“Father” is one of the most familiar names for God. “Father” is God’s distinguishing title of the New Testament. In Matthew 6, we find Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray. Jesus opens the Lord’s Prayer with, “Our Father in heaven,” giving honor and worth to his Father God. “Our Father in Heaven” gives us the image of God in His majestic and holy place, reminding us He is personal, loving, and involved with our lives.
Father is the most commonly used name of God. 2 Corinthians 6:18 says, “And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me says the Lord God almighty.” Romans 8:15–16 says, “But you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we call out Abba Father.” It’s amazing that the almighty God of Heaven wants us to call Him—Father.
Most likely, your hurts and hang-ups toward your own earthly father have clouded your view of the Heavenly Father. If you have experienced a dysfunctional family or emotional or physical abuse, you too probably view God through this grid. As you understand Biblical truth about God and His character, you will begin to believe that God’s character is reliable, unchanging, and faithful.
The Old Testament Jews did not think of God as an intimate Father. In fact, they had no concept of the Fatherhood of God. When Jesus talked about His intimate oneness with God the Father, it was startling and even revolutionary. The OT Jews observed the Lord God Almighty, the One who dwelt between the cherubim (Psalm 80:1). He was a whirlwind of fire, a fearful God, punishing on the sinner. The Lord God of the OT was to be feared because he represented judgment. He killed Uzziah when he reached out and touched the Ark, and He punished Moses for disobedience; Moses never entered the Promised Land, and God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem because the Jews worshiped idols and committed fornication. Hebrews 12:29 says, “Our God is a consuming fire.” Scary, huh? Far from Father-like. Maybe you can relate.
The Father-heart of God is revealed in Luke 15. The story of the prodigal son is about a father who had two sons. The prodigal son took one-third of the family inheritance and insulted his upbringing, father, and family name by his request, yet the father gave him what he asked. The young prodigal squandered his wealth on partying; when he had nothing left, he worked for his keep in a pig sty. In Luke 15:7, a dramatic reality check happens: ”When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home, even the hired men have food enough to spare and here I am, dying of hunger.’”
Left with no other alternatives, the prodigal son returns home, filthy, broke, and ashamed, to confess to his father what he had done. In the same way, at one time, each of us was a disobedient runaway, independently making unhealthy choices. Our Father waited for us; He has seen us in the distance, run toward us, fallen upon our necks, and kissed us. Through God’s grace we are restored immediately, He welcomes us home and restores us into relationship with Him.
When we come to the Father, our credentials are unacceptable, our faithfulness is fickle, and our return may be under questionable motive. Yet our Father takes us in and asks no questions—He just celebrates us. He tells us not to worry, He has given us hope for a future beyond all expectations. He wants us to celebrate His goodness and His presence in our lives as our Father.
“He that did not spare His own Son may be trusted to do the best for us. Not as the world sees ‘best’ but as He knows is best.” —Romans 8:28 | Truly, Father knows best! Let’s pray:
Thank you, Father, for allowing me to call you such an endearing name. I praise, worship, and call on you, “Father.” In Jesus’ name, amen.