For several generations forces have been at work in our country to minimize the importance of fathers in the home. Governmental policies that reward women who have children, but no husband, have become an excuse for men to shirk their parental responsibilities. Feminists have also contributed to this by decrying the need for men in general and fathers in particular. The consequence is a generation of young men who do not know how to be a man, much less how to be a father. Society has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind in the form of a lack of respect for authority and an increase in violence and crime among young men.
Some, seeing this catastrophe, have begun to call for a return to the kind of family structure that once was common in our nation. Those who do so understand the importance of a father in the home as a role model and as a leader for his family. This call is long overdue and needs to be heeded before all familial order and control is lost. However, we must seek direction from a credible source in order to accomplish this goal.
The best model for what a father should be, and the only model worth following, is our Father in heaven. He, alone, is the epitome of what a father should be, and we would do well to seek His example from the scriptures. There is much in the scriptures to instruct us in this matter, but perhaps a short acrostic can help summarize who God the Father is, and who we, as earthly fathers, should be.
So then, when we spell the word F-A-T-H-E-R, the letter F stands for Faithful. God our Father is faithful. In Deut. 7:9-10 Moses told Israel that the Lord their God is the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Him and keep His commandments. In other words, God is not fickle. He will never forsake His people.
The A in father stands for Approachable. In Heb. 4:14-16 the inspired writer said that we may draw near with confidence to the throne of grace. Our Father in heaven has made Himself approachable by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. We can always come to Him with our cares, concerns, and petitions.
The T in father stands for Truthful. In Jn. 17:17 Jesus said that God’s word is truth. In other words, our Father in heaven never lies to us. What He tells us is always true and trustworthy.
The H in father stands for Honorable. In 1 Tim. 1:17 Paul ascribed honor and glory to God the Father. He is worthy of honor because there is nothing unscrupulous about our Father in heaven. He is honorable in everything He does.
The E in father stands for Even-handed. In Acts 10:34-35 Peter told Cornelius that God is not one to show partiality. He treats all people the same and rewards and punishes each one according to his own deeds (2 Cor. 5:10). He is just and fair in all His dealings with us.
The R in father stands for Reliable. When Balaam spoke his oracle to Balak (Nu. 23:19), he said that God does not lie, and would not fail to do what He said He would do. So then, we can rely on our Father in heaven in every situation of life. He will never desert us when we need Him the most.
If earthly fathers are ever going to be what they ought to be in their homes, they must follow the example of God the Father in every aspect of their lives. When they do so, their homes will be better places, and our society will benefit far more than from any human wisdom on this subject. Therefore, let all of us who are fathers resolve that we will do everything in our power to be more like God the Father each and every day. May God bless godly fathers!