Week 5: The New Testament and Children
Day 2: Follow – As Dear Children – Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13; Ephesians 5:1
I was nineteen years old. The furthest I had ever been from home was, well, not very far. Not without my family at least. The previous day I had boarded an airplane for the first time in my life and flown from Montana to Chicago. Now, I was on another plane, this one headed for Moscow, Russia. I was nervous, excited, afraid that I wouldn’t be ready for what awaited me in the months to come. My Bible lay open on the tray table in front of me. I had chosen the passage specifically for the trip because I wanted something to prepare me, something to keep me focused as I flew into the unknown.
The previous week, my dad and I had walked through a store parking lot, hand in hand. With everything else going on in my life, his presence offered an enormous measure of security and comfort. He was there. He had always been there. This, I realized, was what God was talking about in the passage I had read in my quiet time that morning, the same passage I would read on the plane.
“Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children.” (Ephesians 5:1) God would be there, holding my hand, just as Dad had that day at the store. God wanted me to follow Him. He wanted me to “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.” (vs. 2)
Nothing could have better prepared me for the next twenty-two months than the hours I spent studying those verses on that plane.
The New Testament uses the parent/child relationship to illustrate our relationship to God in several places. Each of them gives us a glimpse of God’s care and provision for His children.
Matthew 7:11 and Luke 11:13 are corresponding passages, that is, they recount the same event or conversation. In these passages, Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. He is teaching them the importance of asking, seeking and knocking if they hope to receive anything of God. In Matthew 7:9-11 Jesus says, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
God is more committed to caring for us than any earthly father ever could be. He knows our needs, and He delights in meeting them. Never have I asked my Dad for bread and received a rock. I’m not likely to be asking my Dad for a fish, but I’m pretty sure if I did, he wouldn’t give me a snake. My Dad, like any other man, is a sinner, and yet he knows how to care for his children. God’s care is the same; He gives as we ask Him.
As we consider the fatherless, the word itself reveals a critical aspect of this principle. These children are father-less. Some of them have known their fathers for a time, but he is no longer in their lives for one reason or another. Some of them have never known their fathers at all, how will they comprehend the magnitude of God’s love as their Father? They haven’t known the security of that strong hand wrapping around their fingers. They haven’t felt that strong embrace around their shoulders. They haven’t seen him labor day after day to put food on their table. They’ve never known what it is to have their father pray with them, cuddle with them, read to them, love them enough to discipline them. They do not know a father’s love. Some of them, depending on why their father is no longer in their life, may even reject the very idea that a father’s love is a good thing. Did their father abandon them? Was he taken from them because of a life of crime? Was he killed in war? Was he abusive in the time they were together? So many aspects of these little lives that can keep them from knowing how wonderful the true love of a father really is.
The passage in Luke adds a detail that Matthew leaves out: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13) This should embolden us to step out and make a difference in the lives of these children. To, like my dad, be that constant presence in their life that says, “I am here always, but God’s love surpasses mine.” God has promised to give us the Holy Spirit. He will guide us as we seek to reach them. Why not slip our hand into His and let Him lead onward? My experience has been that when we let Him lead into the unknown, the view from the other side is spectacular. Follow on – as dear children!
For More Information on FTN, Check out our website at: www.forbidthemnot.com
Follow us on Twitter @forbidthemnot or Facebook
Also Check out Rachel Miller’s Book: The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption