First Love Ministries, Inc.
PRAYER STUDY #138
The Heart of the Fathers
Malachi 4:5-6, The Last Two Verses in the Old Testament
Behold, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. KJV
Behold, I will send you Elijah, the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he shall turn and reconcile the hearts of the [estranged] fathers to the [ungodly] children and the hearts of the [rebellious] children to [the piety of their fathers [a reconciliation produced by repentance of the ungodly], lest I come and smite the land with a curse and a ban of utter destruction. AMP
Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. New American Standard
This is the last prophesy of the Old Testament and one that is yet unfulfilled. Some believe we are already in the beginning time of “the great and terrible day of the Lord.” I am sure that it is later than most of us think. This day will be marked by severe judgments but also one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in the history of mankind.
What the world today needs are good fathers! After spending countless hours in the counseling office and countless hours praying with people, I am firmly convinced that the single most important factor, besides relationship with Jesus, in determining the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of a person is what kind of relationship that person had with his or her natural father. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the problems I deal with, with people can be traced back to their father relationship. In addition, it is a well-known fact among ministers that a person’s initial perception of God the Father is based on the relationship that person had with his own father. For example, if the father was permissive and did not disciple, the person sees God as a buddy who never corrects and allows for anything. On the other hand, those with strict, overbearing fathers find God as ready to throw down a lightning bolt at any second. People, who have struggled with abandonment issues and feelings of low self-worth, most likely were not ever affirmed by fathers. People who cannot love healthily and properly were most likely never hugged or told they were loved by their fathers. One of the most difficult places to evangelize today is in the Ghettos of America where so many children have never had a father and cannot relate to a Heavenly Father. The Belmont Foundation, a ministry devoted to ministering to the fatherless gives the following statistics:
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes.
85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes.
There is a tremendous need today for fathers to follow Biblical patterns with their children. These include the following:
1. Speaking Affirmation: Father God spoke over His only begotten Son, “This is my Son in whom I am well-pleased.” Matthew 17:5
2. Expressing Agape Love: Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another. Romans 12:10
3. Discipling: My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loveth He chastened and scourgeth every son whom He received. Hebrews 12:5b-6
4. Forgiving: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities… Psalm 103:3
5. Laying down his life: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends[family].
Sons Who Succeeded in spite of Ungodly Fathers
1. Gideon: Judges 6,7,& 8 tell the story of Gideon. His father Joash worshiped false idols of Baal. Gideon was called by God and was directed at the same time to destroy these idols. He did it by night because he was afraid. The men of the city wanted to kill him the next day but Joash talked them out of it.
2. Josiah: Josiah’s grandfather Manasseh was one of the most wicked and ungodly kings of Israel. He tried to destroy all of the copies of the Word of God and lived an immoral and idolatrous life until he was captured and held in Babylon for 12 years. Here he did repent and returned to try to undo his wrongs. His son Amon, Josiah’s father was also very wicked but reigned and lived as king only two years. Josiah became king when he was 8. He was one of the most godly kings of Israel and rebuilt the temple and returned the Israelites to God. His name means “The Fire of God.”
The Biblical Authority Structure that Promotes a Spiritual Covering
Children, obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Colossians 3:20
Children obey your parents in the Lord: (as those whom God has set over you) for this is right. Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3
My son, keep thy father’s commandment and forsake not the law of thy mother. Bind them continually upon thine heart and lie them about thy neck. Proverbs 6:20-21
The eye that mocketh at his father and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out and the young eagles shall eat it. Proverbs 30:17
A fool despiseth his father’s instruction, but he that regardeth reproof is prudent. Proverbs 15:5
Four Primary Spiritual Laws from the Elijah House Ministry
1. Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you. Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:2-3, Exodus 20:12.
2. Do not judge, lest you be judged yourselves. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2, Luke 6:37-38
3. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8
4. Therefore, you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. (i.e., Judging others condemns us to blindly continue in the same sins, making us to that degree unable to avail ourselves of God’s grace and healing.) Romans 2:1
The Principle of Increase (What we sow, good or evil, will come back to us multiplied!): For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…Hosea 8:7a
THE POINT BEING THAT THOSE WHO TALK AGAINST OR DISRESPECT OR CRITICIZE BEHIND THE BACKS OF FATHERS AND MOTHERS WILL REAP WHAT THEY SOW, IN ADDITION TO HAVING A SHORT LIFE AND BEING MISERABLE IN LIFE.
In most of the Old Testament God was referred to as the God of our fathers. Although Moss and the Israelites sang a song after getting safely across the Red Sea and in the song included this verse, The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation; He is God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my Father’s God, and I will exalt Him, it was rare for the Israelites to call God a Father until David began to speak of Him in this way. The LORD spoke to David and gave David a message for Solomon in which God said, “He(Solomon) shall build a house for my name, and he(Solomon) shall be my son, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever. Even in Jesus’ day, people did not usually speak of God as their Father. In fact, the Jews were very angry when Jesus referred to God as His Father: Therefore, the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. John 5:18
God Himself makes it clear in His Word that He is our Father and we are His children:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1st John 3:1
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father. The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God; and, if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ-if so be that we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:14-18
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:6-7
Other Words Concerning Fathers:
A father of the fatherless and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families; He bringeth out those who are bound with chains; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Psalm 68:5-6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Whosoever curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. Proverbs 20:20
There is a generation that curses their father and does not bless their mother. This generation is pure in their own eyes and yet are not washed from their filthiness. Proverbs 29:11-12(see Revelation 3:14- 19 and 2nd Timothy 3:1-5)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother(which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with thee and you may live long upon the earth. And you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4
For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers. 1st Corinthians 4:15a