Skip Heitzig - The Legacy of a Godly Dad
Good morning. Boy, didn't our Hamilton actors do great this morning? Wasn't that great? And I'm especially grateful for them leaving me this Hamilton pulpit to preach from. So would you turn in your Bibles please? Happy Father's Day, by the way, dads. Turn in your Bibles, please, to Deuteronomy chapter 6. Deuteronomy, that book with the funny name, is the fifth book in your Bible from the beginning, Deuteronomy chapter 6.
There's an old joke that says Father's Day is just like Mother's Day, only you don't spend as much on the gift. To which I say, what gift? No, my son... couldn't be more proud of my son. He's, today, in Detroit, Michigan, preaching a Father's Day message for a church there while I'm here. So I like that.
So whether you are a dad today, or you're celebrating the life of your father, or the legacy of your father, the memory of your father, I want to say to all the men who are here especially, Happy Father's Day. And we do want to honor you in a special way today, not just giving you a root beer mug, but talking about the truth from the scriptures.
When we had Mother's Day, I told you how it was founded. It was discovered by or thought up by a woman on the East Coast in Virginia. Same with Father's Day. It was invented by a woman on the West Coast, up in Washington state, in 1910. Her name was Sonora Dodd. And she wanted to especially honor her father.
She felt like he deserved to be honored, because her Father raised six children as a single parent. And in those days, that was just monumental. In any day, that's monumental. So he raised six children, and she wanted to honor him. And that caught on and it became Father's Day. So we're grateful to her. Now I can remember, back in the 1960s, when there was a series on television, the actor's name was Robert Young. And he played... somebody's picking up on this. He played the role of Father Knows Best. What a title, right? You would never have that title today, Father Knows Best.
And what is interesting about it... I didn't think of it then, as a kid. But I think back to it now. And the reason it was so odd, different, is that Robert Young the dad was always pictured with a sport coat or a suit, white shirt and a tie, at home. So he's sitting in his chair at home, dressed like that. He's at the dinner table with a tie.
He's like in the garage with his tools. Got the tie on. That's the father. That was there trying to portray the ideal father. His wife was always nicely dressed. She was making cakes and cookies. And the house was spotless all the time. This is just such not reality, right? And whenever there was an issue or a problem, Robert Young the dad would say... or excuse me, the mother would say, because the dad's at work... don't worry. Your dad will be home soon. He'll fix it, right? He has the solution.
And he always did have the solution. He always did fix the problem. He applied such wisdom. And so imagine having a weekly show that everybody tuned into called Father Knows Best. That is not the TV way dads are portrayed today. That was the way they were portrayed in the 50s and 60s. Dads were pictured as heroes, leaders, guides. They were admired. These days, the TV dad is clueless, irresponsible, and more like an additional child. He's made fun of a lot. He's not the brightest bulb in the pack. You know, he's just dad. He just does these things.
I think it's safe to say that the family is under attack today. I know that's a phrase that you have heard me say. In fact, I'll tell you the truth. I've said that sentence for 40 years. And every year, it's been true. And today, it's truer than ever before. It is worse than ever before. And that is because the family has been redefined in our culture. You don't believe me? Ask you kids. If they go to public school, they're going to be told, this is what a family is. It may consist of a Father and mother and children, or it may consist of two men and children, or two women and children. All of those are perfectly normal, healthy families.
Add to that the reinforcement that comes from the media, and it's hard for kids to survive. Because the media... you can't find a movie that doesn't portray a homosexual in it, or a same sex relationship that is exonerated, or a traditional family that is ditzed in that movie... seen as outdated and dysfunctional, made fun of. So a kid growing up these days with that exposure sees the family, defines the family in very nebulous terms, not the concrete Father knows best, not the concrete Bible, one man, one woman, et cetera. That is, may or may not happen. But that's so passe. Now we can't just blame the media.
We can't just blame the school system. There's plenty of bad examples of dads out there to reinforce it, no matter where you look. And my mind goes to a very famous example, one by the name of Bill Cosby, who was nicknamed America's Favorite Dad, America's Favorite Dad. And he even wrote a book called Fatherhood. And it happened to be an excellent book, one that I read a few times and quoted from a few times, because it was so good. The problem, of course, as you know, is that Bill Cosby is in a state penitentiary. He's in Pennsylvania, in a prison, because he was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman.
