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Lessons From Fathers in the Bible - Reflection on Abraham
It's interesting to study and learn about the different father figures in the Bible. Though this hub series do not list all of them, I have listed some of the more notable ones. They were included in this list not because they were the best of fathers but because there is something that can be learned from how they've been as fathers. Some actually displayed negative fatherhood which we can do the opposite of what they did. Here, we can appreciate how truthful the Bible is in narrating their stories. They show that they are real persons as we are, so that their lives may serve as examples for us to follow and warnings for us to heed as well. They are:
- Abraham - The Father Who Sacrificed His Son (this hub) and next hubs
- Isaac and Jacob - The Fathers Who Played Favorites
- Eli, the High Priest -The Fathers Who Failed to Discipline
Abraham - The Father Who Sacrificed His Son
Abraham was the man God called to leave his country (Ur of the Chaldeans), his people and his father's household and promised to give him land, fame, great posterity and blessings (See Genesis 12:1-3). Abraham proved himself to be the kind of faithful and obedient man that God is looking for that's why it is said of him "he believed the Lord and He credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).
His greatest test was when God asked him to take his only son, Isaac, whom he love, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah. (Genesis 22:1-19) He obeyed without any resistance nor hesitation. As he was about to slay his son, the angel of the Lord stopped him and said not to lay a hand on the boy because "Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." As a result of Abraham's complete obedience, he received abundant blessings, everything that God has promised.
The question that keeps popping up in my mind is "Why did Abraham willingly sacrificed Isaac?" Doesn't Abraham love Isaac? Didn't he just waited 25 long years after God promised him a seed before Isaac was born? Why was it that he obeyed God completely, no questions asked?
Love God Above All Things
Through the years of Abraham's experience with God, he must have learned that God is above all things. Remember when he bargained with God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of 50, 45, 40, 30, 20 and finally 10 righteous people? (Genesis 18-19) God agreed to Abraham's bargain not to destroy the cities for the sake of 10. Yet only three were saved and the cities were destroyed.
Again, remember when he didn't trust God enough to protect him during the time he lived in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20) and in Gerar (Genesis 20:1-17)? He half-lied saying Sarah was his sister so that the Pharaoh and the King Abimelech of Gerar will not kill him because Sarah was very beautiful. Both rulers and their households were punished because of what he did.
Finally, with the birth of Isaac (Genesis
21:1-7), Abraham was overjoyed and have seen that truly God is faithful
to His promises. God certainly knows what is best. What He demands
only is complete faith and obedience.
Well, that is easier said than done. But Abraham has learned his lesson well. Now, he loves the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength that he was able to give up the one he loved the most, his son. Now, his trust and obedience to God comes first before anything else. When he sacrificed Isaac, it showed that he has finally learned to surrender everything in his life to God.
Why Should Fathers Love and Obey God?
Loving and obeying God is often a struggle because it means giving up something one truly loves and wants. Some trade their time for God and family, to work overtime to earn more money. Some trade their integrity just to close a business deal or to grab that promotion. Some insist on what they want for their children instead of what God wants (somehow the abused children comes to mind). However, as a father, it is important that he puts God first in his life. When God takes a priority position in a father's life, God is able to freely move and bless the family.
God desires godly children. The Lord said He is seeking godly offspring (Malachi 2:15). How can the children be godly? Faith is not inherited but developed. It is the father's responsibility to model to his children his love and obedience to God. Why do you think Isaac didn't resist when his father sacrificed him to God? His faith in God sprung forth from the same faith that his father had.
God blesses the family. After Abraham had overcome his final test, the angel of the LORD told Abraham a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the
LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son,
your only son, I will
surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in
the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take
possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be
blessed, because you have obeyed me." (Genesis 22:15-18) What can stop God from pouring out His blessings on those who are truly obedient to His commands? The enemy may try to send problems on the way, but God's will will prevail. If God is for us, who can be against us?
Abraham learned to love God so much so that he willingly sacrificed his only son, Isaac, to God in obedience to His command. God did not really want Isaac dead but He wants Abraham fully devoted to Him. Having proven so, God was able to bless Abraham beyond what he had ever imagined.
Can we in any way imitate Abraham in his love and obedience to God? What is "the Isaac" that God is asking us to give up that we may fully be devoted to him?