Happy Father's day. All Fatherhood stems from God the Father, which means our Dads were either stepping stones or stumbling blocks to knowing the one true God. They either hindered or they helped or a bit of both.
One of the most decisive moments in my life was when I went to hear Larry Crabb, renown Psychologist, speak at a week-long conference. He shared stories about his two boys and I didn’t realise, but I was being drawn to him as a father, in Larry Crabb, I found a man who both loved God and loved people. It awoke something inside of me and at the end of the conference as he drove away I started crying and I don’t cry all that much, I didn’t stop crying for the next 3 hours and they were the most beautiful tears I have ever shed. It exposed a grief I carried about my own dad.
At age 22 I started a journey that led me to know the love of my Father in heaven, which freed me to both face my Dad's failures and yet be grateful for his love. Too many people spend their life desperate for their fathers. Approval or seeking to prove their father wrong. Psalm 103 speaks of the Fatherhood of God in all his glory, He is the Father you never had.
Yes, the Bible is patriarchal. Third-wave feminism wants to solve a real problem the wrong way, the aim is not to deconstruct patriarchy and dismantle fatherhood. We think the answer to bad fatherhood is no fatherhood but the answer to bad fatherhood is to imitate their heavenly Father.
Our Father in heaven deserves our praise. The Psalm is an extended call to oneself to praise God our Father.
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. ~Psalm 103:1-2 (NIV)
David is speaking to himself for most of this psalm, let all of me praise all of you Father. We can’t really sing “all of me loves all of you” because we don’t love the sin in the other person. But with our Holy Father, all of me can truly love all of Him.
The modern vision of Fatherhood is not a Christian one, in it, we Dads become the heroes and not God our Father. I think there are lots of fathers who love their kids, they take them to sport, they make time and have fun but you hear no God-talk on their lips and they share no joy in Christ.
John Piper is right when he says “Dads, your kids greatest need is to see you praise God”
Either by talking singing or sharing some truth about who God is and what he has done, whether at church, at home or in the car or camping. Psalm 103 is one long self talk.
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits ~Psalm 103:2 (NIV)
Learn the art of preaching to your soul and don’t forget what God has done, don’t steal his glory and don’t be overwhelmed with life's pressures. The way to remember is to keep urging yourself to praise God for HIS many blessings.
There are so many benefits in this Psalm, let's break them down into 3 areas.
1. We praise our Father for he is in total control
The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. ~Psalm 103:19 (NIV)
God rules! Praise God that he rules over every corner of this universe, from Angels to Atoms to Ants, He lovingly rules over the big picture and the small details of life.
In the fury of the moment
I can see the masters hand
In every leaf that trembles and
In every grain of sand
Do you have a moment by moment awareness of Gods total control? God rules over the present and the future.
I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ ~Isaiah 46:9-10 (NIV)
His total authority is clearly seen in his Son who had absolute control over sin, sickness, suffering, satan, and the surf. Let our children hear us say, I praise you, Lord, that you rule over all 7 billion humans in all 195 nations, that you rule over every world leader however they got into power, that you rule over every corner of this massive system and over a rouge virus.
Learn to give yourself a good talking to. For example:
Q: Raymond is God Lord of the universe? Yes!
A: Then why do you live with so much fear?
Q: Will God supply all my needs? Yes!
A: Then why O Ray, why are you so anxious
Praise your Father in heaven for he alone rules! We praise our Father who seeks justice for the powerless.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. ~Psalm 103:6 (NIV)
God jealously defends those who can’t speak up for themselves. Think with me for a moment, the bible is honest about the sins of Israel. Why are we so afraid to admit the sins of Australia?
If like me you or your parents chose to make Australia your home then we must own its history both the good and bad. If we benefit from the past sins, we must assume responsibility of the past, not to mention the present. It’s a history that has oppressed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We had a white Australian policy when the original custodians were not white. We only gave them citizenship in 1967 when I was 7. It’s shameful that my Maltese Father who came to Australia in 1939 got his citizenship before Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders who lived in this land for over 40,000 years. They fought in wars defending a country that would not let them vote, they were not paid a proper wage and at times were limited to who they could marry. Their children were taken from the mothers. We have systematically dismantled a culture over centuries and it took as late as February 2008 before a Prime Minister finally apologized, then wonder why or come up with cheap answers to why they have high mortality rate, unemployment and incarceration and shorter lifespans.
When you see injustice know the God of the bible hates it, so Praise him for being a God of justice
Let your children hear you praise the Lord for his justice and plead for his protection of the powerless. Never forget, no one is more powerless than the unborn. Praise God that his cross is the ultimate evidence that he is a just God.
