Luke 11:11-13 (NKJV) 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
We have been meditating what Jesus declared in John 17:3 that the essence of eternal life is to know God. Although Jesus does not use the word “Father” in this verse he opens the prayer by praying to his Father. In verse three he says eternal life is to “know you the only true God.” The God we must know to partake of eternal life is the Father. He is not just talking about living forever here. That is actually a result of knowing
We have looked at who the Father God is in two scriptural ideas.
1. Genesis 1:26 He is a Father who wants every one of his children. He chose to create and then gave man the right to participate in creation. He wanted man to fill the earth with his children. He wants you.
2. John 3:16 He is a Father who will never abandon his children. His created family had overwhelmingly rejected him as their Father. They rejected his ways and his commandments. They chose to follow other Gods. He provided for himself a perfect son. He could have abandoned those who abandoned him. Instead he “gave his only begotten son” so that his abandoned children could once again have access to life. He will not abandon you.
Today I want to look at another revelation of the kind of Father God is to all those who receive him. In the scripture quoted above, Jesus is revealing the Father to us by comparing him with the best of natural fatherhood. A natural father gives good gifts to his children. He will not give his child a stone if he asks for bread. If he asks for fish he will not give him a snake nor a scorpion instead of an egg. That is common sense.
We do not always understand that our Heavenly Father is far better than the best fatherhood natural man has to offer. These examples have to do with food and necessities of life. Any father worth his salt is going to provide for his children. We know that there are many fathers in our world who provide for their own flesh before they provide for their children. Even the best of us fall prey to this. What Jesus wants us to see is that God never does.
There are many people whose experience with their father was not good. Their father may not have had the resources to give them the gifts they perceived as good. Sometimes it is not monetary resources that are lacking. Fathers are people. They had lives before they were fathers. They had fathers of their own. Many fathers, especially those who do not know God, simply do not have the emotional resources to meet the needs of their children. They simply do not have “good gifts” to give.
One of the most depressing statistics of my pastoral life is the percentage of people that come to church having been abused. Sometimes emotionally, sometimes physically and sometimes sexually. Over the years the I pastored churches I would put the percentage at somewhere around 60% of the people who have passed through our doors. More often than not the abuser has been a father or a mother. Both can affect our ability to receive God as the ultimate parent.
Your natural father may have withheld good things from you. I am not talking about things nearly as much as I am about emotional needs. I worked with a young lady who was beautiful. She was involved in beauty pageants. Yet she would not accept that she was a beautiful woman. All the recognition that came from others could not make up for what her father did not provide her.
In another case, a young woman was initially loved by her Daddy. Then he went off to war and came back a different man. How many could relate to this story after decades of war in the middle east? Instead of a loving and accepting father she became the object physical and emotional abuse. How do you think she saw the “Father God?”
She is one of many, some who left the church, who could not accept teaching that required they receive God as Father. I could teach on Jesus, the Lord or the Holy Spirit, but I could not teach on the Father. They would stiffen up and get angry. Their reaction was one of pain but it kept them from knowing the Father.
Men and boys are certainly not immune. I have dealt with more than one man who was demanding and critical of their children. They could not give what their father had never given them, love and acceptance. If they did not perform up to expectations they were rejected and disapproved. They did not want to be that way with their own children but what they lived they became and another generation could not understand a Father who can love unconditionally.
There are also those who were not abused by their parents. No parents are perfect. Some people see abuse but it is in their own perception of how they were treated. They had good parents that did the best they could but the real enemy, Satan, somehow created so much strife and confusion that affect is the same. They cannot know God asFather because they cannot keep from judging him by their experience or their perception. According to John 17 none of these people, whether their experience is real or perceived, could access the power of eternal life because they cannot know God as Father.
Our Father is not like fathers who withhold good things, whether emotional or financial, from his children. He will never give us s serpent when we need a fish. He will provide us the bread of life that will sustain us and not give us a rock instead to “knock some sense into us.” He will only give us what will bless us, strengthen us, encourage us and help us to grow.
James 1:16-18 (NKJV) 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Every good and perfect gift comes from God. If we come to him as Father that is what we will find.
Today, we live in a comfort and things based society. So much of how we determine good is based on what is pleasant. We are a society of the psychology of “feeling good.” If it makes us feel good it is a good gift. God will not withhold things that bring blessing and good feelings into our lives. But the word Father implies someone who knows better than we do. God will not withhold the good gift we need even at the expense of the thing we want. God loves us as we are, but like any good father he will not leave us there. He will encourage us and accept us as we are. Then he will lead us, guide us, train us and even discipline us until we become what we need to be. What gift could be better than helping us become true adults in the Kingdom of God.
God is a Father who provides good things for his children. He is an almighty Father for whom nothing is impossible. We must come to him knowing that and trusting that every gift that comes from him is good for us and will produce good things in our lives.
Come to him. Do not be afraid of the Father. He will help you understand and reveal himself to you as he really is.