we see more and more commercials, movies and TV shows that mock “the old man” and portray him as stupid, ignorant, know-nothings. Don’t laugh along with such disrespect. Don’t participate in disrespectful comments and stories about dads. Just don’t.
** Children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20). And, at the same time, Fathers are told not to discourage or exasperate their children (Col 3:21).
So are YOU going to honor your Dad on Father’s Day? And really – honor him on every day? We believers certainly should.
There are certain minimal things – at least – that all children of any age should do for their father: Click on “Continue reading” to finish reading the rest of this blog and to see what we can learn from John the Baptist and what God says about fathers.
Here are just a few things for Father’s Day:
** Try to actually BE with your dad on Father’s day – unless he’s hundreds of miles away (or even more). Either go see him, or invite him over to your home for a barbecue perhaps. Make it a special day focused on Dad. Try to have some mementos or photos of special times you had with him and SAY how those times meant so much to you.
** FORGIVE him. Every human father has something to be forgiven of. Forgiving will do so much even for you. Most of us dads, certainly including me, so often feel we could have and should have done better as Dads. Knowing our children have forgiven us our times of being a poor example will go a long way.
My own father and I had a time when we were estranged from each other, partly because I came to different beliefs than he – but there were other things too. One day I decided to write him a heartfelt note of love and appreciation for all he had been and done for so many people, especially in the Philippines where I grew up. He wrote back saying how he cried and cried to read my letter over and over.
Then a few days after I received his reply, my mother called me. Dad had passed away.
I can’t tell you how glad I was that I had written that letter. Please my brothers and sisters in Christ, do it. Write that letter. Forgive and reconcile. They’re not the same thing. So many say they will forgive but don’t reconcile. God forgives us and in that forgiveness, also reconciles.
** If you can’t be with him, call him up. Don’t text. Call your dad. Spend more than just a minute or two on the phone. Let him hear your voice.
**Have something honoring to say to your dad. Come up with a memory, a story or two, that will let him know you really do love, honor and respect him. If you can’t say it, write it down in a card you give him. Don’t wait til Dad is DEAD to say nice things about him. Let him hear the kind comments while he’s alive! And some have a hard time saying “Dad, I sure love you”. Well, write it down then. It could change a life forever. Maybe yours too.
Maybe before you all eat dinner or barbecue, mention to God how thankful you are to have had YOUR father. Thank God for him and your mom, in his hearing. Then thank God our Father for being the Father of us all ultimately. Then hug your dad at the end of the prayer. If your children see you do this, it will be such a great example for them and they will remember it.
** PRAY FOR your dad and mom. Pray for their health, safety, protection – and, if they don’t know Christ yet, pray especially for that. Your prayers could make all the difference. In your prayers, also THANK God in heaven for Dad and Mom.
**Having a thoughtful gift says a lot too, but frankly, if you’re tight for money, something handmade might say even more than a store-bought gift. If you have children, let your children observe you keeping this commandment and get them involved in honoring your dad, their grandpa, as well.
**If mom or dad need some physical help as they age, or if they need some financial help, by all means honor them by helping as much as you can. Paul expects the children of aging parents to take care of them (1 Timothy 5). Yeshua had harsh comments for those who found ways not to give financial aid to needy parents (Mark 7:9-13).
In the last days, an Elijah work will cause the children of God to turn their hearts back to the One Living Father of the Redeemed—as well as to our Fathers in the faith -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And of course it refers also to our earthly fathers.
Malachi 4:5-6 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHWH. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
The Elijah work will be about turning hearts. I don’t know who the end-time will be. I know John the Baptist absolutely was a type of that Elijah – for Yeshua said so.
Matthew 17:11-13 “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, ELIJAH IS COMING first and will restore all things. 12 But I say to you that Elijah HAS come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands." 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.”
Notice that Yeshua says Elijah HAS come and WILL come, so that is why I believe there is yet an Elijah work. Concerning John the Baptist, he was commissioned with getting a bunch of people prepared for their God. Now look how the priorities applied to John the Baptizer. What was his first priority? Let’s read it. It was to turn people first back to God our Father.
Luke 1:16-17 is about John the Baptist – and, I feel, about the end time Elijah to come. Remember that every person who has God’s spirit is now part of the Israel of God” (Gal 6:16; Romans 2:28-29; Gal 3:26-29; Romans 8:14).
Luke 1:16-17 “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to TURN THE HEARTS of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Now notice what has to change first: the HEART. Our Father in heaven wants our hearts – and wants us to love him with all our hearts and to love our wife and our children with all our heart.
Now notice whose heart turns first; it’s we fathers who have to make the first step. WE have to be the ones who FIRST turn our hearts to our daughters and sons. Once we do that, it’s easier for our children to turn their hearts back to us. So no matter what happens in our family relationships, we fathers are to always have our faces and hearts turned towards our children – even if they don’t want us to just yet.
Think of the father of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. He let his younger son have free moral agency and sow his wild oats. But when the son came back, his Dad was out there and saw him coming from a long ways off. Be that kind of Dad. The father did not insist on first discussing all the bad things that had happened before. Neither did he insist his son get some therapy to manage all his quirks. He simply forgave him, loved him, covered him and celebrated with a big party. We fathers must be the same way with our children.
If you’re a father who has abandoned his children, repent of that and fix the problem. There was a song in the 60’s and the words included, “where have all the fathers gone?”
There are too many millions of children around the world who are growing up without daddy. Dads, let’s step up to our responsibilities and be loving fathers. Let’s be fathers who provide for our children and family, Dads who are guiding our children with love and strength – and most of all, with an example of obeying OUR father, Yehowah Most High. And you are helping guide your children and grandchildren to the Grandest Daddy of all – God our Father.
Dear heavenly Father, help us Fathers be the dads you called us to be. And help us all to first turn our hearts back to YOU, as indeed you obviously have been turning your heart to us. Thank you, thank you for accepting us wayward children back. And now let us do the same thing and follow your incredible example and always have our hearts turned to our children, so we can restore the family as you intended. You’re the one amazing Father of all Fathers – our Abba, our Yehovah Most High.
(For sermons about building intimacy with our heavenly father, go to “Audio Messages and Transcripts” and scroll down the selection “Closeness and Intimacy with our Living God”. There are numerous timeless teachings in that section.)