What’s a Dad to Do? 6/21/98

II Chronicles 34:1-3
Page 687 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ taught us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven….”

What is your image of the Father God?

No person arrives at the house of God without their “pet God” under their arm. For some the image of this “pet God” isn’t a very good one. That’s because our negative image of God is often rooted in our emotional hurts and destructive patterns carried with us from our past based on our experience with people.

Our perception of God is often an emotional not an intellectual one. It is based on our experiences with people not our study of God’s Word. Our God image should be based on Scripture but psychological studies show it is often arrived at slowly by observing people —- especially our dads.

At Sunday School a child is taught “God loves you.” If the child’s perception of God is based on experience with its natural father the concept of God might be of an unstable, rejecting, abusive person who can’t be trusted.

Dad’s your influence is critical to a child’s spiritual development.

If a dad is impersonal and uncaring, one who will never intervene on the child’s behalf, God is seen in that light. The child grows up feeling God is disinterested in its needs and can’t be gotten close to.

If a dad is pushy and inconsiderate God is thought of as one who makes you feel cheap and undeserving, that is, one who deserves to be taken advantage of by others.

If a father is a drill sergeant, demanding more and more and never showing approval the child feels unaccepted by God. This often results in an adult who is never sure of salvation. Having an authoritative figure in life that can never be pleased is often transferred to God who can never be satisfied. This person keeps praying over and over to be saved without ever having confidence of salvation. They think they can never do enough to please God.

If a father is seen as a weakling who can’t be looked to for help God is considered to be incapable of helping.

If a father is patient God is seen as patient, forbearing, and long suffering.

If a father is kind God is thought of as kind and gracious.

If a father is giving God is seen as supportive.

If a father is protective God is seen as a shield and defender.

Ideally, instead of our concept of God being derived from our association with people such as our earthly father, the fathers concept of his role should be derived from the model set by our eternal Father God. The Lord God modeled fatherhood through His relationship with His own Son. When the Father spoke of His Son He did so in terms of endearment, “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” Earthly fathers should speak kindly and encouragingly of their children.

Jesus continued to model fatherhood by constantly reaching out to children.

For the importance of fatherhood to be restored in America we are going to have to recapture the importance of marriage. Americans love to get married. When we become as interested in staying married as in getting married the institution will prosper.

A Sunday School teacher asked children how many times should a person marry. Instantly one child responded, “Sixteen!”

The child was so certain she asked how do you know. Replied the child, “The preacher said so at the wedding last week. ‘Far [four] better or for [four] worst, for [four] good or for [four] evil. That’s sixteen.”

Children have a delightful way of putting things in perspective. Erma Bombeck tells of one such child.

This little girl loved her dad but wasn’t quite sure what dads do. She tells her own story.

“I hadn’t thought that much about dad before. He was just someone who left and came home and seemed glad to see everyone at night. He opened jars of pickles no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn’t afraid to go into the basement by himself.

He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it.

It was understood that when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door.

When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled.

He took lots of pictures —- but was never in any of them.

Whenever I played house, the mother doll had a lot to do. I never knew what to do with the daddy doll, so I had him say, ‘I’m going off to work now,’ and threw him under the bed.

Then one morning daddy didn’t get up and go to work. He went to the hospital instead and died. We had never had so much company and food before.

I went to my room and felt under the bed for the daddy doll. When I found him, I dusted him off and put him on my bed. He never did anything. I didn’t know his leaving would hurt so much…”

Dads, those of you who voluntarily absent yourself from the lives of your children your going away hurts so much.

The little girl didn’t know what dads do. Let’s examine the life of one and learn some good things for all of us to do, but especially dads.

There are numerous studies showing the advantages of having a contributing dad in the home. In reality every home does not have one. If you are a child in a single parent home I want to encourage you by relating to the story of a child whose dad died when he was eight. He overcame this liability and an even greater one. His name was Josiah son of Amon, the evil King of Israel. His grandfather was Manasseh also an evil king. As a college student I heard Billy Graham preach a sermon entitled, “The Meanest Man Who Ever Lived.” It was Manasseh.

To aid in overcoming the liability of not having a living dad and being the product of a home with a corrupt heritage, he chose a role model. II Chronicles 34: 2 spoke of “his father David.” This meant a descendant of David. The David he modeled his life after was the repentant David who was “a man after God’s own heart.”

At the age of eight he became King of Israel.

Don’t give up on yourself if you are a fatherless child.

Don’t give up on yourself if you have a vile and evil dad. Do as Josiah who determined to – – – –

David had many weaknesses and numerous failures. Josiah chose the lifestyle of David as a man back in fellowship with the Lord. It impacted him dramatically.

It has been determined that the most influential times in a child’s life is between ages 30 months and five years and during early adolescence.

