Thursday, June 16, 2005

God The Father

*CLICK HERE for a sermon by Adam based on this post

Have you ever noticed the the contrast in the way people percieve God in the Old and New Testaments? It's quite striking, actually. For example, depending on your translation of the Bible, you will see God referred to as "LORD"(in all caps) or "Jehovah". In fact, "LORD" is just a replacement, and "Jehovah" is actually a transliteration of the hebrew name for God, which was YHWH. You may have heard this pronounced as "Yahweh", but to be honest, that is just a guess. The interesting thing is that hebrew actually contains no vowels. They are simply supplied by the speaker. The hebrews felt like God was so unapproachable that they shouldn't even pronounce his name. Over the years, the actual pronunciation was lost. We honestly have no idea how to even say it.

We tend to take the idea that God is our Father for granted, as if it was always the perception. Interestingly enough, the word "father" occurs roughly 691 times in the Old Testament, but only 13 of them refer to God (some of which are prophesies referring to a later time, such as "I will be a father to them".) Isaiah and David are the only 2 people in the entire Old Testament who refer directly to God as a Father.

Now, contrast that with the New Testament. The word "father" occurs roughly 388 times. A whopping 250 of them refer directly to God. About half of them come directly from the mouth of Jesus (which may be part of what got him in so much trouble). So, one of the things that Jesus does is to shift the perception of God from being unapproachable to that of a father. However Jesus doesn't stop there. He starts referring to God, not only as "our father" (note: not JUST his father), but as "Abba". This is an aramaic term that small children used to refer to their fathers. The most literal english translation is "Daddy". Not only does Jesus use this term himself (Mark 14:36), but the apostle Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit calls out to God as "Abba" from inside our hearts (Gal. 4:4-7) and that we, as children of God have the right to relate and refer to God in that same way (Rom 8:15-17).

In addition to being Father's Day, this Sunday is also my daughter's 2nd birthday. Every time Emma calls me "Daddy" I learn something new about my relationship with God. Every interaction with her sheds new light on the relationship He wants to have with me. I give her a hug and a kiss every morning before I leave for work. Every morning she follows me to the door and says "more kisses!" I melt every time. The other day after I got home, I walked by her in the living room and she said "I missed you today, Daddy". I had to wipe my eyes.

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3-4

Happy Father's Day.



Brandon Scott Thomas said...

Beautiful, bro. Father's Day has stunk for me since 1991 when I lost my dad. It all changed about 4 years ago and now I have 3 kids--that floors me. Praise God for reviving the excitement behind this holiday in my heart. Your post was very encouraging.

Blake said...

It is one of the most awesome thing to have your child tell you that she loves you. I just hope she keeps it up as she grows. She's just 4 now.