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God as Father - Part I
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12
One of the most comforting memories of my childhood is of my father coming home from work. Being in his presence made me feel safe, confident and secure. His words were reassuring and his influence was everywhere.
As is true with children, there were times when I was disobedient and my father disciplined me. I didn’t like it. I cried. I pouted. I told everyone who would listen just how unfair it was. Yet, it is because of his love and his discipline that I am the person I am today.
The same is true of our Father in heaven. He is a just and forgiving God, however He also disciplines. The very first instance of this is recorded in Genesis with Adam and Eve. Adam was created in God’s image and was given dominion of all in the Garden of Eden. However, he was instructed to not eat from the fruit of one tree – the Tree of Knowledge – “for when you eat of it, you will surely die” Genesis 2:17.
Seeing that Adam did not have a helper, God created a wife for him. “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame“ Genesis 2:23-25.
All too soon Satan, disguised as a serpent deceived the woman, convincing her she would not die if she ate the fruit. Instead, she would become as knowledgeable as God. Sadly, she believed the deceiver and disobeyed God’s command. She also gave the fruit to Adam and he ate it as well. They gained knowledge and realized they were naked, so they covered themselves with fig leaves. The husband and wife then hid when they heard God walking in the Garden. When God asked where he was, Adam explained he was hiding because he was naked. God asked who told him he was naked, did he eat from the tree he was instructed not to eat. Adam replied, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” Genesis 3:12.
They were both cursed for their disobedience and banished forever from the Garden of Eden. When I read this account, I always think of a toddler sitting beside a chocolate cake he was told minutes before not to touch. When his mother sees there is a large chunk missing, she asks, ”Did you eat the cake?” To which the toddler replies, “No,” although his mouth is covered in chocolate. The toddler is too immature to understand his disobedience is evident; he wants to avoid the consequences of his actions. Although Adam did not lie about eating the fruit, he did seek to deflect the blame from himself. It was the woman, he said, the woman God gave him.
Nothing is hidden from God. When we attempt to shift the blame of her disobedience upon another person or circumstance we are only fooling ourselves. Ever provided the explanation of “Everybody else was doing it,” to your parents? You may have received a variation of the following, “If everyone jumped from a bridge, would you do that, too?” Just as our earthly parents didn’t appreciate our excuses, know that our Heavenly Father doesn’t either. Our husbands, wives, friends, childhoods or desires do not give us passes to sin. Just like the toddler scenario, our disobedience is apparent to God. Never be lulled into thinking, “It’s OK if I ignore this command, God will forgive me.” He is forgiving; He forgives those who approach Him with humility and sincerely repent. However, that does not mean we have escaped being disciplined. As is true in the story of Moses.