Interbay Community Church
There are two distinct categories of fatherhood in the bible. There is the ideal and the real. The hard truth is that the tow never come together. Looking throughout the Old Testament for the ideal father we see from Adam on Men who raised children that killed their own brothers, men who had children with concubines and attempted to kill their own children. Men like King David who were great kings, but terrible fathers. It is not until Jesus calls out to G-D as Abba, Father do we find the ideal coming to fulfillment in the life of mankind.
Today I want to look at the figure that three different religions, Jewish, Christian and Islam call “father.” And compare him to an ideal character of a father that Jesus tells us about in the New Testament.
But first you really have to get the feel of what a father was in the ancient times. He was not the Ozzie Harriet type from “Father Knows Best. The Old Testament father was more of the Ozzie Osborn type. The Old Testament father was the ruler, the dictator of the home. He was the person who determined the destiny of the family name and he was the one who held onto power with a strong hand.
The first time we see Abraham he is leaving his family to search out his own destiny in a strange land. He buries his own father then heads west for the Mediterranean, in search of the good life. He changes his name and because his wife could not give him an heir he father’s a child with her maid. Then after pawning his wife off as his sister, not once, ut twice, she ends up giving him a son and he cast the other one out into the wilderness. Then he takes his son and tries to kill him on an alter.
Of course we know that all of this worked out for the good and the whole world was blessed because he believed G-D. But why would all these religions look at him as “Father Abraham?” They do not call him “father because of his parenting skills. In fact if you really look at Abraham he was more of a prodigal son then an ideal father.
And that takes us to the ideal. Now, I do not suppose to have all the answers for you today on becoming the ideal father. All I hope to do is to give us all a glimpse of The Father, through a parable of a lost son.
In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus gives us an objective look at ourselves in a feew different aspects. We have a few more characters in this story then just the Prodigal Son himself. We have the Father and then we also have the other son and what about the people who the prodigal son ran with? We can learn a little about how we can improve our character, by looking at each of these characters.
The story begins with the youngest son coming to his father and demanding his inheritance. Basically he is telling his father to “give him what he has coming and drop dead.”
(Luke 15:11.12 The Message)Then he said, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, 'Father, I want right now what's coming to me.'
OK, now remember, this is Old Testament times. First of all the younger son should not be coming up top the father demanding anything. Secondly the father, if he was the example of any good Old Testament father would put the young man in his place under his thumb. But that is not he example of the ideal father that Jesus presents to us. This father goes and divides up his entire life, selling off land and cattle and servants and just gives it to the young disrespectful son.
And what does he do but run amuck bring shame upon himself and the family name.
(Luke 15:13 & 14 Amplified Bible) And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want.
I want us to look at this reckless and loose from restraint living that this young man ran to. The Greek word used to describe his “riotous living,” is: asotia. (as-o-tee'-ah) The interesting thing that I found about this word is that it is basically the negative or opposite of the word “sozo” (sode'-zo), which means saved or salvation. In other words the boy was lost.
It is amazing how many of us relate to that young man. I think we have all at one time or another, maybe even a little bit of us even right now, have run astray. Whether we do it out of rebellion or stupidity, or self pride, or weakness or desire, we all like sheep have gone astray. But have we taken a look at the father in this story. This man really loved his son. He loved him so much that he gave out of the abundance of his life and let him go. I am sure that the father even knew that his son would fall into hard times and end up loosing everything that the father had worked so hard to gain.
And that is the question I get so often; If God is all knowing and he knew that we would fall into temptation and sin why did he give us free will in the first place? It is because he loves you. He lets you fail because he loves you. He gave up everything, even though He knew you would squander it away. Because He loves you. He did it all, because, like the father in this story he was hoping that you would come back to Him of your own free will.
But what does it take for this young man to come to his senses? And that is latterly what the Bible tells us that he does:
(Luke 15:13-17 NIV) "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
OK, here is where we have to stop and look at the people of “the world” that the prodigal son is living with. Some one gives him a job, but he can’t even make enough to feed himself and no one gives him anything. I want us too make sure that we are not like the people of “the world.” They gave him nothing. Even the man who hired him did not pay him enough to make a living. And the boy was feeding pigs.
Remember this was a nice Jewish boy, pigs were the worst of the worst of unclean, un-kosher animals.
Finally he “comes to his senses.” It is really a shame how far too often we have to hit bottom before we can look up and see the father. The really sad part is those who have hit bottom so many times that they no longer know which way is up. But the Father has not given up on them either. And He has not given up on you. Look at the picture of the father. He was waiting, hoping , praying, looking for his son to return.
(Luke 15:18-20 KJV) I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Your heavenly Father is waiting for you to return onto Him. He was not the one that moved. He has stayed the same and spread out His arms and gave everything he is so you can have more than you ever imagined.
I want to take a quick side bar here to point out something that the prodigal son was doing, that sometimes we too often fall into. When he first came to his father and asked for his inheritance, he wanted what he thought he was going to get in the future today and then he spent everything he had for tomorrow yesterday. I know that might now make much sense right now but stay with me.
The prodigal son comes home. He is about to give his father the prepared speech that he had for him just hoping to at least be one of his father’s servants. But his father cuts him off and starts the celebration. The young man is not only forgiven but he is celebrated.
When you come to the knowledge of the truth you are not just given a ticket into heaven, you are blessed and highly favored of the L- -D.
G-D is trying to tell us something here today. It is not something that you heard yesterday, or years ago. It is not about sometime in the future, when you get your inheritance. The Father is reaching out His arms and erasing the past and revealing the future for you to enjoy the now! He gave us life to celebrate living. And that is the thing that the eldest son never understood. Remember the eldest son ends up getting mad that the father killed the fatted calf for his younger brother, who he does not even call his brother.
The father tells him, as our Heavenly Father is now telling us that it is not about tomorrow, or yesterday or all the stuff. It is about the relationship today. It is all about our relationship with a loving Father today. It is all about your relationship father, with your children, not in the future, not what happened yesterday, but today. Right now.
We need to stop living in the past, with regrets or comparing it to our future hopes, but live in the now and enjoy the moments we have together.
My family went to Universal Studios this past weekend and as we were leaving a father and his children were outside the park where the big spinning globe is over the water. They were taking a family picture, but the kids wanted to wait for the globe to spin around to where they could see the universal logo. The father did not want to wait and started yelling and told them to just take the stupid picture… It was ugly. Well, now I want to imagine that young boy thirty years from now looking at that snap shot and what memories of his father do you think come back to him.
It is not about what you have3 to do tomorrow. It is not about running around the world getting stuff to pile up, It is about right now. It is not about what you did yesterday. You might have messed up royally yesterday, but it is not about yesterday. It is about right now. And all of your relationships hinge upon the relationship that you have right now with Your Heavenly Father.
(Luke 15:31 & 32 KJV) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Now, right now is your moment to bond with the Father. Right now is your moment to set all things right. If you are ready. G-D has been waiting. The price has been paid, the fatted calf is on the grill. Come to the Father and be blessed today.