A Fathers Heart

Text: 2 Chron. 6:12-18

Proposition: A father’s main responsibility is to have a foundation of faith, knowing God that his children would follow in the same.

Introduction: I heard a story about a family that lived in East Africa. They were going on a trip in the back-country and were traveling along in their Landrover. They came around a corner, and as the road sloped down, they could see ahead of them a river and a bridge of sorts, that crossed it. When they drew closer they could see that the planking on the bridge only covered the first half of the bridge. After that there were just the exposed beams that the decking was supposed to rest on. Without hesitating, the father drove out onto the bridge, right up to the very last plank. Everyone else in the car was right on the edge… what was Dad doing?

Sometimes fatherhood is like that, leading where you know it will cause upset, leading to a place where you’re in the middle of a river of sorts, taking some first steps where the next steps appear to be missing.

What did that father do? He knew that the heavy planks that they drove across were meant to be picked up and placed down in front of you to complete the last half of the bridge. One by one, starting with the ones furthest from the Landrover, he placed them together and they crossed the river.

Probably one of the most famous father’s in the Bible is a man named David. You’ll remember him from stories about how he slew a giant, how he became king, how he led Israel to be the strongest nation in the world in his day. But David was also a father who lead his family onto the bridge of faith, that as he knew God, so too might they. I’d like to read with you the prayer of one of his son’s, perhaps the greatest prayer ever recorded of this son named Solomon. It tells us a lot about a father’s faith, and how he leads others in it.

The context of what we’re about to read is that Solomon has just completed the Temple and the ark of the covenant has just been placed inside it. The celebration was incredible, the presence of God had manifested there in the form of a cloud in the Temple and the priests had to bow to ground because of the incredible awe of the Lord’s presence. It’s at this point that Solomon turns and addresses all the people of Israel that are gathered before the open court of the Gentiles. Read with me the comments of verses 1 -11 of 2 Chronicles chapter 6, the preface to the great prayer of Solomon.

In reading just these verses, what do you suppose Solomon had learned about God from his father David?

I. The First Task of a Father is Communicate the Truth of What Is.

Solomon learned that God chooses what and when and who He will. Sovereignty!

Solomon learned that God knows the intentions of our hearts. Omniscience!

Solomon learned that before he, Solomon, was ever born, God had purposed him to be the builder of the Temple, a feat even the great David was not allowed to do. Omnipotence!

Solomon learned that God completes what He says He will do. Immutability!

The importance of a father communicating truth, especially the truth about Who God is, lays in the understanding that this truth becomes the foundation upon which all others are added. It is the truth about Who God is that enables us to understand pain and struggle. It is the truth about Who God is that helps us define who we are, our sense of identity and self worth begin from this point. It is this truth that brings to our life a sense of direction or purpose that is lasting. Jesus once made a declaration about the importance of truth to His disciples. It’s recorded in John 8:32, “and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Real freedom is dependent upon truth! Fathers, communicate the truth of what is, especially about God.

Now Solomon climbs up onto a small platform, kneels down, and raises his hands to God in this great prayer. Let’s listen to his words in  verses 12 -18.

II. The Second Task of a Father Is Teach the Responsibility of Grace.

A father was walking in the park with his wife and their two year old daughter Madison. The little girl got tired of walking, so her dad picked her up and let her ride on his shoulders. As he walked, Madison began pulling his hair.  Although her father asked her to stop several times, she kept on.
Getting annoyed, he scolded, "Madison!  Stop that!"
"But, Daddy," she replied, "I'm just trying to get my gum back."

Grace, and the responsibility to show it, is the struggle of every father. But where do we learn grace from in the first place? Solomon learned grace from  what he knew about the person of God. Consider these ingredients of grace that he speaks of in this prayer:

God’s grace is seen in His covenant keeping and loving kindness. What this is all about is that God does what He doesn’t have to do. He’s God, yet He sets a covenant with us and He keeps it. And more to the point He keeps it with loving kindness, that is because He wants to, not because He has to. He shows grace, not grudgingly but out of love.

God’s grace is seen in the blessing of accountability. Sometimes we think that grace is all a one way street, where God gives and gives and we sit back and receive. If you as a parent were to treat your child in such a way it would not demonstrate grace but rather a self indulgence that would be harmful to all. Grace blesses by it’s invitation to not just be a sponge, but to evidence the fruit of accountability. Look at verse 16, Israel would never lack a man to sit on the throne, even as was promised to David. That’s grace! But the accountability is that the king, the father, should raise his children in such a way that they take heed to respond to the truth of God’s word. And not just take heed as in keeping the letter of the Law, but to do so with all their heart as David did. They are accountable to grace. And so are we.

III.The Third Task of a Father Is To Teach The Wonder Of God’s Love          

Solomon now poses a rhetorical question, one which he thought could only be answered with an emphatic, ‘No’. He looks at the wonder of the gold overlaid on the cedar, at the precious stones of the Temple, at all the artistry and as beautiful as it is, it can’t compare with the awe of God. So in a voice full of adoration he cries out this rhetorical question, and it echoes at us from the corridor of time. “But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold , heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee; how much less this house which I have built.” Solomon couldn’t have imagined that he could be so wrong about this. He couldn’t see that this was exactly what God was going to do, that Jesus Christ would be born of a virgin, that God would dwell on earth with mankind, and even more, that God would die on the cross at the hand of mankind to pay the price of his sin. The blood of a thousand lambs could not do what the blood of Jesus Christ would do forever. His blood would pay the price, it would take away the sin of the world, not just cover it over. But let us recognize that Solomon’s heart was in the right place, he was awed at the reality of the holiness and immensity and love of God. It is an awe inspiring thing to consider that what Solomon thought impossible has come true. And the reason it has come true is found in the wonder of God’s love for us. It is the love of God that Solomon appeals to in the remainder of his prayer as he appeals to God for forgiveness, as he appeals to God that He would hear prayer, even the prayer of those who are foreigners, even those who would not believe. He prays for restoration when there is failure, for forgiveness when sin overwhelms, for faith when it seems all is lost. He worships God because love is not only what God does but it is Who He is.                                                                      

Fathers, Teach Truth, Remember the Responsibility of Grace, and Proclaim the Wonder of God’s Love.           

Have a wonder-filled Father’s Day!         

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