And so he's serving prison time for that. Since he was convicted and put in prison, 50 women... 5-0 women have come forward and said he did exactly the same thing to them. Now, those may just be accusations. And it could just be that one. But that's the example of America's favorite dad. So it's safe to say the family is under attack. And one of the biggest crises in our country that assaults the family comes from fathers. And it's called fatherless families. It is of epidemic proportions. You think the pandemic was bad? Get a load of these statistics.
According to the US Census Bureau, one fourth of America's children grow up without a father, 25%. It is estimated that 33% of children that are born are born outside of a marriage. Now that's 33%, not including cities. If you go into big cities, almost every big city in America, 50% of children born are born outside of marriage. And if you think that is not a problem, understand this. 85% of those prisoners who are incarcerated grew up in fatherless families. Everybody knows this is problematic.
Everybody knows that this is a crisis. There's a great organization that has served those in prison for years called Prison Fellowship. We've worked with them. I've known leaders in that organization, including the founder. And Prison Fellowship ministers to prisoners behind bars and to their families, to get them support, and get them adjusted, and get them through that. And every year, they pass out cards to the prisoners to send their parents on Mother's Day and Father's Day. So they hand out a stack of Mother's Day cards for free, whoever wants them. They hand out Father's Day cards for free, whoever wants them.
In just one prison in California on Mother's Day, there were 1,000 requests for cards to send to mom, Happy Mother's Day mom, from prisoners... 1,000. On Father's Day, in the same prison, there were six requests for cards to send to dad on Father's Day. Now before you get too nervous, this is not about parading father failure this morning. This is really about joyfully and unashamedly raising the banner of biblical fatherhood, and saying that by God's grace, and by his Spirit, we can do this.
Nobody is going to take away my shot. You know, I got one shot at this life. And I'm going to step up to the plate. And by God's grace, we can do this. There's an old saying that says, it only takes a few minutes to become a father. But it takes a lifetime to be a dad. And I want to show you from Deuteronomy chapter 6 how to be dad... three simple principles... not easy, but simple. And what it means to be a good dad... I want to give you three directives. These are just sort of general directives for this Father's Day meditation. And they're pretty simple. Love your God personally, learn the truth inwardly, and lead your kids diligently. If we could do those things, we'd be further down the road than most in our country.
So let's go to Deuteronomy chapter 6. We'll begin in verse 1 for that first directive, love your God personally. Now this is God speaking through Moses to the children of Israel. Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments, which the Lord your God has commanded you, or commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments which I command you and your son and your grandson.
So I'm giving this command to you and your son and your grandson... it's generational... all the days of your life, that your days may be prolonged. Therefore, hear, oh Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you. I want the best for you. That you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you, a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Here it is. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Now this has been called the cornerstone of Judaism.
This is so embedded into the psyche of every Jewish person. And orthodox Jews, to this day, believe that reciting this, especially verses 4 and 5, reciting this twice a day is their sacred duty. It's called the Shammah, the Shammah. And that is because the first word in verse 4... notice... is the word hear. And in Hebrew, it's: Shema Israel Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad. Hear, oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
And that's so sacred that is recited by an Orthodox Jew twice a day. Now that is followed by, in verse 5, a command. Hears the command. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. You know that Jesus quoted this as being the greatest commandment of all? A lawyer came to him and said, what's the greatest commandment? Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6... love the Lord your God. He kind of modified it a little bit with all your mind, heart, mind, soul, strength. But then he said, the second commandment is like it, quoting now Leviticus. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On this hang all the law and the prophets.
So this is the greatest commandment. What that means, then, is this is the greatest priority for any person, and certainly for any father. Love your God personally. This is the first essential to successful fathering. And it's basically this... every earthly dad should be connected to his heavenly dad. Every earthly dad should be connected to his heavenly dad. The Lord God must first be the Lord your God before he's ever going to be the Lord their God. If you want the Lord to be their God, your kids, your family, he's got to be the Lord your God first.
Moreover, this love for God isn't just a casual yeah, God and I, we talk every now and then, you know. We're on good terms. He hears from me on the weekends. No, this kind of love, notice, should be an all encompassing, supreme love of your life. Love him with all your heart. Love him with all your soul. Love him with all your strength. And if you don't mind, I'm just going to pick those apart, give you the words and the meaning.
The word heart in Hebrew is the word.... And the heart speaks of the mind. In fact, it's often a synonym for the mind. It's funny, because I hear people kind of talk about, can be in your head, man. But it's got to be in your heart, as if the mind is competing with the heart. In the Bible, it's the same. The heart is your thoughts. It's your cognitive abilities. It's your ability to process thoughts. It's your will.
