Old Testament Fatherhood

We really like to look at different verses in the Bible that specifically talk about fatherhood that might help us get kind of the big picture about what fatherhood is about and it’s always shocked me a little bit that the last verse of the entire Old Testament, the Hebrew scriptures, is a book about fatherhood and it’s actually one of the most intense verses about fatherhood in the Bible.

It’s right in the book of Malachi, the last chapter, towards the very end of the chapter, the last couple of verses talk about fatherhood. Let me read this to you guys. I wanted to talk to Jeff a little bit about this because this is so surprising that this came up and it’s interesting how the prophet articulates this. It says “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes and he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with the decree of utter destruction.”

So there’s something about fatherhood and there’s all the elements of this, the hearts of the children and their relationship to the fathers, the heart of the fathers, their relationship with the children and the impact it has on the land. The Lord is like watching over this and it seems like these three elements, the hearts of the fathers and children, and the land are totally interconnected. Jeff, what do you, what do you think about this? What comes to mind?

I think it’s just so self-explanatory in a really beautiful way that I don’t think anyone, even though we never talk about it, would argue that if the hearts of fathers were turned towards their children and vice versa, do we really think we would be in such a bad state right now as a society, as a country, as a world. Meaning, if that really can be fixed, it’s very much almost the beginning of the momentum, the tip of the iceberg. That is something that if we can turn father’s hearts back towards their children and vice versa, that really would change, it would have a snowball effect and enormous ramifications. I think also remembering too that this is a huge truth or promise that the scriptures are saying.

And like you said, it’s the very end of the Old Testament narrative of visioning this future that will happen, and we see God put heaven and Earth back together through the person and work of Jesus as the true temple, as the true sacrifice, as this kind of uniting and renewing all things in himself, and what a beautiful truth that what’s going to happen when that happens and already has happened and we’ve seen in pockets is that restoration of family, parent-kid relationships, the land will actually flourish and be living and thriving again, which to me seems very much like Eden. It seems like a promise of Eden that there will be a garden, it won’t be thistles, it won’t be a desert, it won’t be all these other things that we see when destruction does enter and I just think catching that vision and letting that sink into your heart, taking that before the Lord and actually chewing on that as almost like a gasoline in your father’s car, your father’s heart car, that is the magic.

That is the thing that can push you through the hard days. That’s the thing that can get you through the hard seasons of, that you’re a signpost toward the future. Not only what Jesus has already done, but then revelation 21 and 22, where it’s fully put back together, that when we turn our hearts back towards each other, we’re a signpost of where God is going, what he’s doing, and we get to play a part in that drama. So I don’t know, is there anything you would add to that?

Yeah, these two different, and they are almost like completely polarizing in terms of how different you’re talking about what is wrong with the land? What’s the root problem why things aren’t working, right? And then you get all the way down to the root solution, which is if the hearts of the fathers would turn to the children and then the hearts of the children would turn to their fathers, then there would be healing that would take place. And so you have kind of sort of a description of like, and this is every time you see people talk about what’s wrong with our city, what’s wrong with our culture? It’s really important that the root problem of the hearts of fathers in their connection to the children and the children to the fathers is immediately brought up as a root problem to why there’s problems in society. It’s not a mystery.

There are obviously complexities and other elements. But if this is not happening well, if you can point out and say, “Yeah, there’s lots of problems, but clearly fathers are disconnected to children and children to fathers”, well, hold up man. If that’s happening in a culture, in a city, in that nation, then you know from the very beginning that this sort of destructive force has been unleashed and it’s not going to go well until we fix that problem. So that’s why we’re so passionate about, if we want to see thriving happen in our cities, in our cultures, and in order to really push into that, we have to address this root problem of the heart connecting between dads and their kids.

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