By Oscar M. Baker
The first person of the triune God is the one carrying the title, Father. And those who are curious about such things will at once ask why that God should first of all reveal Himself as a Father. Have you ever thought of it?
Of course we can have no idea of God in His essence. That is a realm strange to us. And that is why that He has come down to the level of our experiences to make Himself known. We can know God only relatively. We have to compare Him with the things we know.
Now it is true that under ordinary circumstances, the father in the family is the ruler of the family. He is also the provider. And he loves his family. So God has used this figure to make us understand that He is like the ideal loving father of an earthly family in His relation to us. What better illustration could He have chosen? Can you suggest one?
And this brings up another point that we should remember. Our concept of God is going to be limited to our concept of an earthy father. May I ask just how much one is going to think of God as a loving father if that one comes from a broken home in which there was strife and no respect for either father or mother? Just what is the concept carried by the average school child of today? Will it help that child to understand about God? Before God, a father has a great responsibility these days.
I understand that in some countries morality is so low that when a child is born it is often hard to identify the father. So the law is that the child must bear the maiden name of the mother. So there the children do not bear the name of the father, but of the mother. How is a missionary in such a country going to explain God as a father? And so it goes in the so-called civilized countries of the world. The father has lost his place in the family, if there is a family.
And would it be to the advantage of the enemy if he could erase morality so that this aspect of God could not be learned? Our Lord Himself emphasized the title of Father and used it in illustrations. He asked if a real father would give a child a stone if it was asking for bread.
We can understand a little more now why the apostle stressed the duties of a father in Ephesians and Colossians. Every father today who professes the faith has the responsibility of doing his very best in every duty so as to show forth the character of God. His actions are going to show a lot more than words ever can. And if he is going to bring up his family in the fear and admonition of the Lord, here is the place to start. Let the children know what the word father means by example.
God is pictured to us as a Father who knows the needs of His children, who rewards them, who has made promises and will keep them, who loves His Son, who gives gifts to His children, who is a merciful Father, and who pities His children. Consider this; Would God the Father cast off any of His children and not claim them?