daughters, daddy’s, and God’s glory

daughters

I have three little jewels. They came to me as blessed gifts from above.  Each jewel has unique facets and glimmer with unending beauty.  Their beauty rises from within and shines throughout, mixing the temporal and eternal.  I simply enjoy holding my jewels and can look at them for hours upon hours.  I cherish them.  I take time to let them know how much I adore them and do whatever it takes to help them keep their beauty.  For their beauty reflects a greater beauty to a beauty-stricken world.  My jewel are my daughters.

Dads and daughters. It’s a uniquely special relationship. I know, since I have three daughters. Truth be told, I wouldn’t trade my daughters for any son. My daughters are my pint-sized princesses. They were born with a natural ability to pirouette, a spirit bent on loveliness, and contagious giggles. I delight to watch my girls be girls and crush them with squeezes and douse them affectionate words like “Sweetheart,” “Snuggle Bums,” or “Beautiful one”. I even have special, silly songs for them that I like to sing only over them.

Where does the delight that daddy’s have for their daughters originate? It is eternal.  It came before time began.  It originated from another Father.  You see it first in his love for the eternal Son.  But it spreads to his creation which he lavishes with his embrace, pours out affectionate words, even sings overs.  There are many songs God has written for his children.  Zephaniah 3:14-17 is perhaps the most enchanting.

14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing

God has a daughter?

Did you know God had a daughter too?  Did you think God only had a Son?  It might come to you as a surprise, but God’s daughter is Israel (v.14).  God calls an entire nation his daughter.  He chose Israel from among all nations of the world and adopted her as his own.  He favors her, treasures her, sings to her, and loves her deeply.  Israel is the apple of his eye.  His heart melts for her, even when aa Zephaniah tells us how bad his daughter had become (see 3:1-5).

God is his daughter’s keeper

Daughters are precious jewels and there is within a good father a God-given inclination to protect her and keep her from evil (v.15).  Most daughters do not like this about their fathers at first or at all because some father tend to be either passive or overprotect.  However, good fathers are aware of the enemies that steal and destroy the hearts of daughters such as vanity, seductiveness, and self-image.

The enemy and the world are clever at redefining and distorting beauty and says, “This is what beauty looks like. Follow this way, and you will be known and liked and loved.”  Most daughters or women will tell you that  way is shallow and is an endless pursuit leading to much frustration and regret.  Therefore good fathers go to great lengths to remind their daughters where the well of beauty is found and strive to lead them there.

God warned Israel over and over, “Do not turn away from my voice and follow other gods (or faux-fathers).”  He is jealous for his daughter.  He delights in his daughter as the apple of his eye, but knows they were a surrounded by rotten apples.  Yet God assures them that though there was much to fear around them they had nothing to fear because God was with them.  God is his daughter’s keeper (vs.15-16; cf. Psalm 91:14ff; 59:1-2).

I remember when I first brought my girls to Chad, Justus in particular, was afraid and intimidated to talk to people. She was surrounded by many new faces she did not know.  There was so many new fears.  She would cling to her mom or me.  Sometimes when I would lead her outside the gate for a walk she would ask for me to hold her and she would hug my neck tight.  She thought is was safe to be near to me.

The safest place for you to be is with your Father.  Cling to him.  Hear his words.  Trust he is near.  Clasp onto his strong hands.  Do not fear.  He is your protector.  He will keep you.

Fathers, keep your daughters.  Teach them about the love of God.  Guard them from enemies and teach her his lies.  Stand in the line of attack so that your daughter sees how you fight against the enemy when the day comes when she doesn’t have you nearby to protect her.

No father wants to see their daughter fall or get hurt because they walked outside the umbrella of your counsel.  That’s when it becomes a temptation to overprotect, but an overprotective father is not a loving father.  Overprotection seeks control your daughter.  A father cannot control everything.  And when you do you play god, but don’t play god very well.  The intended result of overprotect is often the opposite.  Instead of your daughter running to you for counsel, they will be repelled by it.

Fathers, trust God to protect your daughters when they venture out on their own.  Pick them up when they fall and embrace them when they return to you.  Remember, even Israel became a harlot and shamed God, but she was still God’s daughter and he keeps all his promises to her and loves her deeply.  God is like the father of the prodigal, full of grace and love.

Daughters, maybe your view of God the Father is tainted because you’ve had an abusive or passive earthly father.  This happens.  But God the Father is not like this.  He is a good Father.  Yet if you have an earthly father, trust him as he seeks to protect you.  He might not always be the best at it.  He may have many holes in their armor.  He might miss an enemy or two, but God has called them to protect you.  If you step outside their protection the enemy has better aim at you.  For your own protection heed the words of your father and your God and learn how to fight the enemy from him.  There is nothing to fear.

God is his daughter’s warrior and songwriter

God often fought many battles for Israel, but sometimes he let her go out to battle alone.  This was a test to her faith and resolve.  Sometime Israel would fear and flee.  Sometimes she would call on the Father for help and he would rescue.  Sometimes she would make an alliance with the enemy and not listen to the Father’s words.  But always, God was there with her.  He was with her on good and bad and ugly days. Loving her, soothing her, holding her, rejoicing over her, and singing over her (v.17).

When are daughters most afraid?  I find that my daughter is most afraid when she feels alone or unsure or she has done wrong.  In those moments, my daughter is looking for a warrior, a fighter, someone to champion her fear.  It is then that I remind her that I love her (even if I must discipline her) and sing over her.

