A teaching by Rev. Barbara Williams, President of the Ministry of the Watchman International

Week of June 10-14, 2024

This week, in honor of Father’s day, let us look at fatherhood in light of what God’s word says about it. Throughout the Bible, there are so many examples of fathers. We see God as the highest in fathering ability and attributes, but we see other men in the scriptures, and their dealings with their children and what God says about them provides a picture of the father’s role. The following story is a familiar one. We trust it will bless you as we remember fathers this week.
Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.”
Luke 15:11-12

A demanding child. All children are demanding from time to time. Most outgrow it, but here we have a picture of a son who is now a young man and he is still demanding. Not unlike some of us from time to time. Sometimes we are demanding with God. We want what we want when we want it, even from our loving, righteous, fair and just Heavenly Father.

So this son is not so unusual. He is a lot like us. He knows that he has a good father. This man has stored up an inheritance for his sons. The younger son shows his immaturity by demanding his inheritance ahead of time. This is so true of children. They have little ability to judge their readiness for certain things. All blessings come with a certain amount of responsibility attached to them.

It is the wise father who withholds the blessing until the son shows maturity and responsibility. The attribute of wisdom is of great value in fathering. Wisdom tells the father to give the son what he demands. After all, it does belong to him. The father would like to wait until the son is more mature, but he decides to comply with the son’s wishes.

If you are in need of healing, there is good news! Proverbs 4:20-22 SAYS:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

So there is life and health in God’s word. Since God’s word is medicine, we must take it like we would a prescription. I suggest three times a day, like you would your food. Remember, healing is the children’s bread. Consider this your “dose” for today. Remember, read, and meditate three times a day the following:

Rx: Psalm 105:37 ~ He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15

If you’ve never studied the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we invite you to join us as we read through the Bible in a year. Read and meditate on these chapters this week:

June 10: Deuteronomy 15, Psalms 102, Isaiah 42, Revelation 12
June 11: Deuteronomy 16, Psalms 103, Isaiah 43, Revelation 13
June 12: Deuteronomy 17, Psalms 104, Isaiah 44, Revelation 14
June 13: Deuteronomy 18, Psalms 105, Isaiah 45, Revelation 15
June 14: Deuteronomy 19, Psalms 106, Isaiah 46, Revelation 16
June 15: Deuteronomy 20, Psalms 107, Isaiah 47, Revelation 17
June 16: Deuteronomy 21, Psalms 108-109, Isaiah 48, Revelation 18

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
Luke 15:20

The son’s unwise choice is made obvious to him. This is the fruit of the father’s moving in wisdom; wisdom will always prevail and cause that which is unwise to be made obvious. God will vindicate any wise parent. It seems that the minute the child does the unwise thing; the fruit of his impulsiveness comes forth. It doesn’t take the devil long to ruin a person’s life.

It is obvious to everyone, sometimes it seems, except the person who is acting selfishly. Many of us have “prodigals” in our lives. It appears obvious to us that they are making mistakes, but somehow they can’t see it. It appears that this young man began to see in short order that he was not equipped to handle the responsibility of his own life. Most people have this experience. If they have rebelled against God and authority, they will fall quickly, like this young man did. They see very quickly how wrong they were.

Life is not as rosy for them on their own as they thought it was going to be. This causes remorse, and hopefully, repentance. Something on the inside of him lets him know that the life he had chosen was not for him. Could he go home again? A wise father opens the door for the son to return. The father is also the friend of his son.

And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
Luke 15:21

What type of example had the father been to his son all these years? Was he a proper role model? Time always tells. Would the son know that he was not a total failure? Would the love of the father override the mistakes of the son, and open the door for the son to still have a good future? What the father has put inside the son is very important.

Children learn through role modeling. They observe persons in certain roles and derive their function in that role by what they see. For years everybody wanted to “be like Mike,” (referring, of course, to Michael Jordan). When the tribulations of life began to hit this superstar, people began to see that there was more to being like Mike than met they eye. Role modeling is like that. We see both the good and the bad.

Perhaps this young man saw more good than bad in his father. Perhaps the fact that they were family made the difference. This young man remembered the kindness of his father to the servants in the house, and decided to apologize to the father and seek reinstatement. What does the loving father do?

But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.”
Luke 15:22

The father accepts the son just as he is. This is love. The love of the father for the son prevails over all the faults, waste, squandering and betrayal. Perhaps the son has made fun of the father behind his back. Perhaps he bragged on his wealth and upbringing to his friends instead of living as an example before them. Perhaps in rebellion he did not give the father as much respect as the father gave him; for the father was willing to allow the son to have his inheritance in spite of the fact that the son was not ready for the responsibility of managing his own life.

This is love!

The son is totally forgiven and reinstated. This is a picture of us as believers. Some of us have said horrible things about God and his people, but we said them in ignorance, immaturity and unbelief. Our Father forgives us with open arms. We can receive forgiveness and reinstatement from a Father who is love.

We are freely forgiven and loved, so we can now walk in love and forgive … just as the Father has taught us. We must appreciate the Father as our role model, and begin to imitate Him. When we do, we demonstrate ourselves as true sons of God in a world that is in desperate need of the Father’s loving embrace.

“And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to be merry.
Luke 15:23-24

The bible tells us that there is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. The father is able to rejoice when the son finds his way back home, and he invites his whole household to rejoice with him. He is not thinking about the headaches the son caused, or about the fact that the son’s problems have almost bankrupted the family. This is such a picture of how a loving father values a son.

We look at some parents who hire expensive lawyers when their obviously rebellious and unthankful children get into trouble with the law. God goes even farther with us. Many times the parent is not excusing the wrong done by the child; he is merely doing his best to help the child find the way back home.

This father was willing to totally reinstate the son after he returns. His inheritance began anew. He was absolved of all guilt. He was received by the father. His will was for his son to learn how to be an upright man. His wisdom in giving the inheritance (which was costly) to a wasteful son was beyond normal comprehension. The father loves the son and gives everything to him. He let his son know that money was not more important than their relationship. Having a father who can behave this wisely is a great blessing.  This is the blessing of how our Father loves us.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1