That's the heart. Followed by the next word... soul. Different word in Hebrew. And that refers to the emotional part of you, the inner self, where you experience emotions. And then the third word, strength, is the strangest word of all in the Hebrew text. Because though it's translated strength here, it's a word that is very rarely used in Hebrew as a noun. It's usually used as an adverb. And it's the word in Hebrew, which literally means very. It's a modifier, very.
So if you want to say very good, you'd say. That's literally good very, but that's how they talk. Or if you want to say pleased to meet you, it's... right? Very pleased. So the word is very...
So it's literally love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your very. So I'm bringing that out to just show you this. The idea of it used that way is this. It speaks of the idea of your power, or what your life produces. It's the umph in your life. It's what your life produces.
It could speak of your profession, your influences. It could speak of your finances, your possessions. That's your strength. So your heart, your soul, your very, your strength. But rather than looking at them individually, I think it's best to view them collectively.
I think it's simply a way of saying love God with an all-encompassing, whole-hearted love. In fact, there's one translation of this that I think really captures the thought. It's called the Message translation. Says love God, your God, with your whole heart. Love him with all that's in you. Love him with all you've got. That's the idea.
Love the Lord your God with all you've got. So this is successful parenting 1a. Be connected to the heavenly dad. Love the Lord your God. You know something I have noticed over the years? I've been around a few years. I've passed a few years. I've talked to a lot of different people. And I've heard... sometimes, I hear people say, yeah, yeah, we just had kids.
And we sort of figured... we don't go to church. But we just figured, now that we have kids, we should expose them to Sunday school. So we're coming to church for the kids. That's always good to come to church, and it's always good to think about your kids. But I have a better approach than waiting for your kids before you go to church. Do it first. Do that now.
Be committed in your heart, wholeheartedly, now, before you have children. Be connected to God in a vital relationship now first. I love how Paul writes to young Timothy in the New Testament. And he says, the genuine faith which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
So we love to dedicate your children. We do. It's an honor for us. But we also want you to know that we want to make sure you're dedicated to the Lord first before we dedicate your children to the Lord.
Listen to the wise words of one of our previous presidents, Abraham Lincoln, who said, for a man to train up a child in the way that he should go, he must walk that way himself. Good wisdom. You can't pass on what you don't have. So that's first. Love your God personally.
The second is, learn the truth inwardly. Love your God personally. Now learn the truth inwardly. Build on that. Grow in that. Look at verse 6. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. Stop there.
Just that first look at just the sixth verse these words which I command you today shall be in your heart what words are you talking about? Well this is Moses speaking. God is speaking through Moses to the children of Israel. It's the book of Deuteronomy. Book of Deuteronomy is sort of a recap of all the law that was given in the first four books.
So Moses is an old dude at this time. He's got the children of Israel in front of hi. He's rehashing. He's recapping. He's going through... you'll see, verse 1. Let me take you back there.
This is the commandment. These are the statutes and judgments. It encompasses all the truths that God has revealed so far in his word to them. So then, verse 6 shows to us what our relationship is to the truth.
So with both of these directives, one follows the other. See, if you're going to love the Lord your God, then you're going to love what the Lord your God says. That makes sense, right? Now I don't ever read that Bible. Wait a minute. Do you love God... Oh, I love God. Really? How can you love the Lord your God if you don't love what the Lord your God has to say to you?
So one follows the other. These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. See, the first is to assimilate the truth inwardly before you disseminate the truth outwardly. Becomes a part of you, the truth, the word.
Your relationship with God is directly proportional to the revelation of God. They both work together. Now, let me just... let me reinforce that with some different text of scripture really briefly.
Psalm 37 describes the righteous man by saying, the law of God is in his heart. Psalm 40, I delight to do your will, oh my God. And your law is within my heart. Psalm 119, your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sinned against you.
Colossians chapter 3, verse 16, Paul writes, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. All of those is the truth of verse 6. These words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
Elisabeth Elliot... and you'll know that name because of her missionary. background. Very, very famous story of her and her husband reaching out to the Auca Indians. Elisabeth Elliot said, the word of God I think of as a straight edge which shows up our own crookedness. We can really tell how crooked... we can't really tell how crooked our thinking is until we line it up with the straight edge of scripture.
