The Importance of Fatherhood and Family to God
Throughout the Bible, we can see and identify several examples of just how important the familial relationship is to God. Since the beginnings of time, God has made it known to man that we and our families are important to Him. One of the first examples of this can be found in the book of Genesis; also known as the Book of Generations.
Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Why did God create man in His image? Because He wanted to see Himself in us as we see ourselves in our own family members. God is all powerful, He created the Heavens, the Earth, and the stars, He created everything that ever was or ever will be, so why did He create man in His own image while He created other beast that appear so differently?; so it would be clear to us that He is our Father, and we are His children. Although it would be both difficult and time consuming to point out each every example of the family structure displayed in the bible, I will attempt to lay out a few examples so that we can clearly see and understand God's intentions for us as family members. The story of Abram, also known as Abraham, is one of the greatest stories ever told, it is a story of promise and of family, and it is one of the premier examples of just how important the family is to God.
The story of Abraham actually begins in the 12th chapter of Genesis, and continues throughout the entirety of the bible itself, including the New Testament. The story of Abram is preceded by a genealogical timeline of Abraham's family tree, which is found in chapter 11; here once again we see the importance of the family to God. In an attempt to explore the story of Abraham without turning this simple essay into an entire case study, we will only go over certain key examples and events; however, it is important that you, the reader, read through and study the various verses and chapters listed within this essay as well as the surrounding verses in order to further understand the importance of family in the bible.
Genesis 12:7 (KJV) the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.
Genesis 13:7-8 (KJV) And there was strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
Genesis 17:4 (KJV) As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
As mentioned before, it would be nearly impossible to condense the story of Abraham or the importance of the family into a few short paragraphs; however, in an attempt to lay the ground work of God's love for the family, we will look at the three specific examples listed above.
The Lord appeared before Abraham and made him a promise, that his children would be heirs to the land which was controlled by the Canaanites. At this point, it is imperative that we understand that Abraham is now 75 years of age and had no children; however, God had a plan for Abraham's life, a plan that would establish His family here on earth. Although there was no reason for Abraham to believe this promise, he built an alter and prayed to God our heavenly Father, this is one of the best examples of how we are supposed to react when we receive direction from God, we are to pray and give God glory, too many times we as families do not pray together, worship together, or in any way acknowledge God in our homes and families. As we continue to read, we can begin to see a pattern, God gives Abraham direction, and as the leader and priest of his family, Abraham continues to trust God and follow the lead of the heavenly Father, as a result of Abraham's dedication, multitudes of Christians, Jews, and Muslims refer to him as Father Abraham.
As we continue to read through the book of Genesis we find, in chapter 13, that a conflict of some sort arises between Abraham and his nephew Lot. One thing we need to remember, is that at this point, Abraham is a very powerful man, and it would be very easy for him to simply destroy Lot and his men; however, he does not, he calls on God in prayer and makes peace with Lot and his men, stating that "we be brethren". Once again we see the importance of family to God; although Lot is his nephew, and in all probability Abraham isn't related to Lot's men in any way, Abraham does not destroy them because he understands that they are all God's creation, therefore they are all brothers through God the creator. In chapter 17 verse 4, we can see that once again God establishes that Abraham will be the Father of many nations and that from his family lineage, kings would be born. The book of Matthew is the first book of what Christians call the New Testament, as we begin to read through this book, we can again see the importance of the family unit to God, the very first verse of the book of Matthew establishes the genealogy of Jesus Christ and directly links Him to Abraham, the Father of many nations and many kings.
Matthew 1:1 (KJV) The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew 1:17-18 (KJV) So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
The importance of fatherhood and family is a reoccurring theme that can be found throughout the bible, as we read here in the book of Matthew, we can see how from Abraham flowed many generations of great men, kings, and priest; however, the most important of these is Jesus Christ of Nazareth who would become our Lord, our Savior, and our High Priest. After reading through the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we can begin to see the many examples of family and fatherhood that Jesus himself left for us.
Matthew 5:9 (KJV) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:44-45 (KJV) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; hat ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
In chapter five of the book of Matthew, Jesus refers to God's people as His children; once again we can see the Fatherhood of God to us, His children. Although there are many more instances in which God's love for us is described, one of the best examples of God's love for us can be found in Matthew chapter seven in which Jesus instructs us to ask God for anything. in Matthew chapter seven, Jesus states that just as a parent would give his own child whatever he or she desires, so shall our Father in heaven above, in my humble opinion, God is showing us how to be good fathers and parents to our own children, once again establishing the importance of fatherhood and families. This account of Fatherhood is also found in Luke chapter 11; however, God has also shown us the importance of not being fathers to our own biological children, but to all those in need of a father.
Romans 8:14-17 (KJV) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bearish witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Ephesians 1:4-5 (KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Fatherhood isn't reserved for the biological children, or Israelites, it is freely given to all who have a need and who have accepted the fatherhood of God, including the Gentiles. The bible clearly instructs us in how to be good fathers, not only to those who are like us, but to those who may be different. Jesus came to the Israelites first and then to the Gentiles, as fathers in today's world, we are to be fathers to our own children, but also to the fatherless, those lacking direction, and to anyone else who crosses our path. Just as God has adopted us into His family, we as men and fathers must follow that example and step up to be fathers to those lost in this world. The issue of family is also addressed in I Corinthians chapter seven, here we can see how the love of a father, mother, husband, or wife, can sanctify the other, again the family unit is the glue that binds and the substance that saves.
Ephesians 6:1-4 (KJV) Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Colossians 3:18-21 (KJV) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
The simple truth is that after studying the importance of fatherhood and family in the bible, I have found that it is nearly impossible to contain all the information in just a few pages, it is my hope and prayer that all who read this document will be touched by God the Father and encouraged to read and study for themselves just how important it is to have a father, and how important it is to be a father to the fatherless. The bible tells us in I Corinthians that although we may have 10,000 instructors, there are very few true fathers. Wow, what an astonishing statement; sadly enough, it is also a very true statement that can be taken both literally and spiritually. In today's tough economic environment, and disturbingly liberal climate, it would seem that anything goes, and the ones who are hurt most by this horrendous environment are the children. Young men and women are growing up with little direction, and virtually no spiritual guidance, it is up to us to say we will become the father to the fatherless and the guide to those who have no guidance. We must pray and stand fast on the ordinances of God, and we must submit ourselves to the Authority of the Creator of the Universe, our Heavenly Father above, He will guide us as we help guide one another through this existence called life.
I Corinthians 4:14-15 (KJV) I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Dedicated to Bishop Kenneth Phillips, Pastor PromiseLand Church Austin, TX
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