The third Sunday of June is dedicated to fathers. But few know that it was a woman who campaigned for recognition of the day.
Sonora Dodd’s father, a Civil War veteran, single-handedly raised her as well as her five siblings after her mother passed away due to a pregnancy-related complication.
The thought of having a day dedicated to fathers occurred to Sonora while listening to a sermon on Mothers’ day. She campaigned to get the day recognised in honour of her dad. Clearly, he left a remarkable impression on her!
As leaders of their homes, fathers have the authority, responsibility, and accountability before God to raise a godly generation. Our heavenly Father has always had a special place in His heart for the next generation.
Children are not to be mere offspring without a purpose. They are to be raised to become salt and light in this dark world. God designed the family to be His channel and fulfil this divine plan. And a father, as its head, is answerable to God in this task.
Judges 2 narrates the death of Joshua and how an era came to an end with him. The generation of Joshua can be called the ‘fulfilment’ generation.
As leaders of their homes, fathers have the authority, responsibility, and accountability before God to raise a godly generation
The Jewish people were finally coming into the land promised to their forefathers. All their years of slavery and a taxing exodus were behind them. They overcame several odds, thanks to Yahweh, to enter a land they could now call home.
It would be fair to assume that this generation and their children would be sold out to God. Having walked by faith for many years, they could now live by sight before the God who settled them in the holy land.
Alas, that was not to be! After recording the death of Joshua, the writer says this: “And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). It just took one generation to forget the Lord!
The verse explicitly states that the next generation was ignorant of their redemption and oblivious to the mighty acts of God. Verses 11 to 23 of the same chapter further talks about the depths to which they plunged. They not only abandoned God but went behind gods like Baal. They embraced the sinful rituals and detestable practices of the Canaanites.
But it wasn’t all on them. Their parents, as is evident from the above verse, were culpable for having failed to instruct their children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. This is in direct disregard to Yahweh’s instruction in Exodus 12:26 to explain the meaning of the Passover to the children upon their asking.
Further in their journey towards Canaan, God had also instructed His people to make a memorial to remember the parting of the river so that their children could be reminded of His mighty acts (Joshua 4:7).
Fathers, on this day that is dedicated to you, take a moment to give thought to how your children are instructed, reminded, and encouraged to follow the Lord their God. This is not a responsibility that you can abdicate to your spouse. Remember that God called out to Adam in the garden of Eden after the Fall. Though it was Eve who was tempted, it was her husband — being the head of the home — who was asked for an account by God.
On the other hand, Deuteronomy 6 was to be their guiding light in parenting — the ‘Magna Carta of the home’, as an author aptly described it. Instructions laid out here, if followed, could bring happiness and well-being to the family. It was written (primarily) to the Israelites in the context of the land they were going to occupy and settle.
Don’t set aside teaching solely for family devotion time — or worse still, rely entirely on Sunday schools or Christian academies for godly instruction for your children
Here are five instructions from Deuteronomy 6
It is our homes that must become the training ground for a life that ought to live out the true gospel. And fathers, this mandate has been given to you
A real danger in Christian homes is to have children who give the appearance of being saved with their display of good behaviour, but have hearts that are away from the gospel. We must understand that ‘GenNext’ is constantly exposed to two opposing ideologies: a gospel-centred one and a secular one.
It is our homes that must become the training ground for a life that ought to live out the true gospel. And fathers, this mandate has been given to you. Let the good old Biblical proverb, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it,” motivate you.
Yes, fathers have multiple commitments to fulfil and several roles to juggle. From being a dutiful husband to a responsible employee to being a deacon or elder at church, many roles are vying for your attention. How prepared are you?
God help us, dads. Happy Father’s Day!
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. – Billy Graham
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