They asked each other, “Who did this?” When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.” The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” Judges 6:29-31 NIV
Last night I was in a meeting with about 80 men as we were challenged to be good fathers. Two men shared their own personal stories and the role of their fathers. One dad was fully supportive and continues to encourage his son through the death of one of his children. The other dad was alcoholic and abusive until the day he died. The emotional scars were still present even though Jesus is healing his wounds.
Gideon tears down the community’s altar to Baal and now they are out to get him. This is a very interesting part of the story in which Gideon is “hiding” in his father’s house. They called out the dad to give up his son. His dad, Joash, defends and speaks on behalf of his son. (This sounds very similar to the crowd at Jesus’ trial)
Earlier in the chapter Gideon had revealed that his clan was the least among the tribe of Manasseh and he was the least in his family. Yet we find that his dad was speaking on behalf of the actions of his son to make a line of defense for him. Did your dad ever “stick up” for you?
When we dip into our past reactions regarding our father’s relationship, our emotions can be all over the place. Some of you were blessed with healthy rhythms with dad and others were scarred. These three things remain priorities in forming healthy children.
- Presence matters. The first and most important role of a father is to be present. This includes physical and emotionally present. We in America are eating the fruit of single parent homes.
- Actions matter. Children model what they see and hear. It is very humbling as a parent to see your traits (both good and bad) come to life in your children.
- Words matter. We long for the “I Love You”, and are stung with character assassination words, “your so dumb, you always make mistakes, why did we even have you, you’ll never amount to much.” Even if 99.5% of the words are positive, many times we get stuck on the one negative memory. Negative words are like hooks with barbs, they have a way of sticking that hurts to remove.
Malachi declares that we are living in a time when the hearts of Fathers should turn to the children and the hearts of children turn to their fathers. When this is not happening, the land lies under a curse. If you were blessed with a great relationship with your Dad, thanks be to God, for you are in a minority. If you had a tough childhood in relating to your Father, God knows your pain. Fatherhood disappointments stay with us a long time, but Jesus can heal your wounds.
Let’s end today with a prayer
Father, thank you that we can start our prayer by addressing you as Father, Abba or Daddy. We know that you are good and all that you do is good. We come to you today on behalf of those who are broken emotionally from the wounds of fathers. We confess our sin of selfishness as it relates to fulfilling the role of parenting. We confess that we still live among a people of unclean lips who have spoken more death than life. Please forgive us.
Lord, forgive us for easy divorce in America. It is clear that you hate divorce and we expect you to overlook it. Forgive us. We are reaping the destruction of families because we violate your ways.
Father for those who are still walking with wounds from their dads we ask that you bring healing. Help them to forgive. May they find healing in letting go of judgment and speaking blessing. May you bring peace to someone’s broken heart right now. May your presence of peace warm their cold and darkness.
Father, we ask that you help fathers love and nurture their children. We ask that men help men be who you have called them to be. We ask that grandfathers encourage their sons to “do the right thing”. We ask that dad would be present, act lovingly and speak life over their children.
Father, we are not without hope. You become a father to the fatherless. You can place your daddy’s heart into men to cause them to love their children. Do it again and again. Help restore love and affection in our families we pray. In Jesus name amen.
Blessing Love y’all