The dad took his son, then about five years old, and lifted him to the top of the wall about 42 inches off the ground. Then he said, “Now, son, jump and I’ll catch you!” The little boy looked down and hesitated. “Come on, jump! I’ll catch you.” The lad looked into the face of his father and then jumped, but as he did so the dad withdrew his arms and the little boy landed in a crumpled heap on the ground—shocked, and crying. “Look,” said the dad, “this is to teach you an important lesson—you can never trust anybody, ever, not even me. Don’t forget it.”
Unquestionably that boy was old enough to remember this horrible stunt—for the rest of his life—but what a lesson it taught. Is it any wonder that when some think of God as a Father, they are completely uncertain that He will be there for them in the time of need. Some 3,000 years ago Moses wrote, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Number 23:19).
Absentee dads are plentiful today, along with deadbeat dads who demonstrate by their actions that they are not to be taken seriously and can’t be counted on to be there when a youngster needs his dad. But is that also true of God, whom Scripture calls a father?
Moses, the one who first told us that God is not a man who breaks promises, wrote, “…the Lord your God, he is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
To understand the importance of this in relationship to your own life, you need to know something of the power of a covenant—different from a contract which has limited liability. Going back some 6000 years in history, you find covenants between people—not much different from the legal contracts we use today—with one very important difference. There were two kinds of covenants—one made between equals and the other made by two individuals whose resources and authority were vastly different—say between a Sovereign or a powerful landowner with lots of money and one of his subjects—a poor person with limited resources.
That’s the kind of covenant God makes with us—one that cannot be broken. Moses calls Him “the faithful God” and describes what He promises as a “covenant of love.” Only a loving Father who cares about you agrees to bless you—something the New Testament calls grace—simply because you are His child.
The first mention of the word love in the Bible is that of a Father’s love for his son: the father was Abraham, and the son was Isaac. God told Abraham that He wanted Him to present his son—his only son—“whom you love” as a sacrifice.
God is faithful in keeping covenant with His children, said Moses, for a thousand generations. If a generation is roughly 50 years, then 1000 generations would be for 50,000 years—and that should be long enough for any of us. His point is that you can count on God to honor the promises of His Word. You can count on Him to be there for you—not to say, “Jump, and I’ll catch you” and then let you fall in a heap, but one whose everlasting arms are beneath you, whose strong hands will catch you, and who will lift you from the miry clay of life and put your feet on the solid rock.
Of one thing you can be certain. You can count on a loving Father who sent His Son to demonstrate His love and concern.
Resource Reading: Genesis 22
Text: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – April 3, 2017