Friday, June 21, 2013

Men of Courage

Some time ago I saw an advertisement of a dad who was spoon-feeding his baby. The child wouldn’t eat, so he pretended the spoon was an airplane that was bringing tasty food to his baby’s mouth. Then the dad got the smart idea to taste the food so he could better convince the child it was good. He tasted the food and just about gaged to death. Toro finished the ad by saying, “Don’t count on it.” Don’t count on a job being easy. That is especially true with it comes to fatherhood.

Today, Fathers are portrayed on TV and the media as dunces and idiots. Some fathers have abandoned their children, but most have not. The media perpetuates the idea that fathers are no longer needed. Children can grow up just as well without them. That is simply not true, and a simple survey of research shows that when fathers are absent, the children suffer.  Fathers fulfill an essential role in the child’s life that cannot be fulfilled otherwise.

Men need encouragement to be courageous and brave in their task of being a father. Their sons and daughters need them in their lives. When you make a connection—an emotional and spiritual connection, the shared experiences impact their lives forever.

Micah is one of the Minor Prophets located right in the center of the twelve Minor Prophets in the Bible. His name means “Who is like Jehovah.” His name and ministry were a message to people about becoming like God in character. Micah asks an important question of fathers, “What is needed to please God?” Then he answers it like this:

“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:6-7)

Micah speaks to the erroneous ideas of the people. He tells us what it takes to please God. The people have missed it. He starts from a small thing and moves to the greatest sacrifice—one could possibly ever give by their own efforts—one’s own child. The people are ready to buy God’s favor in hopes he would overlook their sins and transgressions. They are a self-righteous people, and their idea of God is that he is a God like the pagans who could be pacified with petty human gifts. To refute this erroneous idea, Micah forcefully tells us what it really takes to please God.

Micah took the teachings of Amos, Hosea and Isaiah and put them in one succinct paragraph and answered the question of what is needed to please God. Amos expresses the urgent need of justice,
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24). Hosea talks about God’s love, “…I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one.'” Hosea (2:23). Isaiah expressed humility in these words, “…I will walk humbly all my years” (Isaiah 38:15). The prophet Micah brings these all together in his statement:

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” (Micah 6:8).

Men, if we take this simple plan of doing what is right with an attitude of mercy and humility, our kids will be drawn to us. This is the kind of life God will bless.

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