“FATHER” Heart of God

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast : Ep 42

TRANSCRIPT

When you think of the word “father”, what is the first impression that comes to mind? Do you have thoughts of love and compassion, protection, warmth and tenderness? Or does the word “father” paint a much different picture for you. In today’s podcast I am going to talk about the Father Heart of God. 

Today’s verse is Matthew 7:11, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Our image of Father God gets distorted by many things in life like our relationship with our own earthly fathers, or things like teachings we have received in church, or even from concepts we have picked up from living in this world. For example, why is it that major storms that cause great destruction are called acts of God, but God gets no credit for the fact that your grocery store is full of fresh fruits and vegetables? Every person seems to have a differing view of who Father God is based on many factors. For this reason, it takes the Holy Spirit’s work in each of us individually to bring us into a better understanding of Father God. So,if you are willing, pray with me before we go any further.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, will you breathe on this podcast and use it to free each of us from any misconceptions about our Father God.

The very first place we begin to understand the concept of father of course is with our own earthly fathers. I have mentioned before that my Dad was a very faithful and consistent father. He was home every night for dinner. He would play catch with me in the back yard when I asked. And he provided well for our family. Yet my view of Father God was distorted by my earthly father. My Dad was a very quiet man. You could be in a room with him and if you did not talk to him, he would not talk. He was also not very good with encouragement. His form of encouragement was to point out something I had done wrong and explain the correct way to do it. He often did not volunteer his help when I was doing something but was quick to correct what I had done wrong. 

So how did I view God? First I thought that God was always looking for the things I did wrong so that He could correct me. This idea did not all come from my Dad. The church I grew up in helped with this idea A LOT! We were more focused on repenting from sin than we were on relationship with God. It was as if God was this big mean policeman in the sky anxiously waiting for you to do something wrong so He could nail you!

My second picture of Father God was that He was standoffish. He was not a warm and accepting God. He basically was not someone you could know on an intimate level. And you certainly would not want to sit and have a conversation with Him because He more than likely would point out something you had done wrong. From my background we were taught you could only know God by reading the scripture, but He was not someone you could know intimately or talk with on a daily basis.  

Your earthly father has a major impact on the way that you view Father God. Some of you had sexually, physically, or emotionally abusive fathers. Some had absent fathers who were not there due to divorce, death, or illegitimacy. Some had fathers who were in your home but were so distracted and disconnected from you they might as well have lived somewhere else.  

With all of this confusion and distortion from the world we live in, how can we know what Father God is really like? Jesus said in John 14: verses 7 and 9, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; He who has seen Me has seen the Father;  

To know what Father God is like we can look at Jesus. If we are going to look at Jesus’ life then we must begin by looking at His birth. I am going to be very blunt about how Jesus was born not in any way to dishonor the Savior of the Universe, but to put into context how Jesus was born so we can see what His Father is like. 

Let’s start by looking at the circumstances of Jesus’ birth. First of all Jesus was born to an unwed teenage mother. His mother and the man who appeared to be his earthly father Joseph were not married at the time of Jesus’ conception. This would have been very shameful for his mother and very shameful for Jesus. He would have been known in their small community as the illegitimate son. To make matters worse, Jesus’ parents were from Nazareth. There was a saying in that day, “Could anything good come from Nazareth?” 

Next was the fact that Jesus was born in a stable. Many times in the Christmas plays at church they depict the stable as a lovely, clean place. This was probably not the case for Jesus. Remember that Joseph had come to Bethlehem to be counted in the census along with everyone else from the family of David. There were so many people in the town that there was no room for them to stay so they stayed in the stable. All of these travelers would have had animals that they rode to get to Bethlehem so the stable was overcrowded with animals. And many animals means a lot of animal dung. So Jesus was born in a stinky stable filled with sweaty animals. Not exactly the royal setting for the King of Kings to make His entrance into this world. 

And the first people to welcome Him into this world were shepherds. Shepherds were often looked down on and excluded from civilized society because they were uneducated and quite frankly dirty from sleeping with the sheep. And who is going to believe the word of these uneducated smelly shepherds about what they had witnessed. 

