God our Father
Psalm 89:26 He shall cry to Me, “You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.”
Matthew 6:8-9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name….
The term “Father” in reference to the Lord is found throughout the Old Testament, but isn’t as common as we might think. With the incarnation, however, came a virtual explosion of the term. The first three gospels have Jesus using the term 65 times, and He refers to God as Father more than 100 times in John. Then the rest of the New Testament continues the term, with Paul using it more than 40 times in his letters to the church.
This would seem self-evident and not worthy of much attention except that the term is under attack. It’s true that God is a Spirit, and is neither male nor female. This might be one reason why someone might want to back away from the term, particularly in the light of the current attack on the very concept of patriarchy. Then there are those (like the author) who have struggled with the concept of a good God equating Himself, at least in name, with a human father who was less than a good representative of the Father heart of God.
Yet neither of these scenarios should stop us from viewing God as Father and calling Him that. If Jesus makes such an emphasis on calling God Father, and He is the Son of God, then we have to allow Immanuel to call His Father whatever He wants. Since so many other things changed with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, it can’t be surprising that with the fulfillment of the law comes a new way of viewing God Almighty. What we call the Lord and how we view Him is part of the change of covenants.
Perhaps the final word in the discussion, however, is that Jesus told his disciples—and by extension, us—to call God our Father. That should settle it. For someone with father issues, Jesus points the way toward healing by calling God Almighty Father. For those who don’t want anyone telling them what to do, calling God Father is a chance to acknowledge His authority over them. For most Christians, however, it’s a sign of love and intimacy that resonates deeply in the heart and helps break up other (erroneous) competing views of God.
The attack on patriarchy in today’s society has at least two strands. One is a genuine reaction to the misuse of authority by men, for which there is an abundance of evidence. The other strand is the hatred of the unregenerate heart toward a God who demands repentance; in that light, that strand of the fight is against God our Father, “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:15).
Yes, God transcends all human definitions as a spiritual being. But He has told us to call Him Father, and He has a multitude of reasons for that. Let’s obey, submit, and yes, rejoice, to call Him such a tender name.
Prayer: Father, thank You for telling us to call you Father. I pray for those who find it difficult, that You would bring healing or whatever they need to be able to do that with a free heart. Help me to discover the blessings that come with the Abba relationship.