Happy Father’s Day! This is a day that we celebrate our fathers and the fathers in our church family. And as we do, we remember that God is our heavenly Father who gave us the gift of fathers. To start off this message, let’s watch a video about fathers called They Are The Ones.
Let’s pray. Father, thank you for each of the fathers here this morning. Thank you for the fathers that are not able to be here and those who are no longer with us. We pray for each father that they would grow in representing you, their heavenly Father. Give each one your wisdom in being the father you’ve called them to be. Protect them as they guide and protect their families. Bless each father here this morning in a special way. Encourage them as they follow you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today, our message is entitled “Prayers of Wisdom.” Fathers need godly wisdom … To live godly lives as an example to their children. To train up their children to follow their heavenly Father. To be a godly influence on their grandchildren. That kind of wisdom comes from God alone.
James 1:5 (ESV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
The passage teaches that many do not have the wisdom that they need because they don’t ask God. Why wouldn’t a father ask God for wisdom? One reason would be that they think they have all the wisdom they need. Or they don’t have faith that God will give them wisdom. This verse in James is a promise that if we ask in faith, God will give wisdom. What tasks as a father do we need wisdom for?
Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
We need wisdom to raise children in both the discipline and instruction of the Lord. When you receive the wisdom from God to do that, God gives us a promise.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The training of a godly father will impact their children for a lifetime. What a wonderful promise. Today, we’re going to learn how to pray and find wisdom in the book of Psalms from our message series “Praying the Psalms.”
The very first psalm in the book of Psalms is a wisdom psalm and sets the tone for the entire collection of 150 psalms. It’s a short, but important psalm and we’re going to look at it in its entirety this morning.
Psalm 1:1-2 (ESV) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
As we learn to pray and live out the instructions of the psalms we will be blessed by God. The first verse in the book of Psalms gives us three things that we must avoid in order to be blessed. The first is to not follow the advice of those who are not walking with God. The second is to not spend time and hang out with sinners, because sin is contagious. The third is to not join in and sit with people who mock godly things. In these three instructions, we see a progressive moving away from God and into the influence of unbelievers.
On the contrary, rather than spending time with wickedness, we ought to take delight in God’s Word. When you delight in God’s Word, you will read and meditate on it continually, every day.
Psalm 1:3-4 (ESV) He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
The blessing of the righteous is that he is like a fruitful tree, planted by streams of water. That type of father will prosper in everything he lays his hand to. On the other hand, the wicked will not prosper. Rather than being a fruitful tree, the wicked are like that worthless chaff of grain that is blown away by the wind.
Psalm 1:5-6 (ESV) Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
The Bible teaches that in the future, each person will stand before the judgement seat of Christ. The wicked will reap the consequences of their sin on judgement day and will be removed from the presence of the righteous and perish. On the positive side, the Lord knows the way of the righteous. This knowing is not just being aware of, but indicates that the Lord watches over every aspect of lives of the righteous. The first Psalm in the book of Psalms encourages the reader to choose righteousness.
As fathers, we must make a decision to choose righteousness for our lives and for our families. In many ways, following verse one is much more difficult today then it has been in the past. In the past, to be influenced by someone wicked, you had to physically spend time with them or perhaps get and read a book by them. Today, the counsel of the wicked and scoffers is all around us, on the web, television and the news. Much of what we see and hear has an evil and God defying agenda behind it, even as it professes to be unbiased. Now, we can’t stick our heads in the sand and refuse to engage with our world.
But we as fathers, can set an example for our children, by spending time in God’s Word. And we can search out the rarer counsel of the godly that is still available in the media. Choosing righteousness means filling your mind with God’s Word and then putting it into practice in your thoughts, words and actions. As you grow in that, you will see God’s blessing on your life and family increase. And you will see more and more of your prayers answered. Choose righteousness and …
The next psalm that we’re going to look at today, is Psalm 36 written by David.
Psalm 36:1, 3 (ESV) Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. … The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
The psalms begins by telling us some of the characteristics of the wicked. The problem of the wicked is that their hearts are wicked and receptive to the temptations of Satan. The wicked do not fear God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. God is the supreme authority in the universe and to fear Him is required of all mankind in order to obey Him. From the hearts of the wicked then come evil and lying words, as well as evil actions. The righteous must be careful, with the Lord’s help, to avoid being influenced by the wicked. Yet, the righteous are often attacked by the wicked, so we must depend on God for protection.