We praise our Father for his extravagant love
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ~Psalm 103:3-5 (NIV)
God never does a job that is half baked, He lavishes us with his love and His blessings are so complete that He
When God entered into a covenant with Israel He revealed his glory by revealing his character
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. ~Psalm 103:8-10 (NIV)
That is your Father in heaven. I don’t know what your Dad was like. Was he quick to anger and quick to blame, who constantly brought up your failures and shamed you in public? When you think of the word “Father” what words spring to mind? Harsh or Gentle. Mean or Gracious. Critical or Encouraging. Absent or Present. Abusive or Safe. Like me, my Dad was a mixed bag, that is why at times we Fathers must apologise to our children. If we don’t then we are liars and hypocrites, most kids can live with imperfect Dads if we genuinely own our failures.
God does not hold our sins against us and he is perfect SO why do we hold our children's sins against them and why do we hold our Dad's sins against them?
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. ~Psalm 103:11-12 (NIV)
God wants us to grasp the full extent of his love that just can’t be measured. Sometimes God says When I forgive, it's like I take all your sins and I plunge them in the deepest part of the ocean. Never to be used against you. Praise you Lord. When I forgive you its like I put your sins behind my back. So that when I look at you I see perfection. Praise you Lord God. Or, I create so much distance between you and your sin that its the distance between East and West. In a full moon, you can't see the moon and sun at the same time.
The point is that God is saying I cant see you and your sin, He treats us as we don’t deserve.
But our sins are not placed at the bottom of the ocean or behind Gods back they are all stapled to the body of his Son
who took our blame, they were left at the cross never ever to be brought up against us again.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. ~1 Peter 3:18 (NIV)
But of course, this is only for those who FEAR GOD, three times we are told it's for those who fear God, specifically, who put their trust in God's Son. Do you joyfully praise God for his forgiveness or are you like Trump? When asked if he had ever sought God's forgiveness and he replied, "I'm not sure I have ever asked God's forgiveness. I don't bring God into that picture."
Days later when asked to clarify if, "asking for forgiveness" is a central tenet in his faith life. Trump answered "I try not to make mistakes where I have to ask forgiveness," Friends I'll stay out of politics when politicians stay out of bad theology. You don’t want your kids, let alone your nation, ever to hear that. Remember it's critical we point our kids to our heavenly Father
because we won't be around forever and they won't be around forever.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. ~Psalm 103:13-16 (NIV)
Here today and gone tomorrow. We are not preparing the next generation for our death if we make ourselves the heroes of the story.
I said to my Maddy, who has a sensitive conscience, if by chance I catch COVID from you and die please remember that God my Father numbered my days not you.
Don’t waste your life feeling guilty for God sovereignty.
Finally, as the psalm begins so it ends, but now he wants everything and everyone everywhere to praise our Father for his many benefits.
Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. ~Psalm 103:20-22 (NIV)
It’s a call to you angels who stand in the presence of God day and night, yes even you archangels Gabriel and Michael that includes Cherubim’s and Seraphim. Don’t hold back, give God the praise he deserves. To You who died in Christ and are gathered in heaven around the throne, you believers gathered in homes or around this screen or around the world. What is stopping you!!! Pump up the volume and let your neighbours hear praise coming from out of your mouth and out of your windows
And as for the rest of creation from Mt Everest to Mt Druitt from Buffalos to Bees, let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
You may not be able to sing at church but you can sing at home and in the car. You can praise God in words before the world and before the saints.
Here is one idea: Why not write a Father Day card to God your Father. My son gave me a Fathers day card and the cover said… Best Dad in Sydney …I was hoping for the World. He wrote “I am so thankful to God to have you as my Dad”
How about we all write God a Fathers day card telling him why we love him, then share what you wrote with your friends or family, here is mine.
Heavenly Father, Bless you for you choosing me before the creation of the world and adopting me into your forever family.
Precious Father I praise you for providing me with full forgiveness for all my sins, past present and future.
You have gifted me with your Son who died in my place.
You have gifted me with your Spirit who dwells in my body.
You have gifted me with your forever family where I have found a home.
Praise you for being the Father I never had and I could never have.
Praise you for being a God who is slow to anger and abounding in love.
Praise you for being in absolute control of this universe and my personal world.
Thank you for siding with the oppressed and for hating injustice.
And today I want to thank you so much for loving me through my earthly Dad
In Jesus precious name Amen.