Lesson 1 - Understanding the Call to Fatherhood
God has designed that children grow up in homes with parents to guide and care for them. Fathers are called to be the primary authority in their lives. Children tend to look up to God in much the same way they looked up to their earthly father. It is a sobering task to realize that your role as a father will have a direct impact on the eternal well-being of your children. In this lesson we will study one Scripture text and two examples to help us better understand the thinking patterns of Godly parents.
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. 3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate
What should give us courage when our task of raising a family for God seems overwhelming?
Why is it important to prepare our “arrows” today before they leave our hand?
How should a father view his children?
Verse 4 uses a word picture of a hunter with a bow sending arrows out into the future. You may not feel very mighty as fathers at times. Possibly this verse uses the word “mighty” to mean the far reaching effect of our posterity. Consider our potential offspring in a few generations –children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. We could say they will be powerful in terms of number (in comparison to the two parents), and in their influence, either for good or bad.
God said of Abraham:
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Why did God take notice of Abraham’s family?
Genesis 24 records the event when Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac. Isaac was of age and yet he listened on his father. His father had a vision for a godly wife for his son. He put a plan in place to accomplish his wish. Isaac accepts his father’s direction and finds his place in it. While the exact custom of a father finding a wife for his son is different in our culture, here is a beautiful picture of a well-taught son submitting to his father.
How do faith and obedience shape our lives and affect our families?
The Father Heart Of Manoah:
Now there was a certain man of Saraa, and of the race of Dan, whose name was Manoah, and his wife was barren. ... 8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord, that the mail of God, whom thou didst send, may come again, and teach us what we ought to do concerning the child that shall be born. 9 And the Lord heard the prayer of Manoah, and the angel of the Lord appeared again to his wife as she was sitting in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. And when she saw the angel... 12 And Manoah said to him: When thy word shall come to pass, what wilt thou that the child should do? or from what shall he keep himself? 13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah: From all the things I have spoken of to thy wife, let her refrain herself: 14 And let her eat nothing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: and whatsoever I have commanded her, let her fulfill and observe.
Several things we notice about Manoah:
He felt insufficient for the task of fathering a son
He wanted direction from God to help him succeed
He reverenced and worshiped God through sacrifice
He and his wife worked through their questions in harmony
He understood that God uses men to serve His kingdom
He understood his child had potential for good or evil
We do not understand why the angel came first to Manoah’s wife in his absence. Manoah could have been tempted to feel like this child was his wife’s responsibility. He appears to have been a busy man since he was away the first time the angel appeared. But Manoah took leadership responsibility in this event. He saw himself as being responsible, but needing God’s help for the task. He diligently pursued the face of God until he got his request. He also kindly listened to his wife’s thoughts when he thought they would die since he thought they had seen God (vs 22).
List ways that our children today are needed in God’s kingdom just as Samson was needed for delivering God’s people.
How does a Godly father today show his concern for his children?
From Judges 13:13-14, what was the angel’s answer to Manoah’s question and what clue does this give us today on the question of how we should order our children today?
How do you think Manoah’s interest in raising this promised child affected his wife?
1 Corinthians 4:15
For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.
Questions To Meditate On
- In what ways are fathers different from teachers?
- What are some of the long-term effects of a father’s faithfulness?
- List ways fathers can find God’s grace for their daily duties.
- Consider the following worldly concepts of family life and give answers from scriptures to show us a better way:
- The belief that discipline stifles the child’s personality
- Greatly reduced family size
- The belief that a child’s personality is the result of genetic make up