Close

June 15, 2018

A Dad’s Heart

“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6 (NLT2)

“The glory of children are their fathers.”  Proverbs 17:6b (KJV)

Did you know that more phone calls are made on Father’s Day than on any other day?  Maybe not, but according to Snopes fact checkers, the truth is, While Mother’s Day is the biggest holiday for phone calls, Father’s Day is the busiest for collect calls. (Go figure!  At least we get a call, lol)

Still, the relationships with our dads is a special one!  The Bible says that the glory of children are their fathers.  For those who never knew their dads, you could rewrite that Proverb to say, the longing of children is for their fathers.  God wired us that way.  The family was the first institution God created before government or the church.  The relationships in the family dynamic shape our lives, our faith and our future.  A loving and engaged father makes accepting a Heavenly Father that much easier.  Perhaps that’s why the Old Testament closes in the book of Malachi with these words:

“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6 (NLT2)

Elijah’s concern is to spare people from being cursed. But to do that, people must change.  That’s what repentance is all about.  It’s a matter of the heart.  The verse says that his preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. He is saying that the disposition of the heart toward fathers and children must change. What does that mean?  And more importantly what would a change of heart look like? The opposite of turning your heart toward someone would be turning it away.  Unfortunately, that is more the case in our culture today.  The result has been a curse on the family with hardships for single moms trying their best to raise kids alone.  Absentee dads leave a void in the home.  Many dads turn their hearts away from their children by simply ignoring them, preoccupied with their business or pleasure.  Some turn their hearts away by being abusive emotionally, verbally or even physically.  A child longs for the love and acceptance of a dad.  Put downs and negative comments shatter their sense of worth and self-esteem. Worse still is sexual abuse.  Another way we turn our hearts away from our children as fathers is with disappointment. Wrapped up in our own need of approval, fathers can feel unappreciated and withdraw from their sons and daughters.

On the other hand, children can turn their hearts away from their fathers through rebellion, disrespect, disobedience and neglect.  Older fathers can be left abandoned in nursing homes.

Because God cares about the most important relationships in our lives, He closes the Old Testament with a promise that can save us from this curse.  It begins when we recognize the condition of our hearts and intentionally decide to turn our hearts to what matters most.

Fathers, turn your hearts to your children.  You are the most significant person in their lives.  Make time for them.  Encourage them.  Support them. Show up.  Forgive them and release any resentment you may feel to God.

Children, honor your father and mother.  Seek their counsel and prayer.  Spend time with them and verbally express your gratitude to them.  In some cases, turning your heart toward your father may involve extensive counseling with a wise Christian therapist.  The first step begins with the heart.  It’s a decisive step to invite God into the relationship to bring healing and restoration. One of the greatest joys at Super Summer Baptism was watching dads enter the water with their sons and daughters.  Way to go dads!  Way to lead your family spiritually.

A great way to continue that forward motion is to worship together with your family this Father’s Day at church. God is in the business of turning curses into blessings when we turn our hearts to Him!