A Father's Love
The father stands close by his wife’s side. In moments, he watches his son come into the world, and a feeling of joy and pride floods his heart. Already, he calls the baby his “champ”. He is quick to lay his new-born babe in his first baseball glove for that special picture or have him wear clothing that bears his favorite NFL team logo. …And the little girl that is born? Oh, that is his little princess. He feels the need to protect her; to always keep her away from any boy that might do her harm.
Loving fathers want to provide and make sure that their child excels in all that they do. The problem is that too often, they only want to be their friend. They may give “time-out” when they didn’t pick up their toys after being asked the third time or get a pop on the rear-end for taking the neighbor’s tricycle or having the cell phone taken for disrespecting mom at the dinner table. But, what about “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)? There has to be more to discipline of wrong behavior, like training in a correct behavior mixed with love, mercy, and grace. Isn’t that how the Lord ministers to us?
We see the will of God for those who are fathers in relationship with their sons and daughters in Scripture. They are to exhort—to call them near to them to learn; and to comfort—to encourage and console. How? …By leading them in the way of God’s Word (1 Thes. 2:11-13).
Eli was a priest. He knew the way of the Lord and prophesied (I Sam. 1:17; 2:20&21). He had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. They stood in the office of priests, but did not carry out the will of God concerning this office. They took a greater portion of the sacrifice than they were supposed to and took their portion before God was given His (the burning of the fat). They served themselves before God which was iniquity and arrogance. (1 Sam. 2:13-17). Their sin actually led others to sin. The Bible goes on to tell us that Hophni and Phinehas were having sex with many of the women that were serving at the tabernacle.
Eli heard about the sins of his sons. He asked them why that they were doing these evil deeds and gave them warning of the consequences of such sins. Hophni and Phinehas ignored their father, and Eli did nothing to stop them when he had the authority to remove them as priests. The Lord spoke to Eli, “I will judge your house forever for the iniquity which you (allowed) because your sons made themselves vile, and you did not (stop them).” God also told Eli that he had honored his sons more than God (1 Sam. 2:29) and because of that, his sons would die. …And they did (1 Sam. 2:29-34).
Eli did not use his parental and juridical authority to curb his sons or prevent the disorders which they caused against God and Israel. Fathers may be fond of their children as Eli was, but this is not enough. Parental authority is not enough either. Let parental authority be tempered with fatherly affection; and let the rein of discipline be steadily held by this powerful, but affectionate hand; and there shall the pleasure of God prosper; there will He give his blessing.
I am reminded of a song called “Excuses”. God’s children can make up excuses as to why that can’t be in church. The song goes that one of the families in the church has a child with a cold and “the whole family had to stay home, just to blow that poor kid’s nose”. The Bible says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…” (Heb. 10:25). It’s amazing how fathers can get to work on time, but often feel that church doesn’t matter. Fathers, you were given eternal beings by God to train them in the way that they should go. It’s your obligation to do this in the home and making sure that they faithfully attend the local church and classes that can help minister the Word to them. You will stand before God and give an account as to how you raised your children. I trust that someday, you will hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…” Do you really love your children, then teach them the way of the Lord.