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Because of your father's God
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This is a piece written for all fathers out there, who desire to be good fathers.
In Genesis, chapter 49 verse 25, in the New International Version, it reads: “Because of your father’s God, who helps you…”
Let us pause for a minute. Read that verse again, “Because of your father’s God, who helps you…” if that verse had read like this “Because of your God, who helps you…” it would still have been correct. But Jacob said to Joseph “Because of your father’s God”
The whole chapter in Genesis 49 was an account of the blessings Jacob blessed his children before he died. It was Joseph’s turn and Jacob was recounting the travails of Joseph and he was commenting on how Joseph had survived and remained strong and steadfast, and because of God. But not just God, Jacob personalized it: “Your father’s God…”
Joseph had survived his ordeals because of his father’s God; because he knew the God of his father. His father knew the God of his own father who in turn knew the God of his father. The knowledge of the Almighty, the arm of the Almighty was responsible for Joseph’s ability to stay strong in spite of the adversities he faced and to survive and be successful.
The faith he had seen in Jacob his father had been replicated in him, and had made him strong. The faith he had in the God of his father Jacob, and of Isaac and of Abraham had preserved him.
It is good for fathers to know God. Jacob had unique experiences with God, and Joseph growing up would have seen and experienced them, and this greatly influenced him and prepared him for his purpose. A strong knowledge of and walk with God goes a long way to secure the strength and stability of our children.
When Joseph faced adversity, he remained strong, his strength increased in spite of opposition, because of the help of his father’s God, who helps him, who blesses him.
Joseph as a young lad was close to his father Jacob and got to know about the God of Abraham and Isaac. He was beloved of his father and he was morally upright; he learned righteousness from a tender age. He was different from the other kids, because he was taught of the Lord, by his father. Rather than join in the immoral ways of his brothers, he shunned it.
It is one lesson for fathers. Teach your children the ways of the Lord right from when they are young. Children look up to their fathers a lot- for courage, strength and support, and fathers should not fail to talk openly about God and personal experiences with God with their children. We should take our children to our prayer sessions, teach them to pray and talk to God and be a friend of God. Read them the bible and talk about God with them.
It is good for fathers to know God. It is good for fathers to be able to talk like Jacob: “your father’s God helps you”. It was because Jacob himself had experienced God: he has experienced God’s mercies, his help and protection and provision.
A father’s knowledge of God:
1. Affects his character and lifestyle.
He will live by example and show his children how to live, what to do and not to do. Children learn by modelling. They mostly pick up words and habits that they see around them. children often wants to imitate their parents and the most important people that shape a child’s life are the parents, especially the father, being the head of the home and who should dictate the pace. When a father knows God, the children will see it in his words, actions, character, principles, priorities and relationships.
2. Affects his words/teaching.
God said of Abraham that He was confident that Abraham would teach his children the ways of the Lord. When a father knows God, he will teach it to the children. No, not in preaching or formal sermons or sanctimonious parodies but in his normal day to day speeches and talks. When a father knows God, it reflects in his speeches, how he addresses people, how he treats others and what life lessons he passes down to his children.
A father that knows God would not teach his children things that are immoral, illegal or hurtful to other people. He would teach them godly principles, equity, justice, relationships with others and society and life principles that would make them successful. A father that knows God is different; his words are full of wisdom and nuggets, because his heart is full of God. He is building up the next generation to be better and to make the world better.
3. Affects his prayers and intercessions.
He knows the many challenges ahead and knows he need a higher power to prevail, to be successful at being a good father. So, he is constantly soliciting for help from God. He prays for his children and family, and brings them before God, who only can keep them safe and make them into the people He wants. He knows that even when he has done his best, it is not enough most times; that there are so many variables that he cannot control and so many evils lurking behind the corner that he is not aware of, so many external influences that can destroy in a heartbeat all he has labored for his whole life. So, he commits all to Him who can do all things and that is able to keep everything that is committed to His hands.
A father that knows God is a praying father. While his children sleeps, he stays awake a little longer to pray for his wife and children. He also understands the power of collective prayers and he joins his wife to pray together. He also prays with his family regularly.
4. Affects his legacy.
He knows that the most important things in life are not things that can be seen or touched. He knows that the best things in life are free and he passes this down to his children. He teaches them the value of hard work, of respect for human lives and boundaries, of being law abiding and courteous. He teaches them the importance of family, and to always put God and family first in all their considerations, decisions and choices. He teaches them to be responsible, to be accountable and to value integrity above all else. He knows that in the end, it is always about character, and he doesn’t stress this enough. He knows that to be godly goes beyond religion and church attendance, and that being godly is summed up in being good, because the first thing anybody ever knows about God is that God is good, and that all good things and perfect comes from God.
