Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Good Father

What man would be considered a good father if he allowed his children to remain in destructive, deadly behaviors?  Who could look with equanimity, acceptance and mildness on the behaviors of his self-destructive child?  

Wouldn't a good father when faced with behaviors destructive to self and others, respond with a firm hand, a chastisement, a correction - not out of cruelty, or strictness for strictness' sake, but out of a deep love, a grieving heart and an understanding that his child needs a serious shaking up and rebuking of that rebellious and self-destructive spirit, that he might come to his senses and change for the sake of his own life and those in danger of being hurt by him?

That father would not be constrained by thoughts of whether the child approved or "liked" him.  He would do his job in submission to the higher calling of redeeming his wayward child.

Hear O Israel!  We are that child, and God is that loving and chastising father!  We are the children who have gone looking for fulfillment, meaning and pleasure in every tempting sweet on the smorgasbord of counterfeit spiritual pursuits, and eaten of them until we are sick, fat and more empty than when we started.  We have not liked to hear a word of rebuke, but have sought only affirmation, however undeserved.  We have chosen death over life because we preferred having our way instead of seeking God's way for us.

The God of the Tanakh, or Old Testament, is the one whose heart is broken by how far we have wandered from his life-giving word as found in our ancient scriptures.  He is the one who, instead of abandoning us to our apostasy, has chastised us in the hope of redeeming us.

When we are willing to confess that we have placed other gods before the one true God, Adonai, then a way opens to our redemption.  Recognizing how corrupt our hearts are and confessing it to God leads us to the brilliant news of the gift of redemption that has been set aside for us, his people.  "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

This redemption does not come as a surprise to anyone who has examined the Tanakh.  It is spoken of by King David, "O LORD, my sheltering rock and my redeemer", and by Job, "As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives."  It is in the very telling of the Exodus, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments."  It is illustrated in the sacrifices of the temple periods, that redeemed our people from their sin for a time.  All these redemption patterns illustrate a more complete redemption that was made perfect in Yeshua, the Messiah of our people, who is the promised redeemer and the Passover "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

We have a loving Father.  He is real.  He is not a fabrication of weak minds.  He is the Ancient of Days who still redeems today, who loves with an everlasting love, who is still relevant, who speaks your language.  If you will turn to him, you will find he has already made the excursion so you won't have to go far to find Him.

"All those I love, I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest and repent!  Listen!  I stand at the door and knock!  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home and sup with him, and he with me."

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