You’re a good, good Father…
It’s a song we sing often at our church. I love the simplicity behind the lyrics—God is a good Father who loves us, His children. With Father’s Day this weekend, I’ve had that song running through my head, and I started wondering—what makes a good Father? When the Bible says that God is our Father, what does that entail?
I was blessed to have a good daddy. He played with me when I was small and we spent time together as I grew older. I can remember long evenings in our backyard pool, being thrown into the air, then splashing down into the water. I remember hiking the nearby hills together, looking for insects for a biology assignment. And I have countless memories of pulling over on long car trips so we could all take photographs—my dad on one side of me and my mom on the other, both teaching a little girl how to compose a pleasing picture. Giggles, silliness, stories and lessons—he wasn’t perfect (who is?) but he was pretty wonderful!
Not all of us have that kind of positive role model. One friend told me that all he learned from his father’s example was what not to do—how not to be. How sad!
So what comes to mind when you think of God as your father? Is this a positive image? Or is he stern, unyielding, ready to punish at the next mistake? Our earthly fathers may have been far from ideal, but God is the consummate Father. His fathering is flawless.
So what makes a good father? I dug around online, and while many sites had some advice in common—primarily that a good father is involved in his child’s life—I was impressed with Gary and Joy Lundberg’s excellent list of nine qualities of a good father.
As I read through their list, I thought about each item and how it applies to God. Here are my thoughts. (You can read the Lundberg’s comments on each point at familyshare.com.)
Provider: God is our provider. In fact, one of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh, which means “the Lord our provider” or “the Lord will provide.” Two of my favorite verses on this topic are Psalm 145:16, “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing,” and Matthew 6:25-33, about how God provides for birds and clothes lilies, and He will do the same for us.
Protector: Psalm 12:7 reads “You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked…” Psalm 68:5 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” And Jesus prayed, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)
Teacher: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)
Friend: In John 15:15, Jesus tells his disciples, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Exemplar: As you can tell from this list, God nails Fatherhood, setting an example for all dads to follow.
Patriarch: As believers, we are part of God’s family, of which He is the head. Consider Galatians 4:4-7: “… God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
Colossians 2:9-10 reads, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”
Disciplinarian: Hebrews 12:10 explains that God disciplines us because He loves us:
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Spiritual leader: God sends His Holy Spirit to lead us to Himself: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
Treats his wife like a queen: God tells husbands to love their wives, then sets the example by His love for the church. Ephesians 5:20-33 summarizes this point. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her….”
No matter what kind of father we had growing up, we now have a Father that loves us perfectly. That’s the best of all possible reasons to celebrate this Father’s Day!