Model for Fatherhood

John Telgren


My Dad reminds me periodically that God is the model father.  The best instruction I can get on fatherhood will come from the original father and the creator of fatherhood.  Of course, if I don't really understand God, what I will see when I consider him will not be an accurate picture of God, but some twisted caricature.  Those twisted views range anywhere from the timid old man in the rocking chair incapable if a cross thought to the wrath filled punisher who can't wait for you to stumble so he can strike you down.  Only when you consistently spend generous time with all of scripture in prayer and submission will you begin to get a better picture of God and the model image of fatherhood.


One of the passages that comes to mind is from Hosea 11.  God speaks of how he loved his son, Israel, when he was young.  He took Israel in his arms, he taught him to talk, he bent down and fed him, he instructed Israel with love.  Yet Israel was determined to go his own way, disobeying and dishonoring his father through wickedness.  God speaks of punishing his son, which he does.  His beloved son has turned his back on everything God taught him to be and turned to wicked ways of living and thinking.


But that is not the end of it.  God never stops trying to communicate and bring his beloved child back to himself.  God never gives up.  He can't.  In anguish, God says, "How can I give you up? . . . My heart is turned over within me, all my compassions are kindled" (Hos 11:8)!


As we continued to read throughout scripture, we see that God indeed never gives up.  God went to extreme lengths to bring back, reform, and communicate with his beloved child.  God did all of this through becoming flesh, becoming human, through coming to us personally.  The Bible tells us that he "... became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory ..." (Jn 1:14), and that he has "explained Him" (Jn 1:18).  God got extremely personal.  There would be no mistaking his message, his instruction, his example, and his love.  He made it abundantly clear the value his places on his children.


What a great model for fathers!  While fathers, following the example of God the Father, sacrifice for their children, fathers often find it difficult to get personal and to express value to their children.  Sometimes it is hard for children to see.  God went to great lengths to get personal and communicate in the most meaningful way possible to his children.  Fathers, in following God as the model father, are being godly fathers when they also go to great lengths to get personal and communicate love, worth, and value to their children.


On way fathers do this is through following the examples of the patriarchs of scripture who passed on meaningful blessings to their children as a legacy through things such as placing their hand on them, affirming their value, character, skills, and envisioning a positive future.  This has a powerful impact not only on the children, but on his children and future generations.