Psalm 36:7,9 (ESV) How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. … For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
The love of God is poured out upon the righteous and provides refuge and shelter for them from the persecution of the wicked. God’s love provides for the righteous eternal life and light for their path in life.
Psalm 36:10-11 (ESV) Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
God’s love is shown in the fullest way to those who know Him intimately and whose hearts are devoted to the Lord. The next verse, verse 11, is a prayer request that the Lord protect from pride, an internal temptation. Pride moves a person away from dependence on the Lord and into much wickedness in thought and action. Secondly, David asks that he not be influenced by the wicked to drive him away from the love of the Lord. As we choose righteousness, we must also choose to avoid the sinful living of the wicked.
As fathers, it’s easy to get caught up in sinful behaviors of various kinds. One issue that’s often problematic for fathers is anger. In today’s world, there is so much anger around us, we can easily get caught up in anger. We’re tempted to be angry with other people, including their wicked behavior. Sometimes the stress of jobs and the news causes us to become angry with our spouses or our children. Anger is often a type of defense mechanism when we feel that we are being hurt in some way. What is the antidote for anger? We overcome anger by resting in the Lord’s love for us. It’s not our place to try to right every wrong in the world and be angry at those opposed to godliness.
God wants us to learn to overcome evil with good. We overcome evil in our own lives and around us by receiving the Lord’s love and peace. Then we ask for the Lord’s help to respond to other’s anger and sin with love and compassion. As we learn to be secure in God’s love, He will help us show that love to others. And we’ll be able to avoid sinful living and …
Next we look at Psalm 127, a psalm by Solomon.
Psalm 127:1-2 (ESV) Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
As we’ll see, this psalm is primarily about the family. It begins by speaking of the importance of the Lord building the house or home. If we try to build our homes in our own strength, we will surely fail. Sometimes, fathers will work so much that they don’t get enough sleep. Why? Because they are worried and anxious concerning their families. Again, we see the Lord’s love emphasized. Because of His love, we can get a good night’s sleep as we trust Him to build and watch over our homes.
Psalm 127:3-4 (ESV) Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
God blesses God-centered homes with children. Children are a heritage, a reward, not a burden or a distraction. Verse four is an important verse for fathers. Fathers are to be warriors for the Lord. The children of a godly father are like arrows in his hand, sending them out to defeat the enemy. Children then extend and carry out the godly purpose of their fathers, even after they leave their parent’s home and begin their own homes. The next psalm, Psalm 128 carries on the theme of a God-centered home.
Psalm 128:1, 3 (ESV) Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! … Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
The first verse reminds us of Psalm one, the blessing of those who fear God and walk with Him. The blessing mentioned in verse 3 is upon the father of the home. The wife of the godly father will be like a fruitful vine, bearing the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of godly children. The children will be fruitful in their own right, growing and producing good fruit in the home. These psalms show us the importance of establishing God-centered homes, where the marriage and the children are blessed and made to be a blessing.
In these psalms on God-centered homes, we see the impact that a godly father can have on his spouse and children. As fathers, we must trust the Lord to build our home, as we cooperate with Him. Our responsibility is to fear the Lord and walk in His ways.
Now the principles that we’ve talked about today, do not just apply to physical fathers. They also apply to single mothers, who are parenting their children. These principles apply to men who have no physical children, but are raising up spiritual children to walk with the Lord.
A nation is only as strong as the family unit, composed of a godly father, mother who are raising godly children. We need to continue to pray and work towards encouraging godly families across our nation. These families are raising the next generation of believers to reach the world for Jesus.
Today is Father’s Day and we’ve focused on the wisdom that godly fathers need in raising their families for the Lord. Although the principles apply to each one of us. We ought to choose righteousness for our lives. Why? Because God commands it and because it results in blessing for ourselves and others as well. Once we choose righteousness through Jesus’ forgiveness, God gives us the power to avoid sinful living. We avoid sinful living because we love the Lord and want to please Him. We avoid sinful living because we fear the Lord. He promises that sin causes us to lose our blessing and reap destruction.
As fathers, then we ask for the Lord’s help to establish God-centered homes. Not only does a God-centered home result in God fearing children, it also brings blessing to the community. May God help us continue to seek Him for wisdom in establishing God-centered families.