You found that to be true, right? If you're going to build a house, you need a set of blueprints, right? If you try to build a house without a set of blueprints, you're going to have a crooked house.
That looks good. I like that. Yep, the door closes. Yeah, today. You need blueprints. You need plans. You need specs. God has given you and I a blueprint. And if you want to build your life, and you want it to be a straight life, you build according to the blueprint. If you want a crooked life, then you'll wing it, and you'll fly by the seat of the pants, and go yeah, that's good. So these are the blueprints.
The word of God is the instruction manual, so your life can operate smoothly. Another analogy might be it's the sheet of music that we all read from, so that our lives can be in harmony together. Or if you will, it's the download that we need to keep the system running. And I've discovered I need daily updates, daily upgrades to the system.
There's an old Chinese proverb that says one generation plants the trees. The next generation gets the shade. That's a father's job. Plant the trees so your kids can get the shade. My dad reminded me of this a lot.
You know what it takes for you to eat that meal? You know what it takes for you to drive that car and live in this house? He would always remind me that he planted the trees. But to this day, I'm grateful that he did plant the trees, and that I got the shade.
What kind of shade will our kids have? What kind of planting are we doing right now? What are we doing to protect them from the harsh rays of this cultural sun that is beating down on them daily?
So we plant the trees. Our kids get the shade. That is not to say that it's a guarantee that your kids will all walk with the Lord every step along the way. You say, wait a minute. I did all the right things. I made all the right moves. I said all the right things. I gave the right example. But my kids aren't following the right way right now.
And that's because we're all volitional creatures. We all make choices. You discover that like a week in, right, in parenting. That little guy has a will of his own. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you'll discover that the whole time, the whole life. But just because they're making bad choices now doesn't mean they'll always make bad choices. You have sown those seeds. You're going to see... you're going to reap from it. I believe you're going to reap from it.
The influence of a godly father, the godly father's influence, that Knox's presence in the home, is inestimable. We have one son. You know, I always tell people, they say, how many kids you have? I said, I have an only begotten son. God and I have that in common. God has given us one son.
And when he was in grade school, and I have always known, I have one shot, literally. I have one shot of this. So every morning, when he was in grade school, we had a two story house at the time. And so he'd come down the stairs in the morning. And for me, doing my devotions, my quiet time, instead of being in my little home office that I had, I always made sure that I was on the living room couch, by the window, so that the first thing my son saw as he walked down the stairs is dad every morning, Bible open, reading.
So that would be always pictured in his mind, I can always remember my dad reading his Bible in the morning. I wanted him to carry that picture throughout his life. And I'll tell you why I think that is important for children to see. It shows your kids that you have a boss. You know, because the kids already know you're their boss. You tell them that, right? Rightfully so.
Dad, why do I have to do that? I'm the boss. OK. But it doesn't make sense. Why? Because I said so, right? Because I said so. So I wanted my son to see his dad getting instructions. Basically saying, I'm reading this because my Father says so.
And I need to do what he says, because he says so. So it's like oh, you have a boss, too? You have a dad telling you what to do, too? Uh-huh. I think that's very healthy for a child to know that his or her parents are growing, are learning, are developing from their God.
So love your God personally. Learn the truth inwardly. The third is lead your kids diligently. Verse 7, and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and so talk of them when you sit in your home, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up.
So they're having breakfast in the morning. You're giving them their lunch, or you're driving to the store in the car. They're in the back seat, or you're at a stoplight. You're tucking them in bed at night. Use all of the day as teaching moments.
And then look at verse 8 and 9. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as front between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. You know, the picture is, surround your life with reminders, so that you can teach that to your children.
So in the flow of the passage, let's just kind look at it this way, as we get through this. The flow of the passage, the first commandment is love God. Second one, to store up the words in your heart. And the third one is, now teach it to your kids, and do it diligently. You shall teach them.
Now notice what it does not say. It does not say Sunday school shall teach them diligently to your children. Sunday school helps. We have great teachers. We have a great children's director. And there they pray for your children, and they love your children, and they think of all sorts of great ways to pass the word of God onto them.
It does not say, though, your youth pastor will teach them diligently to your children, though they love to do that, or wait till summer camp. In summer camp, they'll teach them diligently to your children. It says to us, you do it. You do it. You teach them diligently to your children.
In fact, get this. In Hebrew, the word for parents is the word... And so if you're speaking about a male parent, it's... If it's a female parent... Together, the plural is... That's the word for parents.
