Today is a fun day on the podcast where we’d like to read a verse and then kind of expand on it, talk about it. What does it really mean? What’s really going on there? And a lot of times I feel like we like to go to the old Testament because those are sometimes the most often overlooked or misunderstood. But Jeremy, what’s the verse for today and what have we got going?
Yeah. So there’s a great passage in Genesis 18, and you guys know Abraham is a huge model for fatherhood. When we think about how the Bible talks about Abraham, its constantly talking about him as father Abraham. And so in … We actually learn in Genesis 18, one of the reasons why God chose Abraham, and it seems, as it says in Genesis 18, that he chose Abraham because of his skill as a father. And we learn about what God expects from fathers from this passage.
And the context of this passage is that Abraham is visited by these three angelic beings and after they leave to go judge Sodom and Gomorrah, two of them leave, and then God says, I want to have a conversation with Abraham about what I’m going to do with Sodom and Gomorrah. And when he is saying the reason why he is going to have this conversation with Abraham, he says in verse 19 of chapter 18, says “For I have chosen him that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him”.
It’s so interesting that God gives this reason, “For I have chosen him that he will command”, and there’s actually kind of a nuance in Hebrew … We were actually kind of doing a mid rash or Bible study with some people in Israel around this passage once and they all sort of jumped up because in the Hebrew they all kind of said, oh, the connotation here is “I knew that he would command his children” in the Hebrew, but it doesn’t come across as well in English. But it’s interesting, God knew that Abraham was the kind of father who would do an incredible job of training his children to understand the ways of the Lord and this idea of justice and righteousness. And that’s what caused God to choose Abraham, to initiate his rescue plan, to rescue humanity.
God was in other words, looking for a skilled father, because God knew that if you found a father who could command his children, he could create an entire family, massive multigenerational family line of people after him that could really accomplish his will and ultimately give birth to the Messiah.
And so I love this idea and you think about, again, what is God looking for? Why is he choosing Abraham? And by the way, so Abraham’s name, Abram, that was his original name, which means exalted father. This is one of the reasons we really see Abraham is a model father in the Bible is that his name mean exalted father, and God in this passage is really putting his stamp on Abraham and saying, hey, he’s the kind of guy who’s going to train his children.
And so this is really where I feel like is sort of ground zero for what it means to be a father. We learn in this passage, it is to train our children to understand the commands of the Lord, that they would understand justice and righteousness. And I see as one of my greatest responsibilities as a father to be training the intuitions of my children in such a way that they get justice, they get righteousness. And this is a really challenging and important part of being a dad. This is one of the reasons why when your three year old comes running to you and says, “that’s not fair”, it’s important to actually engage in that conversation because this is what they’re saying in their ways is that’s not just, and your job is to train your children about what justice is.
One of the biggest sort of problems that came from the fall is that we began to want to define righteousness and justice apart from God. And so what God needs us to do is he’s given children the gift of a father who will be training them in the commands of the Lord and be shaping and molding their intuitions to understand what justice and righteousness is all about. And this is ultimately what brings them to understand the gospel. When they really get what justice and righteousness are all about through the constant engagement of a father who wants to train them and is engaging with them, that’s when the gospel really makes sense to them.
So this is a really foundational part of what it means to be a dad. This verse is really critical to understand Genesis 18, 19. But Jeff, yeah, what are your thoughts about this one?
Yeah, I would just add, realize how big of an impact you can have if you’re a father with a vision, right? So fathers listening, realize that if you sit under the discipleship of the Lord, you then can be a skilled father that passes on those skills to the next generations. And then, yeah, not just the impact you can have if you have a vision, but the impact you can have if you really understand that you’re administering and passing off the good news to the next generation. The resurrection hope, the new creation, what we see in Jesus’s death and resurrection, and that that is the thing that will transform the world, and God has equipped you and believes in you to do that through your home and through the city, but through your home, through your children, through your marriage, and are you living in that design and are you living in that blessing and living in that promise like Abraham did so long ago.