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Calling God Father

Can we really call God our Father?

Some of us may be highly averse to, or sceptical about, the idea of God as our Father. There are at least two factors that might motivate such a reaction. The first has to do with our reasoning about God. If God truly exists, this argument goes, He must be so much greater and so much more complex than us. He must be infinitely beyond the capacity of our human minds to understand. How then can we presume that we, mere finite beings, are able to relate to God, let alone call Him Father? That seems to be incredibly presumptuous!

The second factor has to do with our experience of fathers. This Father’s Day, many of us will take the opportunity to appreciate and celebrate our dads for all that they are to us and the good that they have done for the family. But many others among us may not have had such a warm relationship with our dads. In fact, the very idea of a father may evoke in us memories of deep relational pain or even abuse and abandonment. Thus, to think of God as our Father may be the last thing we want. If God is a father, if God is like my father, I really do not want to have anything to do with Him!

Our reasoning and experience will inevitably shape our view of what God is like and the world around us. But God knows our story and feels our pain. In His love, He invites us into His story. He wants us to know Him as He truly is, not what we might imagine Him to be.

What then, from God’s point of view, does it mean for God to be our Father?

1. God our Father provides for our needs

In times of difficulty, we are naturally anxious about what the future holds for ourselves and our families. Jesus addresses the very heart of our fears when He tells us that God our heavenly Father knows what we need before we even ask Him (Matthew 6:8). Our Father who knows us is not a kind but impotent deity. Rather, He is the awesome Creator who constantly sustains the existence of the universe. God looks after the birds of the air and the flowers of the field—seemingly insignificant parts of His creation that we seldom think about. Therefore, we can be sure that God will also look after us who are certainly much more valuable to Him than birds (Matthew 6:26).

2. God our Father loves us and includes us in His family

One of the central truths (and mysteries!) of the Christian faith is that the God of heaven and earth wants to relate to us personally. He invites us to talk to Him, addressing Him as our heavenly Father–an intimate reference somewhat like “Daddy” (Matthew 6:9). Now it would indeed be presumptuous for us to think that we can address God in such intimate terms, ifthis was some idea we had cooked up. But praying to God in this way is not presumptuous simply because it was God Himself who invited us to do so. Therefore, it is a right and humble response for us to take God at His word and accept His invitation. When we do so in prayer, we begin to experience God in a close relationship and experience the love of our Heavenly Father. We also find ourselves in the worldwide family of God’s people, among all those everywhere who also call God, “Father”.

The yearning in each of us to truly belong—to find our place and home—can only be met by God alone. Today, God your Heavenly Father is calling out your name. Will you respond to Him?

Written by Ben Sun

We encourage you to check out the suggested resources, below, to find out more about God your heavenly Father and to draw near to Him.

SERMONS

“Found in the Storm”, by Rev Tan Kay Kiong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1556

“Knowing the Father”, by Rev Dr Timothy Keller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuOK9_sPabY

“A Father’s Heart”, by Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon (delivered at Covenant EFC in 2017): https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/211

“Father’s Day Message”, by Rev Chris Chia (delivered at Covenant EFC in 2019): https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/955

 

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 5-7 (These chapters, known as Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” are full of the rich theology of God as our Heavenly Father)

John 5:17-23

Romans 8:15-16

1 Corinthians 8:6

2 Corinthians 6:18

Colossians 1:12

James 1:17

ARTICLES & VIDEOS

“Why it matters that God is our Father” by Ray Ortlund Jr.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dwomSH9N0o

(Ray Ortland Jr., a scholar and pastor, shares in a 2-min video clip that God is our Father on two levels, that of creation and redemption.)

“God as Father”, by Gerald Bray: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/god-as-father/

(Gerald Bray, a theologian, explains what distinguishes the Christian’s relationship to God from what allows the believer to relate to Him as Father.)

“God the Father”, by Focus on the Family: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/god-the-father/

(This article deals with the topic of the Fatherhood of God through the lens of parenting.)

 

TESTIMONY

“Tell Felicia Chin I am her Father”, by Felicia Chin: https://saltandlight.sg/faith/tell-felicia-chin-i-am-her-father/

(Mediacorp actress, Felicia Chin, shares how she came to call God her Father.)

 

SONGS

“You’re a Good, Good Father”, by Chris Tomlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqybaIesbuA

“Our Father”, by Don Moen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajMqhFz3FIk

“The Father’s Song”, by Matt Redman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esapsbVXXsc

“This is My Father’s World”, by Maltbie D. Babcock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9dWMTxw290

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
Jonah 1:4-16; Psalm 86:11
Tue, 25 January 2022

The Fearful Men

Observation:

How did the sailors’ fear change from verse 5 to verse 16?

Deeper Reflection
THE NARRATIVE OF THE STORM AND SAILORS IS FULL OF irony and comedy. Picture the drama. The seasoned mariners were scared out of their wits (v.5). In an utter frenzy, they dumped cargo, desperately trying to save themselves. In contrast, Jonah the rebellious prophet was oblivious to the danger, sleeping in the bowels of the ship. The mariners were frantically calling out to their gods. But the prophet of the LORD was asleep. And so the flabbergasted captain came to Jonah and commanded him, “Arise, call out to your god!” (v.6). This is a parody of the divine command that Jonah rejected: arise,…and call out against Nineveh (Jon 1:2).65 After an exercise of lot-casting to determine who is responsible for the disaster, the sailors discovered that it is Jonah, who then disclosed, “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (v.9). Jonah’s talk about “fear” must have sounded incredibly hollow to the sailors who knew about his wilful rebellion!66 It was them, and not the LORD’s prophet, who understood the gravity of what Jonah had done (v.10). Another irony of the story is that because of Jonah’s irreverence, the sailors came to genuinely revere his God (v.16). How about us? Are we like Jonah, professing to fear God but treating God flippantly? Pastor Timothy Keller defines the fear of the Lord as being “overwhelmed with wonder before the greatness of God and His love”67. Let us ask the LORD for an undivided heart that truly fears His name (Psa 86:11).
65 D. J. Wiseman, T. D. Alexander, and B. K. Waltke, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah, Tyndale Old Testament commentaries v. 26 66 Ibid., 116. 67 Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (New York: Dutton, 2011), 68.
Application:

What does the fear of the Lord mean to me and how does it impact the way I live?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for pastors and staff: That they will have an undivided heart that fears the name of the LORD (Psa 86:11)
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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