It's the same root word as another Hebrew word for teacher.... is the same root word. And that's because the Jews believe that a child's first and foremost teacher is the parents. The parents will teach them. And that is how the education in the ancient Jewish home was developed.
For the first three years of that child's life until the child was weaned, mom did the domestic duties. And then when the child was three years old, moms began teaching their daughters domestic housework and duties. The father began teaching his sons the law of God and a profession. Isn't that interesting? Kid's three years old. Get a job!
But early on, they're teaching the law of God and a profession. So there's a passage in the Talmud, the Jewish Talmud, that says a father is obligated to do the following for a son, to circumcise him, to redeem him if he's the firstborn, to teach him Torah... that's the first five books of Moses, to find him a wife. I won't comment on that, because God found my son a great wife.
And to teach him a trade, to teach him a trade. That was the father's responsibility. Now there's a Talmudic commentator, scholar, who later on said oh, and also... don't just teach him the law of God. Don't just teach him a trade. But also teach him how to swim. I don't know why. I mean, it's a good thing to know how to swim. But I don't know what that is like up there with the law of God.
And he's got to learn how to swim. But if you live by a lake or an ocean, yeah, it's a good thing to know. So I won't dispute it. I like that. Now, that's what we are to do as parents. We are to love God. We are to learn as truth. Were to lead our kids diligently.
What's interesting are verse 8 and 9, which is where we ended. It says you'll buying them as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes. You'll write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In Jewish tradition, men have taken this commandment to the absolute literal verbatim application. So let me explain what I mean. If you go to Israel with us, you'll see this. Or if you visit orthodox communities, you'll see this.
But the Jewish people take for passages of scripture, handwritten, on little scrolls, four tiny scrolls. They take the first passage from the book of Exodus, chapter 13, verses 1 through 10. They write that down on a little paper. They take, secondly, the book of Exodus, chapter 13, verses 11 through 16.
Third, Deuteronomy chapter 6, verses 4 through 9, what we're reading, and fourth, Deuteronomy 11, verses 13 through 21... they take those little scrolls, put them in a box, covered with leather or made out of leather, a leather box, called a phylactery. And they strap that baby to the head, right there. They put it right on the forehead, and they strap it around the head. So you see a guy walking down the street with a big leather box sticking out of his head.
And then they take another box with leather strap, put it on their left arm, and they bind it to the left arm. And they put those on when they pray. So you'll see them at the Western Wall, wrapped up and on their head. And they'll be moving in devotion, and they'll be praying. You go, why did they do that? It's because this is what it says.
And to them, it is a reminder that the word of God should govern my thoughts. That's why it's on my head. And it should govern my actions. That's why it's on my arm. It's a beautiful reminder.
Then if you're going into a Jewish home, because it says put them on the doorposts of your home, they actually put it on the doorposts of their home. They have a little cylinder on the right hand doorposts as you enter a Jewish home called a mezuzah. And if you're like really devout, you don't just put it on the front door. You put it in the doorway of every room in your house to remind you, going out and coming in, I am governed by the word of God, by the law of God.
So this is the directive for parents, and in particular for fathers. And to be honest with you, I would love to see a revival of biblical manhood.
I would love to see a revival of responsible, godly men who aren't afraid to be leaders, who aren't afraid to love God with all their heart, mind, soul, strength, who aren't afraid to memorize scripture, who aren't afraid to compassionately lead their families. I'd love to see that resurrected.
And so much of the scripture does put that on men, on fathers. Here's a sampling. Proverbs chapter 4, verse 1, Solomon writes, listen my sons, to a father's instruction. Pay close attention and gain understanding. Proverbs chapter 6, verse 20... my son, keep your father's commands.
Ephesians, chapter 6... fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath. But bring them up in the training and the admonition of the Lord. All of that is directed to fathers. You train them. You bring them up. You're responsible.
Finally, another passage, though, he's speaking about spiritual children, and John being a spiritual father. He says in 3 John 4, I have no greater joy than to see my children walk in truth. I think it's pretty easy to see, from just reading through of scripture, that it is dad's responsibility to set the moral, spiritual tone in the home.
Remember, it was Joshua who said, as for me in my house, we will serve the Lord. It was a Mrs. Joshua. It was Mr. Joshua. He did it. Now I thank God for godly mothers. I had a wonderful mother, and I've seen so many hardworking even single parent mothers who give it their all. I'm grateful for that.
But dads will answer to God for it. Think back to the Garden of Eden. Eve took the first bite. But God came after Adam, right? Eve took the first bite, but God came into the garden. Adam! Where are you?
Whoa, I wouldn't want to hear that voice if I'm in trouble. God came looking for Adam. Even Socrates said to the men of Athens, he said that he wondered how men could be so careful training up a colt and so indifferent to the training of their own children. And he was a pagan.
So in scriptural, biblical parlance and context, this is the role and responsibility, primarily, of a father. Why? Why does so much depend on dad? It's like, well, that's an undue burden to put on a dad, so much responsibility. Well, there's a lot of reasons why. I mean, our view of authority comes from our dad, largely.
I kind of... my relationship with my dad carried into my life, in terms of how I view and respond to earthly authority. Our view of conflict resolution often comes from our father. Sometimes, dads just get mad. Don't talk to me! Don't argue with me! Not a good example.
Or they shut down. They don't say anything at all. Yes, dear. Whatever you want. Just want to make you happy. That's not a good way to do it. It's not good.
So our ability to resolve conflict is often seen there. But there. Ar. Better reasons why the responsibility is placed on a father. I'll give you three quick reasons.
Number one, did you know that a child's view of God is first of all formed by their earthly father? You say, oh, come on. How is that so? Well, when you teach a child to pray, you say, when you pray, son, daughter, say, our Father, who art in heaven. That's how the Lord Jesus taught us to pray. He's your heavenly Father.
Well, the only Father that child is known up to that point is an earthly father. For better or for worse, a good example or a bad example, that's the only frame of reference, a child has is an earthly father. So a child's first view of God is formed by an earthly father. So that's a pretty important reason.
A second reason why so much depends on dad is dads, if you have daughters, one day, they're going to marry a man. And they need to know what a godly man looks like. And if that godly man is you, you're going to have a daughter growing up saying, I want to marry somebody like my dad, who has that character, that integrity.
Here's the third reason. If you have sons, your son is going to get up, get married to a woman. He needs to know how to treat a woman. He needs to know what it means to go from a boy to a man, a compassionate, loving responsible man of integrity.
I even read an article, believe it or not, in the Huffington Post. Now I rarely agree with the Huffington Post. They're very liberal news outlet. But every now and then, they have an article in there that surprises me. And here's one that I totally agree with, probably because they quoted somebody else in the article.
But in this article, it says, boys look for their father's approval in everything they do. And girls will look for men from the pattern that is set by their father. So it's much easier to build a boy than it is to repair a man. It's much easier to Build a girl than it is to repair a woman.
So this is your shot. This is my shot. I'm not throwing away my shot. If I get one shot at this, I want to make sure that it counts. So it says, you shall teach them. Here's a better translation I found. You shall impress them. The idea is making an impression, a mold. But I like that. Impress your kids. Impress your son. Impress your daughter by loving God madly, by storing up his word avidly, by teaching them diligently. Impress them.
Teach them. I was having a conversation... this is many years ago... with a man who was telling me how he teaches his family the Bible. He said Skip, I built a pulpit in my home. I go, you built a pulpit in your home? He goes yep. I have a pulpit, a wooden pulpit. I store it in the dining room. And I take it out every night in the living room, and I make my family sit down, and I preach a sermon to them.
And I went yeah, no, not a good idea. That's not what it means. It's not the idea. I mean, your kids are going to grow up hating pulpits and preachers. It's much better to build a pulpit in your heart and preach to yourself, and then live out those principles for your kids. That's the home run right there.
Here's the great news. The great news is that any man who says, oh, I'm going to do this... I'm going to step into the role of fatherhood, full on, full bore... know this. Your God will be quick to help you, because you're stepping into his role. He's a Father. He is our heavenly Father. And when any man says, I want to be a father, God will say, I'll show you how to do it, and I'll give you all that you need and the empowerment to pull it off.
Because essentially, a father is a partner with God in making disciples of his children. So go teach your children how to swim, how to swim through this world, filled with filth and values that are diametrically opposed to God. Teach them how to swim and keep their head above the water, and to do it joyfully, by the example that you and I set for them.
Father, that is what we are called to do. That's what you have given us power to do. That is what we, filled with your Spirit and by your grace, are going to do. This is our time. This is our shot. Thank you, Father, for so many godly fathers, who could teach this lesson, who are here this morning. I look out, and I see many of them. And I thank you for them. Water, fertilize, bless the work that these dads do, in Jesus' name, Amen.