Sunday, June 19, 2005

Abraham - The Father

Intro.: We have a pond on our campus. It is relatively new, but it serves as a holding tank for water that runs off of the parking lot outside our building.

  1. As the spring started, there seemed to be groups of ducks that were there in the morning, but then they disappeared over night.

  2. Then, for a week or two, they disappeared – nothing except maybe a stray, lonely sea gull

  3. But late last week there appeared some fluffy little ducks along with the larger ducks – we had baby ducklings.

  4. At first they just sort of hung around their parents

  5. Then they entered the water – scurrying all over

  6. But yesterday, I saw the family – and they seemed to get their act together. They now swim in a line – one after another

  7. Its been fun

  8. I don't know what its like being a duck parent – but I do know that being a parent of three boys is a challenge.

  9. We have been looking at the life of Abraham over the last few weeks.

  10. We don't have a great deal of information about his relationship to his son – But we get a glimpse of it in Genesis 24 and a couple of lessons that we can apply to our spiritual lives as well.

Read: Genesis 24:1-8


  1. In a Godly life, there can be a temptation to turn back just a little.

    1. Abraham's wife had died.

    2. His wife's son was not yet married

(Ill.) iJohn Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson pitying James Madison’s childlessness. Adams noted that “while children often cost parents grief, anxiety, and even vexation, their very presence lightens and lengthens life.”

(Ill.) Agnes Newton Keith would agree. It was horrible to be a mother in the Japanese internment camps—more horrible than even the mothers could say. Yet, in a way, it was heavenly too, she wrote. In the midst of that deprivation there were thirty-four reasons for staying alive—every one a child. Describing how the mothers brought all of thirty-four safely through the tragedy, Agnes added, “I said to begin with that we brought them all through alive. But perhaps they brought us through alive.” Indeed, a child is someone worth living for, and the joys they bring more than compensate for the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and economic costs of raising them.

    1. And Abraham was willing to be involved Isaacs life. He arranges for his servant to travel to his former home in Haran.

    2. Two concerns – one, he wants his son to marry somebody from home and he wants him to live in Canaan – the land that God had promised to Abraham.

    3. Abraham was a father that wanted the best for his son. The culture of 2000 BC was different that ours. We would never think of sending somebody else out to find our kids spouses – but the process was not unusual.

    4. And like parenting in the 20th century, it has its ups and downs.

(Appl.) God, too, experiences both the pain and sometime pleasure of fatherhood. His love for us is not dependent on our behavior. But like a earthly father, when a child goes astray, he hurts. God weeps over our brokenness. As God's people we will stumble, but He love us, inspite of it. But his heart does not ignore it. Like Abraham, like each father here, God wants the best for his children. And when His children stumble, when his children fall short of His expectations, he hurts.

  1. Faith includes a desire to be obedient

    1. As Abaraham gives the task of finding his son a wife, the servant raises a very valid concern – what if the young lady does not want to move to Canaan. After all, would you move 1000 miles away to marry someone whom you had never met? It was hard enough being married to someone I did know – should Isaac be taken back to Haran to marry her?

    2. Verse 6 has Abraham's answer - “Make sure that you do not take my son back there.”

    3. Abraham believed God's promiss -

(Ill.) iiAugustine once said, “Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.”

    1. This is the kind of faith that Abraham had, faith that allowed Abraham to act as if what God said was true, though he did not yet have the proof that it was true.

    2. God said that all this land will be yours and your descendants, but if his sole descendant leaves for Haran, then God's promise may be frustrated.

    3. Abraham had an obedient heart – he wanted to be obedient.

(Appl.) A man of faith, a woman of faith, will want to be obedient.

Conclusion: As Fathers, perhaps, we need to claim the prayer of Merrill C Tenney as our own. Tenney was on the faculty at Wheaton College – but he was also a preacher at heart.

To you, O son of mine, I cannot give
A vast estate of wide and fertile lands;

But I can keep for you, the whilst I live,
Unstained hands.

I have no blazoned amour plate that insures
Your path to eminence and worldly fame;

But longer than empty heraldry endures
A blameless name.

I have no treasure chest of gold refined,
No hoarded wealth of clinking, glittering pelf;

I give to you my hand, and heart, and mind—
All of myself.

I can exert no mighty influence
To make a place for you in men’s affairs;

But lift to God in secret audience
Unceasing prayers.

I cannot, though I would, be always near
To guard your steps with the parental rod;
I trust your soul to Him who holds you dear,

Your father’s God.iii


iHurley, V. 2000, 1995. Speaker's Sourcebook of New Illustrations (Electronic Ed.). Dallas: Word Publishers.

iiMerriam-Webster, I. 1992. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

iiiMerrill C. Tenney quoted in Tan, P. L. 1996. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations. Garland, TX: Bible Communications.

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