5. Affects his priorities.
A father that knows God knows what is important at all times. He is not influenced by reigning trend and the rush for wealth accumulation at all cost. He is wise and understands the time. At every point in time, he always knows what the Lord wants him to do. He seeks the will of God for his life in all things. He is a leader who is also under the authority of God. He seeks God’s guidance on every matter, small and great, and does to the letter whatever God has commanded.
He is not afraid to stand for the truth and acknowledges his mistakes to his family. He is not dictatorial, he carries everybody along. A father that knows God is family oriented. His children have free access and he is open. He is not afraid to say ‘sorry’ and is always involved in his children’s lives. He gives godly counsel, does not try to force his way on his children and is not afraid to allow them to make their own mistakes and learn from it. He is confident in God that all will be well, and his sole trust is in God.
6. Affects his blessings.
A father that knows God knows the power in a father’s blessings and he is generous with them. He never utters a curse or curse words; he understands the power in the tongue. When he is angry, he refrains from speaking and all his words are from a wellspring of love from deep within. He understands like Jacob that “Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains; than the bounty of age old hills” (Genesis 49 vs 26, NIV)
…Your father’s God.
In that chapter 49 of Genesis in verse 24, Jacob referred to God as the shepherd. His choice of words was apt. He himself had been a shepherd all his life and he had reflected on his life and likened the way God had dealt with him to the way a shepherd leads his sheep. This can also be seen in Genesis chapter 48 and verse 15. There, he was more personal: “The God who has been my shepherd….”.
Joseph had learnt from his father Jacob that whatever path his life took, it was divinely orchestrated and so he didn’t lose heart when his life had taken a turn for the worse. He had stayed strong when he should have been downcast and had made a stand for God when he should have felt deserted; situations where many would have been questioning God. His was that of a quiet acceptance of his path and journey, an implicit trust in the wisdom of God in the planning of his life.
Rather than bewilderment, it was enlightenment, a sure revelation that his life was ordered from above, by God. When he was addressing his brothers after he had become the prime minister in Egypt and his brothers had been smitten by pangs of regret, this was what he said “don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me into this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives…..so it was God who sent me here and not you!” (Genesis 45 vs 5 and 8a, NLT).
Joseph had an understanding of purpose and divine guidance; he had the revelation, and knew that his life was being ordered by God, both the good and the not so good; they were all working to fulfill the plan of God for his life, pushing him to a place of destiny and purpose. He told his brothers that unknowing to them, their hatred and betrayal were just sending him down the path of destiny and on the journey to fulfilling purpose.
Such knowledge is refreshing and comforting; it is like a warm blanket on a cold night, to keep the icy hands of despair away. But the knowledge came from his father Jacob; he learnt what the psalmist will later articulate succinctly: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23 vs 1, KJV). He understood by listening to and observing his father that often times, the Great Shepherd leads His people through the “valley of the shadow of death” but that He never leaves them, he will always be with them to comfort them.
Thus, it was easy for him to say to Portiphar’s wife “How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God” (Genesis 39 vs 9, NLT). Invariably, Joseph was saying “How can I sin against God? God who is here, watching over me in a strange land and not making my circumstance worse than it is; God who is staying awake and planning my great ascent to the throne; who is busy plotting the best twist to the story of my adversity; who is busy fitting the puzzles of my life together to fulfill destiny and to rescue a nation and a generation from ruin.
“God who is helping me to be the reason why Israel would come to Egypt so that in four hundred years to come, He would demonstrate His mighty acts in order to bring the Israelite nation from Egypt by many spectacular and supernatural miracles that it will be talked about for ages, and a reference point for a whole race till the end of time and even in eternity; the great deliverance, that will be a mirror of Christ’s mission to deliver sinners and rescue them from the bondage of the devil; and all starts with me!”
Joseph knew his father’s God! He made it in life because of his father’s God who helps him.
“Because of your father’s God, who helps you…”
Did you notice that the verb ‘help’ was in the present tense? He helped in the past and is helping in the present. God is a God of the present; his help is ever present. David summed it up beautifully in Psalm 46 verse 1 “God is our strength and refuge, a very present help in trouble” (KJV).
Jacob said “The God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day” (Genesis 48 vs 15, NLT). Joseph knew that and he kept it with him all his life.
It is important for God to be a father’s God, the effects are far reaching, beyond the imagination and comprehension. May we be that father to our sons and daughters; to stand at the end of our days and beat our chest and say “Son, you succeeded because of your father’s God”
Will it be written about us that our children stood strong, survived and were successful because of their father’s God?
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