Fathers, rejoice over your children.  Sing praises over them.  For real!  Even if you sound silly or think you look stupid or sing severely out of tune.  As God sings over you with loud frivolous exultations, mirror that to your daughters.  Your daughter will remember this the rest of her life.  These will be her battle songs.

Daughters, encourage your father to be a strong warrior.  He needs to hear this from you.  Ask him to help you, pray with you, and advise you through your battles.  Also, don’t be embarrassed when he sings silly songs of praises over you.  He loves you because you are his jewel. the apple of his eye.  He cannot help but sing over you.

God quiets us with His singing, its a singing that drowns out all other competing noises of life that clamor for our attentions and do what they can do to distract us.  He is drowning out the noisy lies of the enemy and quieting our raging heart with his beautiful songs of praise.

What does God sing over us?  He sings songs of truth.  He sings his promises over us.  He reminds us of his faithfulness, that as we abide in Him, He abides in us and keeps us in his love.  He sings to remind us that as we draw near to him, he will draw near to us.  He is for us and not against us.  How wonderful it is that our good good Father sings over us.

Sons and daughters of God.  Run into your Daddies arms.  Listen for his songs of praise over you.  Know that you are his precious jewel…

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” – 1 John 3:1-3

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no more ties for fathers please

Happy Fathers day. This is the day when we honor our dads by giving they ties, gift cards to Menards, and cooking them brats or steak on the grill. We are thankful for our dads. Dad’s have a huge influence over the lives of their kids. This year more than ever the reality of becoming a father is hitting home. With my wife approaching 5-months of pregnancy, I am thinking seriously about being a dad.

The name of the father in the story we are going to look at today is Jairus. He had quite the rap-sheet: he was a spiritual man being the “ruler of the synagogue.” He was a big cheese among the Jewish community. He possibly heard Jesus speak in the synagogue at Capernaum. But more importantly for this story he was a Dad.

We do not know the name of his daughter, but we do know that she was an only child (“only” cf.Jn.3:16), about 12 years old and was suffering a deadly illness. What do you suppose she saw in her dad? I wonder if she thought of him as being old-fashioned and out-of-touch like many today’s pre-teen daughters? I want to assume that she thought of her dad as a faithful man. What are the marks of a Faithful Father (Follower)?

Faithful fathers [followers] are not ashamed to worship Jesus [Luke 8:40-41]

“There came a man…and falling at Jesus feet.” Jairus approached Jesus during the day while many people were out and about [cf. this is opposite of Nicodemus who comes to Jesus in the middle of the night]. Jairus comes to Jesus because his daughter is sick. It is a hard thing for a father to see their children suffer. He approached Jesus without reservation and fell down at His feet [not out of exhaustion, but begging]. Matthew 9:18 “there came a certain ruler, and worshiped him” Notice: Jairus went himself. He did not send his wife, he didn’t send a servant, rather he went to Jesus Himself.

Oh, that dads would seek Jesus without shame. That they would take their priestly responsibility in the home. That they would seek Him without reservation. That they would seek Him boldly. A faithful father knows he has a faithful God.

Faithful fathers [followers] are not ashamed to invite Jesus to the house [Luke 8:41b-48]

“begged Him to come to his house.” Notice that the event that followed was “as He went,” the entire crowd followed on their way to Jairus’ house. Can you imagine that phone call? “Honey, everyone is coming over to the house.”

Oh, that God would give us Dads who would bring Jesus into the house. Men who would stand with Joshua and declare to the world, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Men who would lead their families in prayer, speaking the truth of God’s Word, worshiping and living out their faith.

On the way to heal Jairus’ daughter, Jesus is touched by a woman suffering from a long-lived physical ailment that caused her to be ostracized by her community. According to Leviticus 15, she would have been labeled “unclean” and anyone who would touch her would also be unclean. In the crowd she rushed to Jesus, and believed that if she simply touched Jesus she would be healed. In that moment, Jesus stopped. He draws attention to the woman. She confesses. And Jesus comforts her by saying, “daughter,” (only time Jesus ever uses these words) “it was your faith alone that saved you.”

This parenthesis miracle was a tremendous lesson on faith for both the crowds and Jairus. Not only did Jesus’ healing of this woman stall the situation to heal Jairus’ daughter, but paved the way for His words. Jesus miracle now shifts from public to private. While Jesus was still speaking to the woman a messenger can to Jairus to let him know that his daughter died and not to bother coming home.

Faithful fathers [followers] are not ashamed to put the welfare of their child in the care of Jesus [Luke 8:49-56]

“Do not fear, only believe…” When Jairus received the news that his daughter was dead, he didn’t dismiss the Lord, rather he gave her into Jesus’ care. This reminiscent of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac on the altar. Jesus’ response to the father, “Do not be afraid. Only believe.” [Note: aorist imperative tense, literally, act in belief, “trust me,” “hey you, have real faith!”] Jairus completely put his daughter in the hands of God’s care.

Faithful followers of Christ are not afraid. They completely entrust their children to God. Ungodly fears are directly linked to things we are thinking [Proverbs 4:23; Philippians 4:8). Oh that God would give us Dad’s who would commit their children into the hands of Christ.

As I think about being a father, I want to be a worshiper modeling a love for God to my children. I do not want to be ashamed to invite Jesus into our house. He is our special guest, always welcomed and honored. I also want to sacrificially give my children over to the care of their God who is ultimately their Creator and Sustainer.