My Dad Knows God!
There is the story of three little boys who, playing as backyard buddies, got into one of those “my Dad is better than your Dad” routines. One of the boys declared, “My Dad knows the mayor of our town!” The second boy responded by saying, “That’s nothing! My Dad knows the governor!” Then the third boy exclaimed: “That’s nothing! My Dad knows God!”
There is no greater legacy a father can leave his children (son or daughter) than the memory of a father who has lived by faith in, and fear of, God. The Bible reports, “[A]nd the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God” (James 2:23; cf. Genesis 15:6). [All Scripture references are from the English Standard Version, ESV Text Edition 2011.] Surely Isaac was a rich son, because he was able to correctly recall that his father was “a friend of God.” Likewise, Jacob could rightfully say, “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed” (Genesis 31:42). What a legacy has been bequeathed when one can say, as Alexander Campbell reportedly said of his father, Thomas: “I never knew a man of whom it could be said with more assurance that he walked with God. . . . Whatsoever good I may have done under God, I owe it all to his paternal care and instruction, and especially his example.”
In the ultimate sense, great fathers provide spiritual guidance. A child may see his father in a place of position, power, prestige, popularity, and possessions, but, above all, he needs to see him walking the pathway to Heaven (cf. Matthew 7:13-14). Again, as the Scripture describes Abraham, so should it be with every father: “For I have chosen [known] him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice . . .” (Genesis 18:19). All of this is not only a constituent element in the personal development of a father’s own spiritual assurance, but it involves adherence to the following explicit admonition enjoined on fatherhood: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
The Sacred Scriptures say, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge . . .” (Proverbs 1:7); furthermore, the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10). As the late Henry Morris concluded, “This is why science itself could have only developed—as indeed the leading historians of science recognize it did—in the context of the Christian worldview. Practically all the founding fathers of modern science (Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Ray, Linnaeus, etc.) were men who believed in God, special creation, and the Bible. They did their science with the motivation that they were merely ‘thinking God’s thoughts after Him’” (The Heavens Declare the Glory of God 48).
I am reminded of a story I read many years ago as told by a woman describing an experience she had as a patient in a hospital. Suffering intense pain, she said, “I, like a little girl (though an adult) found myself crying out for my Daddy. And, I remembered something my Daddy used to tell me. He would say to me: ‘Someday you’ll need me, and I’ll be gone; But remember . . . your Daddy also has a Father. I need Him every day; And, when your Daddy cannot come, your Daddy’s Father can!”
Where are the men? Where are the fathers? Where are the grandfathers? Where are the spiritual leaders who, knowing the fear of the Lord, are doing and supporting sound apologetics in a secularized culture that is fast becoming more and more indifferent toward God, the Bible, and the Christ? May there be more like the unnamed man who came to Jesus with his son (cf. Mark 9:14ff). This father said, “‘Teacher, I brought my son to you. . . . [H]elp us’ . . . [T]he father of the child cried out and said [with tears] ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’”