FATHERS AND CHILDREN
Date: September 10
"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."
This is the last verse in the Old Testament. It's very interesting that the last verse of the Old Testament focuses on the relationship between fathers and their children. It's very important for both boys and girls to have a father figure in their lives. The prophet Malachi tells us that God is going to send Elijah to reconcile the relationship between fathers and their children. So we can see here that God wants fathers to turn their hearts towards their children, and He wants children to turn their hearts towards their fathers. A father is not to put all his attention on his career, his house, his car, etc. He is to pay attention to his own children.
In the early 80's, I was in Vienna, Austria and I saw a billboard of a beautiful little girl surrounded by wonderful toys. Yet she was crying. Underneath, the picture was a phrase that read, "Your child needs you, not your things." A father is more important to his children than anything he could ever buy them. That's why it is important for a father to spend time with his children. Children spell love as T-I-M-E. So a father needs to consciously take time out of his schedule and spend it with his children.
As he's spending time with them, he should also be teaching them important life lessons for success. Every morning I teach my children from the Word of God. That is one of the most important things that I can do as a father. I also take my children to church. I also eat meals with my children. Each month I take a child out on a "date" to his or her choice of a restaurant and we spend time together that way. Those are all opportunities for me to teach my children about success.
One of the things that a father can teach his children is to speak positive things over themselves and others. He should also teach them the importance of an education, and he should teach them about being prudent with money. A father is also there to discipline his children. He's there to direct them in the path that they should go and help them make wise choices for their lives. A father should bless his children with his words and actions. Of course, a father also has to pray for the souls of his children so that they would be saved. These are just some of the responsibilities of a father. Growing up, I didn't have a good father. But God taught me through His Word and through other godly examples how I can become a good father for my children.
Not only is a father supposed to turn his heart toward his children, but also the children are to turn their hearts toward their father. In other words, if their father is teaching them, then they are to pay attention to his teachings. They are to take heed to and obey their father's instruction. When children disobey those instructions, they often stray away and make unwise decisions. That's why God tells us here that children are to turn their hearts towards their fathers. It says in Psalm 127:3, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." Some parents think of their children as a burden. That's such a negative way of thinking. It says here that children are a blessing from God. When God is pleased with a married couple, then He blesses them with children, especially if the couple are healthy and can have children. The children are a reward from Him. There's something special about having children.
There's a healthy balance when children and parents respect, appreciate, and relate to each other well. But if fathers and children don't turn their hearts toward each other, then the land will be struck with a curse (it says in Malachi 4:6). So for the wellbeing of society and of families, it is very important that fathers pay attention to their children and that children obey their fathers. When that happens, the land will be blessed. This is a promise that God has given us. This is how the Lord ends the Old Testament. So it's so important that we pay attention to this commandment from God. If we want our land to be blessed, then there has to be a good relationship between fathers and children, with mutual love, respect, and honor.
To learn more on this topic order the recource "Bless Your Children to Succeed" today at: http://slm-balkans.org/www/index.cfm?fuseaction=media.bless