Key Word:- CARE
Title:- Of Fathers, Failings & Formulas
Isaiah 1:2,3 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master's crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.”
“Every ant knows the formula of its ant-hill, every bee knows the formula of its beehive. They know it in their own being, not in our way. Only humankind does not know its formula.” Fydor Dostoyevsky
Our verse for today brings God into a seemingly bad light. May I speak here as a mere mortal man and observe that it seems despite His hopes and His dreams, His attendant care and life-giving words, God still has rebellion on His hands. Let’s face it friends, in our text for today God has seemingly failed as a Father! However, we understand this seeming failure, for the tone and desperation of the latter half of today’s verse is echoed in millions of Christian parents with wayward children. Yes, many of us recognise the despair in God’s cry here.
Maybe some of you this morning, looking at the present chapters of the life story of your children, have taken the red inked stamp of ‘FAILED’ and slammed it all over your children and especially over your parenthood. It would appear that in the rising generations especially, weeping is common amongst parents. I speak as a man, I speak as a mere mortal, but this verse today, reveals to me that you are not alone. This verse shows the bewilderment and hurt, even in the broken fatherhood of God. Yes, it would appear that God has failed in His faithful and perfect parenthood. Or has He?
We view this verse from our own failings and so from a position of condemnation of both self and others. Of course, as sinners bringing sinners into the world and then trying to bring sinners up in a sinful world, we all fail at some point. We have to. There is no perfect parent. All of us need to repent of our many parental sins birthed in both the shades of zeal and in neglect. Well might we immediately pray “ Unfailing Father God, forgive us our many, many failings.” However God is perfect! He has no excuse for failing! Let me bring my criteria to You O great King and apply it! These verses talks of failed children and if that’s the case O Lord, then You, the Father of all perfection, failed at parenting. O Father God, yes if your children rebelled against you, then surely You failed as a father!
It’s ridiculous of course to suggest God’s failings here and so it should be, for God does not fail as a Father! How could He? No, the despair of this verse is over the “forgotten formula” of His children. In this verse, all anthropomorphic in its communication, God wants us to know that He knows the despair of praying parents. He knows the bewilderment that rebellion brings. Friends, God the father knows your despair for your wayward children who in a multitude of bad and selfish choices, have forgotten the formula you laid up in them over the years!
Those of you whose loved ones have for today forgotten the father’s formula, need to take comfort from these verses. I counsel you to confess your failings, utterly reject condemnation of any kind, especially from the quiet looks of those seemingly successful parents around you and ask the Father to make His formula begin to bubble in the rebellious hearts of your wayward children. What I mean is, ask the Father to make the light to shine brighter in their darkness. Ask for His voice to echo deeper in their cavern. Ask for eternity to claim a larger expanse in a once open heart’s now crowded house. Ask for conviction to cling and for conversation, consideration and conversion to come. Ask for the Creator's formula to fill the sinner with the forgotten knowledge of a Father’s love. “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master's crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.” Yes, God knows how you feel today.
Listen:- “But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” Luke 15:17-19
Pray:- Lord. We look at our own stories. How even now we are ignorant of things we should know. How even now, we fall far short of the men and women we should be. From the acknowledgement of our own personal failings then and into your abundant goodness, most merciful Father we gladly bring to You our own deaf donkeys and our own obstinate oxen. Have mercy on them Father. Have mercy on them we pray, in Jesus name, amen.