A Verse to Think About this Father's Day and 365 Days a Year

A Verse to Think About this Father's Day and 365 Days a Year

Transforming Homes with God's Word

People often decorate their homes to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere for their families and guests. For us at Forever Written, our wall art is not just decoration but brings about the transformation of minds and hearts through the power of God’s word.


Reflecting on Father’s Day

Now considering Father’s Day, what comes to your mind? Do you think about the plans that your kids or wife have for you, a gift or special meal that you might get, or do you take the time to reflect on what the Bible says about fathers? Today, I want to let you know the verse about fathers that comes to my mind, and why it needs to be on our minds as fathers not just around Father’s day but every day of the year.


The Last Verse of The Old Testament 

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

It is very interesting to note that Malachi 4:6 is the last verse in the Old Testament. Reading through the Old Testament for the first time, one might expect it to end in a more pleasant, hopeful tone like the last verse of the New Testament, but it does not. The Old Testament ends with a strong warning of impending danger if fathers' and children’s hearts are not turned towards each other. Have you ever really taken the time to reflect and understand the implications of this passage and how it applies to us today? This warning should not be taken lightly especially since by God’s sovereignty, it is placed as the last verse or prophetic advice before the New Testament begins.


Consequences of a Disconnected Heart: Hezekiah's Story

To further understand the effects of turning “the heart of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” one must understand what happens when a father’s heart is not turned toward the children. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament but the one that I want to bring to your attention is about Hezekiah. Overall, Hezekiah did what was right by reopening and cleansing the temple that his father closed, and by bringing back the Passover celebrations. After all of that was accomplished, the idolatrous altars, images and high places were destroyed in the cities of Judah. Even though in many ways Hezekiah initiated a spiritual revival in Judah, he still had his follies and infirmities as other men did.

When the prophet Isaiah learned that Hezekiah entertained ambassadors from Babylon by showing them all the treasures in his house, Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 39: 6-7,

“Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.  And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

What was Hezekiah’s response to this bad news?

“Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.” (Isaiah 39:8).


The Self-Centered Response

How is this good news??? Earlier when the King of Assyria threatened Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem, Hezekiah responded by renting his clothes, covering himself with sackcloth and sought God for help. (2 Kings 19:1-5). When Hezekiah was sick and going to die, he prayed to God and “wept sore.” (2 Kings 20:1-3). But when loom and doom was predicted as the fate of his sons, according to Hezekiah, this was good news because it was not directly affecting him. Hezekiah’s self-centered response to the advance notice of the coming Babylonians captivity of his sons, is the perfect example of a father’s heart not being turned to his children.

As a father myself, if I knew that doom was coming for my children, I would be crying out to God for mercy and do my best to encourage my children to get right with God. This should also be the prayer and actions of fathers with unsaved children. Hezekiah on the other hand, knew danger was coming for his sons and did not rent his clothes, cover himself with sackcloth, or did not even say one prayer to God on the behalf of his children, like when he was facing impediment danger. The coming Babylonian captivity of his children did not concern him.


New Testament Fathers: A Contrast

In the New Testament, fathers who had a heart for their children sought Jesus’ intervention. We see this with Jarius. When his daughter was dying, Jarius a ruler of the synagogue, a man with prestige and authority, fell at Jesus’s feet and begged Jesus to come to his house on the behalf of his daughter (Luke 8:41). Another example is the man who brought his son with a dumb spirit to Jesus. Jesus cast out the dumb spirit from the boy and the boy delivered (Mark 9:17-27). In both situations, God extended his arm of grace and mercy based on the father’s desire to see the well-being of their children. Where was Hezekiah’s desire for the well-being of his sons?


The Legacy of Complacency

After Hezekiah’s death, he was succeeded by his son Manasseh. According to the Bible when Manasseh reigned, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and did worse than the heathens (2 Kings 21:2, 2 Chronicles 33:9). Manasseh built back up the high places that Hezekiah destroyed, made his son pass through fire (possibly sacrificed his son to false gods), dealt with familiar spirits, shed much innocent blood, (2 Kings 21:3-16) and according to tradition, he sawed the prophet Isaiah in two. After all the evil Manasseh did, he was taken captive by the Assyrians into Babylon. There he humbled himself and prayed to God. God had mercy on him and brought him back to his throne in Jerusalem. When Manasseh was restored to his throne, he tried to undo all the evil that he did which postponed God’s judgment. (2 Chronicles 33:11-17).

Is it possible that Hezekiah’s complacency towards his sons played a role in Manasseh’s initial rebellion against God? If so, Malachi 4:6, is still a severe warning for us today. When a father’s heart is not turned towards his children, he will not be concerned about nurturing his children in the Lord. This will result in his children's hearts being turned away from him, rebelling against God and making them and the earth ripe for God’s judgment. We as fathers need to remember Hezekiah’s complacency by making sure that our legacy is not just about reopening and rededicating the temple, but having a heart towards our children so that they will want to go into the temple and serve God. When fathers take heed to the prophetic message in Malachi 4:6, by turning their heart towards their children with love, spending time with their children, discipling, protecting and providing for their children, then in response their children hearts will turn to him, making it easier for him to train them up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”


Leaving A Lasting Legacy: The Greatest Joy For Fathers 

1 John 3:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

It is so easy for us as fathers to find joy in things like climbing the corporate ladder, our hobbies, taking extravagant trips, eating or just being able to relax. Although there is nothing wrong with finding joy in these things, we cannot afford to become complacent about the spiritual well-being of our children. Our greater joy should be to see and hear our children walk in the truth. Everything else will eventually pass away. Ultimately, our greatest legacy does not lie in our personal success or the monuments that we have built but in the nurturing and discipling of our children to walk with the Lord. This will not only have an impact on our children, but also on our nation and future generations for eternity. It all starts with the fathers turning their hearts to their children.


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