Current research shows three things in the lives of parents, especially dads, influence the faith life of children. Those who:

Research shows that the average teen in our churches spends only two minutes a day in meaningful dialogue with dad. Alarming as it is 25% of the teens say they have never had a meaningful conversation with their father. That is, a talk centered on the teens interest.

A study from Cornell University shows fathers of preschool children on the average spend 3.7 seconds per day in real contact with their youngsters. In contrast children spend approximately 54 hours a week watching TV.

While parents have not been watching, TV has slipped a false image of the family under their door. A contorted imagine of their “pet god” has been included as a supplement. Laughter has been the lubricant making it easy to slip in false concepts of the family.

Previous generations have been laughed at for laughing at “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver” the present generation is developing character while laughing at “Bart Simpson” and “Married With Children” that depict fathers as bumbling, befuddled, or beastly.

Dads, children tend to spell love —- “T I M E.”

American fathers spend less time with their children than fathers in any other countries in the world except Britain. Today’s American father spends 40% less time with their children than any previous generation.

Charles Francis Adams was a prominent 19th century political figure who kept a diary. One day he entered the following: “Went fishing with my son today —a day wasted.”

His son Brook Adams also kept a diary and made the following entry on the same day:

“Went fishing with my father — the most wonderful day of my life!”

Children value the time spent with their parents.

I tried to tach my child with books,
He only gave me puzzled looks.
I tried to teach my child by word.
They passed him by, often unheard.
Despairingly, I turned aside,
‘How shall I teach this child?’ I cried.
‘Come,’ said he,
‘Play with me!’

David, even though king, evidently spent time with young Josiah who consequently sought the God of his father.

Without a mirror it is difficult to determine how we look. The Word of God acts as such a mirror to help depict our spiritual condition. “Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord” (Vs. 14) and it was read before the king. When it was Josiah saw himself and his people in light of God’s Word. When he did it caused him such grief that he spontaneously engaged in a custom of his day, he “tore his clothes” (Vs. 19). This was a sign of grief and remorse.



I have a friend, David Simmons, a former member of the University of Georgia football team and corner back for the Dallas Cowboys. He tells of his father a former military man who was extremely demanding and who rarely said a kind word. He constantly pushed David with harsh criticism to do better. His dad had obviously decided he would never allow his son to feel any satisfaction from his accomplishments. He constantly set challenging goals and never complemented Dave of those reached.

When Dave was a little boy his dad gave him a bicycle, unassembled, with command to put it together. Dave struggled to the point of tears with the complex directions. His dad said, “I knew you couldn’t do it,” and took over.

When Dave played football in high school his dad was unrelenting in his criticism. After every game his dad would go over every play in their back yard and point out Dave’s every error. Dave said, “Most boys got butterflies in their stomach before the game; I got them afterwards. Facing my dad was more stressful than facing the opposing team.”

By the time to go to college he hated his dad and his demands. He chose to leave Louisiana and play for UGA because it was the school farthest from his home that offered him a scholarship.

After college he became a second round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals. Joe Namath was the clubs first round pick. Dave was so excited he called his dad to tell him. His dad said, “So, how does it feel to be second?”

During Dave’s time in college Christ came into his life. His bitterness toward his dad disappeared. Gradually he began to try to build a bridge with his dad.

Dave learned something during this time about his grandfather. He had such a violent temper he once destroyed a pickup truck with a sledgehammer because it wouldn’t start. He often beat his son. This insight caused Dave to have compassion not contempt for his dad.

One day Dave spoke here in our church. It was the first time we met though we had grown up only five miles apart and a few years. He learned I was going to visit my parents. He asked that I visit his dad and if possible tell him about the Lord. His dad ran a feed store. I went by to see him and was told he was out back in the warehouse. The Lord gave us instant rapport. He learned right away we had relatives who were close friends. Gradually the conversation turned to Christ and we sat down on sacks of feed as I told him of Christ’s love for him. That day he became Dave’s brother by faith in Christ. Dave later said they became friends before his death. Christ made the difference.

Next Josiah —-

Josiah rediscovered the Torah, which consists of the first five books of our Bible. He restored it to its proper place as God’s guide for life for that era. It became the inspiration for reestablishing God’s will in the life of the community.

Verse 27 explains why the radical transformation in the life of Josiah and the community was possible: “because your heart was tender.”

This resulted in a devout spirit of self- humiliation before God (Vs. 27).

He engaged in a “purge” (Vs. 3c and 8). If being “salt” and “light” means anything it means being a purging and preserving agent in society. Dads take the lead. Purge your Internet viewing, your TV programming, and your reading lists. Lead by example. Let your standard for yourself be known by your children.

He evidenced devotion in that he determined to “repair the house of the Lord his God.”

He didn’t have a false “pet God,” but was given a proper concept of God by modeling his father David. He became pro-active in serving the Lord.