The Heartbeat
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. - Ephesians 6:4

It is interesting how, in the scriptures, there is a real lack of talking about the virtues of fatherhood. It's not like speaking about mothers. There is no Proverbs chapter 31 for men and fathers. Rather, what we find in the scriptures are plenty of examples of rather poor fathers…

  • Aaron's sons offered "strange fire before the Lord."
  • Eli's sons were no-goods from the beginning.
  • Samuel's sons were no better.
  • David had Absalom, who rebelled against him
  • Solomon (the supposedly really wise man) raised Rehoboam
    • a true idiot of a son

On and on we have these stories of poor fathering, less than faithful husbandry, and few encouraging passages about fatherhood. And then we come to Ephesians 6:4 and the very first words are a challenge to us dads to not provoke our children to anger. One might have thought we would read, "Fathers, love your children" or "Fathers, spend quality time with your kids" or "Dads, work at being a good example to your sons." But, no, we're told (in so many words) to stop upsetting our kids. The MOMS aren't ever told this…only us dads!

Well, the truth be told, if you are like me (and as I have often said) "Ruth is a better mother than I am a father." Be that because of "motherly instincts" (they never speak of fatherly instincts) or because of bonding, or whatever, clearly we guys have some special challenges. And here Paul names, technically, three:

  1. Don't provoke our children to anger
  2. Bring them up in discipline of the Lord
  3. Bring them up in the instruction of the Lord.

When I was growing up it was my dad who was the disciplinarian in the home. I can recall my mother saying, "You just wait until your father gets home." Mom's "spankings" were a joke…they didn't even hurt. But a spank from dad…oooh, you felt them!

But it is that third admonition that is the real challenge: to INSTRUCT our children. That requires an involvement in their lives – spending time with them. And it involves knowing WHAT to teach them. It isn't just that we are to instruct them but we are to bring them up in the instruction of the Lord, i.e., the scriptures. That is going to demand that we know the scriptures – or at least that we know more than our children know!

Dads, how are you doing? How are you doing on those three points? Are you instructing your children in the instruction of the Lord? Would your children, when they reach adulthood, give you good marks on all three of these points? There's a good goal for every father on this Father's Day: to get more than just a passing grade.

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06 Jul 2022 - 07:00PM
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08 Jul 2022 - 07:00PM
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10 Jul 2022 - 10:30AM