A Father of Faith-Psalm 112
A Father of Faith-Psalm 112
ILL-1 Read the lips or hear the voice of any sports personality as the camera is focused on them and inevitably they will say hello to their mother. I have never seen a sports personality say hello to their father. In a small way this is an indication of how our society has viewed the role of the father.
In the case of divorce involving children it is said that nearly 85% of children are awarded to the mother even in cases where the mother may not be the better choice in a number of factors. In some ways fathers have contributed to the distance that is found between them and their children. In our society, fathers are seldom honored for their dedication to their children; rather they are honored for their ability to provide materially. A house, a nice car, clothing, and a college education are measures of success for a father today. For years fathers have bought into this role of parenting. They have declared that they just want to provide for their children what they did not have as a child. They have justified that a pair of skates is as good as a hug and a car is equal to saying “I love you.”
Today is Father’s day and we want to acknowledge the importance of a father’s role as a parent. As a parent of two girls I have much that I could share about what I think a good father should be, there is plenty of ways that I could share what I have learned. I could theorize with you what it means to be a good father. Instead I would like to share with you some of the things I have experienced with my own father and more over I want to share with the fathers here what God would want of you.
In Psalm 112 we find six characteristics in these verses that can be applied to being a good father. As we go through the different aspects of what it means in God’s eyes to be a good father, I would challenge the fathers here to make note of not only how they can improve but also what they are doing right. I would ask that you would indulge me as I talk about a man who is very important to me. A man that has sometimes made me angry, a man who is one of my best friends, my dad.
The first characteristic of a father is that he is firm in his faith. In verse 1 it says that the man who fears the Lord and delights in his commands is to be blessed. A good father is a man who fears the Lord. He delights in doing what the Lord wants over all other things. He is obedient to what God has set for him to do. In verse 7-8 it also says that a man who is firm in his faith will not be tossed about by those that would oppose him, but will stand firm and trust in God. Three things characterize a father who is firm in his faith in these verses, the first in that he fears the Lord. ILL-2
The fear of the Lord is not being afraid of him, rather it is an understanding of the awesome power and strength and giving more weight to God than to the influence of the world around him.
The second is that he is obedient. A father firm in his faith delights in God’s commands. This does not mean that he finds the commands of God to be only good, or even important, but that as an example of Godly character in his home he wants to be the Bible to his children. It can be said that a Godly father is one that if his children never crack open a Bible they will at least be able to see Christ looking at them through their father’s eyes.
The third is that he is trusting. Verse 7 says that his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. A father of firm faith is not tossed about by every trial that comes his way. If his job is difficult, he trusts God to care for him. If his children go astray, he trusts God to restore them. If his wallet is empty, he trusts God to provide for him. A father of faith lets God be in control.
My father has shown me that he is firm in his faith. Sometime ago his church was dealing with a situation involving a sin of the pastor. As my dad became aware of the sin he discovered that it was not being dealt with in a biblical manner. He felt strongly that it needed to be revealed and after attempts to deal with it quietly, he finally exposed the sin publicly. From that moment it was a constant battle. When people would only support him in secret and never in public and he would receive phone calls and letters accusing him of being a trouble maker and vindictive he did not give in. He did not choose to seek the approval of men but of God alone. He has shown me that he fears God more than man. He has also shown me that he wants to be obedient to God. It would have been much easier to leave the church than to cause so many problems, but he knew that God could not tolerate what was going on. He has shown me that he is trusting. When people told him that what was going on was only in his head, when people would walk to the other side of the street, when he lost business, he always maintained that God was in control and would provide.
As your children watch you today, how would you rate yourself? Are you firm in your faith or are you flabby and out of shape? Do your children look upon a toned, spiritually fit man, or do they see a little too much fat around the middle to see any of the good underneath?
The second characteristic of a Godly father is that he is honored in his house. Verses two and three say that a Godly father’s children will grow to be successful. They will bless their father because of their following in his footsteps of faith. Through this honor bestowed upon him, his house will be rich. To honor someone is to display the greatness that they have achieved. The honor a father receives should not come because of fame, material success or position but in the lives of your children. This should come from the fact that you have chosen to not focus all your attention on how you could be great in the eyes of those around you but how you could display the character of God to your children. ILL-3
Can your children be able to say the ultimate compliment, can they utter the highest honor for any father? Can they say that their father knows God?
The third characteristic of a father of faith is that he is charming in his character. Verse four says that a father of faith is one that is gracious and compassionate to others. He is willing to give of himself instead of always taking for himself. A good father is gracious to others. Webster’s Dictionary defines gracious as one that shows kindness and courtesy and cares for those that are held to be inferiors. Here the psalmist is comparing the righteous upright man to God. God although he was not required to pour out an abundance of grace, he did it anyway. He was slow to anger; he was kind to them, when they required something he always provided for them. He was not biased or prejudiced but showed his character to everyone. So it is to be with our fathers. A father of faith is on that shows to his children that he is slow to anger, kind, a good provider and does not show favor one over the other.
