Hi everyone, Rob here.
I’ve reading in Deuteronomy recently in preparation for a preaching series and I was struck by these words that Moses said to the people in 10:12-13
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
Reading these verses I am struck by the parental tone of God, especially in that last phrase, “for your own good.” As a dad of two young (7 and 9) children I can relate to that. I think of the combination of orders, suggestions and requests I made of my kids over the weekend and the majority were made to benefit them. From helping them learn a board game to picking up after themselves to giving them some money to spend, it is all, ultimately, to help them know they are loved and because they are loved they will be taught how to become people of good character with good hearts and a good sense of humour! We parent in ways that help our kids mature and develop as people. God parents us in the same way with the same goals. He wants us to mature, develop and become people who have his character and characteristics.
It’s often said that we want our kids to become ‘independent.’ I’m not sure that’s true. I think want parents want is for their wisdom and experience to be used by their children as they go through different stages of life. When they’re little we help them choose their clothes for the day or decide what they’re having for dinner. As we get older we want help with choosing the best bank to use or the best car to buy or how to ask a girl out for a date. Our desire is for parents who will listen, talk it through with us, pass on some wisdom and then leave us to it. At my age I’m after the voice of experience that simply says ‘you’re doing well, God is good, keep going.’
What is the voice of God the parent saying to us right now? He’ll be saying whatever we need to help us grow in character, wisdom, faith and trust, love and intimacy with him. Sometimes that will mean he challenges us, tests us and confronts our sin and selfishness. Other times it will be a voice of reassurance that tells us we have what it takes, trust him and keep going. He may give specific directions or remind us that we know what we have to do. He’ll be helping us grow in courage, become more alive and whole hearted as we follow him.
Today I have needed both reassurance and a refocusing. God has provided both by reminding me of this verse.
You are always with me and everything I have is yours (Luke 15:31).
This reminded me of my sonship and that I belong to God’s kingdom with a job to do. I know who I am, I have God’s resources at my disposal and I am here for a reason. I was given courage and peace; strength and hope. This is what parents are to do for their children and it is what God does for us.
May you know his heart for you as your parent this week. He is Father but he also mothers us. He strengthens and he nurtures. He teaches and he embraces. He loves and loves freely.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! – 1 John 3:1