Saturday, April 18, 2009

God As Father!

So, as I said, I am preaching about the Model Prayer on Wednesdays. The first part that Jesus tells us is to pray to our “Father” in heaven. This concept of God as Father is old hat to us in the church. But when Jesus first said those words it was quite controversial.

The Jews believed that God was far off and that He was unapproachable. Jesus taught that God was Father. In fact, He also told us to call God Abba…which means, well, Daddy. What Jesus wanted us to see is that God is very approachable. Just as a child can come to his dad with anything, so we should go to Father with anything. When we are feeling low, when we are depressed, when the crash comes, when a crisis is full blown, when the doctor says “cancer,” when the banker says “no,” when life says “moe ron,” and we run out of excuses and the ability to handle life on our own terms, we can go to Father. I read again J.I. Packer’s book and found this statement that I really, really love. Packer says, “Father is the Christian name for God.” Ain’t that grand!? To the Jews, He was Yahweh. Actually, YHWH. They took the vowels out and did an all caps kinda thing in the Hebrew, because His name, they thought, was to Holy to be said, or spoken, or written. Then Jesus says, “Duh. His name is Father. Call Him Daddy.”

Now at this point, if your even still reading and haven’t gone comatose from boredom, you may be thinking…”But He is Holy.” Absolutely. Understand, He is not just “the man upstairs.” He is the thrice Holy God of Israel. However, He does desire for us to have a close relationship with Him. So, as Packer says, we are to call him Father, because to His children that is His name. Why is so important to know His name? To us a name is a name. It sounds good, or was a family thing. Luke’s middle name is William. Why? My dad and brother are Williams. Patty’s father and brother are Williams. So he is Luke William. I once knew a girl named Chiquita. Just like the banana. I have knows girls named Princess and a man or two named King. Our parents name us because they like the sound or some other meaning is attached. But to the ancients a person’s name had relationship to an individual’s character. Jacob means “Trickster.” Steven means “Crowned One.” That is why you see name changes so often in the Scriptures. So God’s name is important because it describes His character.

Listen to how David describes God’s name in the Psalms… O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!... And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You…May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you {securely} on high!
God’s name! It brings help in the mist of trouble.

(Still with me I see. Good for you. I know this is a long post.) So, for those in the mist of trouble He is Jehovah-Shalom…The God who beings peace. To those sick and afflicted He is Jehovah-Ropheka…The God who heals. To those in financial trouble, He is Jehovah-Jirah…The God who provides. And to me… to me, friends, He is El-Shaddai…The God who is sufficient for the needs of His people. In-other-words, He is Father.

As you pray, pray to Father God. Ask Him to heal your hurts, forgive your trespasses, bless your finances, and save you from destruction. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.



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