Compassion also marks a charming father of faith. A compassionate father is one that displays this to his children. When your child needs to talk about something that is bothering him or her, do you have the time? When they are hurting because of something in their lives, do you have the time to stop what you are doing and listen or do you dismiss it as being trivial? Nothing in the world will make your child think that his or her father cares more than to take time to about their daily lives. What seems unimportant to a child’s father shows up as not caring to a child. When I was young, maybe 8 or 9 my dad was in the middle of a successful business. I remember that I had everything I ever wanted. I had all the toys I wanted, a brand new home, my own room, everything. But when it came to knowing what was going on in my life, it seemed that my father didn’t care. Remember fathers to be compassionate. Your children see when you care for others. They watch you as you drive by the person stranded on the road. They see when you don’t seem to care when someone dies. They notice when it seems you are not concerned that people are dying without Christ. A father of faith displays graciousness and compassion.
The fourth characteristic of a father of faith is that he is generous in his gifts. Verse five says that good will come to the man who is generous and lends freely. Further in verse 9 it says that he spreads his gifts to those who need it. A father of faith is not tight fisted. He sees where he could help and he gives freely. When someone is short on funds he is there to lend some money. When someone is poor he gives to help without thought of any return. A father of faith gives of his money but also gives of his time. When someone needs a helping hand he is there to give it. One of the greatest lessons that my father ever taught me was that it was good to help others. In some ways he showed that he was the best choice to run a fortune 500 company. His managerial skills with money are lacking to say the least. But he showed me the benefits of helping others. When I was fifteen, he was working for a farmer and we didn’t have much money. But he felt God leading him to support a girl that was going to bible school. I found out later that although the tuition was not high, maybe $200.00 a month, my father dedicated himself to honor his promise. In the winter months when money way particularly tight, he found a way to keep up with his promise. I learned a valuable lesson about generosity.
The fifth characteristic of a father of faith is that he is discreet in his decisions. In verse 5 it says that a father who strives after God will conduct his affairs with justice. He does not say things that he will not carry out. I remember a young boy going to play some street hockey. Before I went out my dad warned me that I better not get wet or I would be punished. I went out to play and was having a great time when the puck was shot onto a large piece of ice. Everyone was wearing shoes except for me, I was smart or dumb enough to wear rubber boots, so it was up to me to go out on the ice to retrieve the puck because if the ice broke the rubber boots would save me. This sounded good to me so I ventured out onto the ice and as I bent over to pick up the puck my feet slipped from under me and I landed flat on the ice and broke through getting myself all wet. When I went inside to dry off, my dad gave me exactly what he said he would. So what is the moral of the story? When playing outside, don’t be the only kid wearing rubber boots? No, my dad acted justly and discreetly in his decision. He had pointed out to me that there were going to be consequences for my actions, and I remember that even to this day. To often children are not treated properly by our father’s decisions. Fathers you are asked to be fair in what you decide to do, the punishment should fit the crime. When your children disobey, don’t relent too easy from carrying out your promises. When you do make promises, remember an important fact, your children can remember. I struggled for many years with trusting my dad because before he was a believer he made promises he would did not keep. I remember pushing a large for sale sign over in anger as tears ran down my face. There were promises attached to that house that had not been met, and seemed to be lost forever. Remember fathers don’t’ ever make a promise to your child without fulfilling it. If something else comes up that seems more important do everything to keep the promise you made to your children. There is nothing more important than keeping the promise you made to your children. ILL-4
The sixth characteristic of a father of faith is that he is right in his relationships. Verse 6 says that a righteous man will be remembered forever. Verse 9 says his righteousness will endure forever and he will be honored. For a father it is very important to display to his children that his relationships with everyone are good. When I was in elementary school there were plenty of opportunities to get into fights and disagreements. Even with my younger brother, there was hardly a day that went by that we did not have some kind of fight or argument. The words of my father were always the same, and they have stayed with me to this day. Never do to others what you would not like in return. Children are always in conflict with each other and they need to see that their father is able to get along with others. They need to see that in your business or private life that people speak well of you. They need to know that you are consistent in how you relate to others. They want to see that you model the very things you teach. During college I worked for my uncle for a summer. He was roughly the same age as my dad and I thought of him in many ways as my second father. I anticipated that it would be a great summer for us to get to know each other better and in the mean time get some work done. What I found out surprised me. When I would go into town to pick up fertilizer, get a tire for the cultivator or pick up fuel the conversation very often led to the other person verbally bashing my uncle’s character. They did not know who I was and felt the freedom to say what they really felt. Through out that summer, all the values and examples that my uncle had ever shown me were destroyed by the way he had treated and conducted himself with the people in the community.
Fathers it is important that the good you model in front of your children is what you model away from them. Eventually, like sin, the truth will always be exposed. It is important to the well-being of your children that in the years to come they can look upon you with fondness. It is important that your children can remember you and say that you were a righteous man.
I would never say that being a father is easy. As one myself I feel that I have much to learn in being a father of faith. There are many times that I have made mistakes just as my father made many mistakes before me. Psalm 112 gives us some goals to strive for in becoming a father that will raise God-fearing children. There is much that can be done, but there is one important thing to remember. Be a model of Christ to your children. Remember what you do, remember what you say. Be mindful of every action and word because your children are watching you. They mimic what you do and they copy what you say. They admire you. In many ways you are their hero. I want to leave you with one last thought. When your child compares his or her heavenly Father to his or her earthly father, what kind of impression does he get?
Father of Faith
- A Father of Faith is Firm in his Faith
- Fears the Lord
- A Father of Faith is Honored in his House
- Knows God
- A Father of Faith is Charming in His Character
- A Father of Faith is generous in His Gifts
- Gives freely
- A Father of Faith is Discreet in His Decisions
- Acts with Justice
- Keeps his Promises
- A Father of Faith is Right in His Relationships
- Lives upright