What does Jesus’ birth tell us about Father God? God had His Son enter this world in such a lowly manner that no one could point to His birth as a reason to feel excluded. Nothing about the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth would cause anyone to feel inferior or rejected by their own circumstances in life. Jesus was rejected by those in his community because His mother and father were not married at the time of His conception. Everyone would have known that He was an illegitimate child. He was born in a stinky, smelly stable surrounded by dirty smelly animals. His welcoming committee was a bunch of, you guessed it, smelly uneducated shepherds. His parents were from Nazareth, an area of Israel that is despised and looked down on. 

Father God does not want anything to stand in the way of someone coming into a relationship with Him. He could have had Jesus born in the palace, which is what He deserved being the King of Kings, but instead God brought Him into this world in the lowest and worst conditions so no one could point to His birth as a reason to reject Him.

Let’s look at the story of the woman at the well from John 4. She was an outcast from her own people because she had been married five times and the man she lived with was not her husband. Jesus presented her with the gospel about water that leads to eternal life and changed her life. So why is this story exceptional? First of all Jesus should not have been talking to this woman who was a Samaritan. Jews looked down on and despised the Samaritans but Jesus valued her by speaking with her. Add to that the fact that men did not talk to women who were not their wives. Jesus knew this woman’s sinful past and that did not stop Him from talking with her. None of those things stopped Jesus from showing love and compassion on this sin stained and rejected woman. 

Father God sent Jesus to that particular well at the hottest time of the day in order to bring life to a sinful and rejected woman. God was more concerned for her healing and cleansing than He was about the religious regulations of the day. The love and forgiveness that God showed through His Son Jesus is what transformed that woman from someone who hid from the people in her town (that’s why she was at the well in the middle of the day instead of the morning) to someone who ran into town and told everyone about the man she had met. That is the heart of Father God. He is more concerned with your future than with your past. When you accept His free gift of forgiveness through Christ, your past is washed clean.

One day the twelve disciples were traveling by boat from one side of the sea of Galilee to the other when they were overtaken by a terrible storm. The boat was being thrashed about by the winds and the waves when they noticed someone coming towards them walking on the water. At first they thought it was a ghost. Then they realized it was Jesus. Peter said “Lord, if that is You, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter got out of the boat and began walking to Jesus on the water. At one point Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the ferocious wind and waves and began to sink into the sea. Jesus reached out His hand and rescued Peter. 

What does this story tell us about the Father Heart of God? God doesn’t give up on us when we make mistakes. Yes, Peter sank because He took His eyes off Jesus. Peter also experienced a depth of intimacy with Jesus that very few ever know. In his sinking He was saved by the hand of Jesus. Peter experienced something that none of the other disciples experienced by taking the risk and getting out of the boat. Then later after Peter denied Jesus three times on the night Jesus was crucified, Father God used this very flawed vessel to lead the new church. The list of very flawed and sinful people that God has used in mighty ways to bring the Kingdom of God to earth is very long. I am one that is on that list. My sin was great, but God’s grace was greater. 

What do these snapshots from Jesus’ life tell us about Father God? First is the great love that Father God has for fallen humanity. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” not to condemn the world but to bring salvation to all who receive His gift. Father God did not want any barriers to get in the way of people getting to know His Son so He brought Jesus into this life in a very lowly and humble way. Out of His great love for the lost and broken He sent Jesus to one very sinful and rejected woman who then became one of the best evangelists of her day. Father God wants to co-labor with flawed and redeemed messes like Peter to bring His Kingdom to earth. What an amazing Father God. He made sure there are no barriers to people coming into His open arms of love. 

In fact the only people Jesus rebuked were the religious leaders of the day who piled rules, regulations and burdens on the people who were trying to have a relationship with God. God did not put those barriers and burdens on people. That was done by man’s self-created religion.

If you have a picture of Father God that does not match up with this picture of God, please get in touch with our ministry coordinator at healing@restoringthefoundations.org and schedule some RTF ministry. You have a very good Father God who was so desperate to have a relationship with you that He allowed His Son to die a very shameful and painful death on your behalf. Don’t settle for anything less than the very best that Father God has for you.

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.