As some of you know who may have read my blog last night, I have struggled with this Father’s Day. It’s come in the midst of a a very joyous, busy, confusing and chaotic time in the life of our family. But this afternoon as I’ve had some down time to read and study, I’ve learned some very important things.
You’d think that I’d know by now to go to scripture when my soul is weary. Yet it took a frantic look for a scripture this morning at church to remind me that, that is where I belong–in scripture work.
I’m not one that really likes a long talking introduction to a special music piece during worship. But this morning when I found out that our quartet was first right off the bat, I felt like I should at least welcome the congregation to worship. 🙂 In doing so, I did what I despise. I grabbed a Bible, opened the concordance and tried to try to “find a verse to fit the occasion”. Ugh. But I didn’t expect the verse that I found to grab at my soul the way it did once I found “that” verse.
The passage the verse is found in is 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1:
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
The passage starts off with the infamous “Do not be unequally yoked” verses. And yes, I did study them, but I still don’t understand them. Nor do I have the space here to share with you the little that I did learn about them today. Go ask your local brainiac theologian.
What I want to focus on is where Paul quotes my God in verses 16-18.
Verse 16 states:
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them and I will be their God and they shall be my People.”
These verses were meant for the Israelites of the Old Testament. But Paul wouldn’t use them here in 2nd Corinthians if they weren’t applicable to the first century church and ultimately applicable to us today. God doesn’t have to, but He chooses to dwell among us. He chooses to walk among us. I think we take for granted the truth that God has chosen us. That is what I am struck with today. This verse does not say that He will ask us if He can be our God. No, it is a statement. “I will be their God and they shall be my People.” Period. End of Sentence. Wow.
“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing, then I will welcome you.”
Welcome is a beautiful word. There is warmth, richness in the word “welcome”. The Lord, my Lord, says He will welcome me. But he is a jealous God and will not endure idols. The people of Israel were always getting this wrong it seems, finding their satisfaction in idols as opposed to the God that loved them and called them His own. Us too. My “uncle” C.S. Lewis says it better than any words that I could find to express it:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Finally, verse 18, the verse I shared with the congregation this morning in wishing them a Happy Father’s Day, says to us:
“And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
Wow. Again, Paul wouldn’t include this if it wasn’t important. We who are believers are adopted by the Lord Almighty. He is our Abba, our Father. He welcomes us. He delights in us. He wants to make His dwelling among us and walk among us. He will be our God and we will be His people, if only we will believe the Gospel and have faith in His grace and mercy and His power to save us from our sins.
7:1…Do you see this? Paul says we have these promises! They are not just meant for the Israelites, they are meant for you and me as well! They are promises to us–promises that we are God’s sons and daughters. Let us cleanse ourselves and let us bring holiness to completion in the fear of God. Fear may seem a strange word to use when we are talking about God as our Father, but it is the right word–a respectful word. Check out this dictionary definition of fear:
reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.Synonyms: awe, respect, reverence, veneration.
Let us have reverential awe toward our Abba, our Father.
This has been a tough, tough Father’s Day. And yet I end this weekend a bit more assured that my Heavenly Father sees and knows, that I am His daughter. I want my children to realize, not just realize—but KNOW that they are not only my sons and daughters, but that they have a Father who calls them sons and daughters and can meet their every need so much more so than I ever could or will be able to.
Though still heavy-hearted, I am resting tonight in my Father’s love.