Series: Father’s Day Messages
Sun am 17 June 2012 –Kobus Swart
Deuteronomy 10: 12-16; Jeremiah 4: 4; 2 Timothy 3:16 and 4:1-5; 1 Samuel 2:12, 17, 22;
1 Samuel 8:1-5; 1 Chronicles 22:1-5
Let us look at two aspects of fathering. In the Old Testament fathers physically circumcised their sons. We talk about the Old Testament being types and shadows but already here we find pointers to the real significance of circumcision. Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you ….keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today …. So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer (Deut. 10:12-16). Being stiff necked speaks of pride or arrogance is dangerous before the Lord. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord and remove the foreskins of your heart. Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem lest my wrath go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it because of the evil of your deeds (Jer. 4: 4). What does it mean to circumcise your hearts and how is it done in this season if it is not going to be done physically? By the Word!
We live in a generation of decay and lawlessness, of no more absolute values; we live in a society where every boundary and principle we have grown up with is being challenged. Paul says: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Tim 3:16 to 4:5). This shows why it is necessary for circumcision to be done by spiritual fathers, not physically but with the sword of the living Word. Why do you think people move around from church to church? The moment the word comes too close to home and is uncomfortable because it is touching on issues in their lives, that is when they go “church hopping” and look for another church where their ears are tickled. Allow the Word to circumcise your hearts! Then stay in the camp until you are healed. That was the word of God to the Israelites at Gilgal.
At Gilgal there was the circumcision of a generation that had never been circumcised and it was a sign that they were going to leave the reproach of Egypt behind. Circumcision will be done effectively by grace carriers, not by legalistic accusations or judgmental spirits. True sons will not run away leaving blood trails behind. But we must remember that true fathering is not born overnight; there is no such thing as an instant father. The oil of anointing on a true father’s head contains certain ingredients, some of which are bitter. These fathers have been tested and tried, having experienced circumcision themselves. That is the anointing of a true father that will prepare his sons for their work of ministry.
By the word coming from a fathering grace carrier, circumcision of the heart will come to every son and daughter. True fathers must and will circumcise their sons. Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord (1 Sam 2:12). The sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for the men despised the offering of the Lord (1 Sam 2:17). Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting (1 Sam. 2:22). Eli is trying to rebuke them but they would not listen to the voice of their father. The Lord desired therefore to put them to death. Despite this Eli allowed his sons to continue to function in offices in the service of God in the temple. This angered God. No man in the natural can force his children to walk with God when they reach a certain age. When they have been trained in the word and exposed to the vision of God and they still choose to go another way that is their responsibility. If then a father still continues to allow them to function in offices in the church, it is called nepotism. God will not tolerate this. God not only destroyed Eli’s sons but when he heard the news Eli fell over backwards, broke his neck and died. There is a spiritual picture here.
Under Eli there was a little Samuel. His natural parents entrusted him to Eli who represents the old bankrupt systems. When the time came that God called Samuel, he had to migrate from a dying system, but he did not do so out of rebellion. There will be a lot of migration taking place as old systems are found wanting. True sons will then move on and be connected to true fathers.
When Samuel reached old age, his own sons did not walk in his ways. And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations” (1 Sam 8:1-5). The people of Israel were actually saying they no longer wanted the father-son formula, because the sons were not walking in his ways. Instead of insisting that the father-son formula be corrected and purified they pleaded for a democracy or a system like other nations. Instead of asking Samuel to correct the situation, they pleaded for an alternative way of government. This was a choice that Israel later regretted.
We find another example in the story of David. Absalom – one of his sons – tried to befriend influential people in the community with intention of one day betraying his father and taking his kingdom. Absalom’s mother had a father from the Talmai, from among the Nephilim group. Absalom visited his grandfather, received input and his spirit became contaminated. Absalom eventually died a sad death. David had another son called Solomon – a man of rest. Then in his old age, David prepared everything for the building of the Temple. Solomon was young and inexperienced, but was charged with the task to build the Temple (1 Chron 22:1-5). What a way to launch a son into his own calling! A true father wants to release his sons and wants to see them take responsibility off the father’s shoulders.
Unless God builds the house we are wasting our time. How does He build it? Sons are like arrows in the father’s quiver (Psalm 127). The Lord builds His house through fathers and sons. It is the clearest formula in the Bible. There are apparently successful structures without the backbone of fathers and sons that will not stand the ultimate test. There are sons in the house that have potential fathering graces already; go and raise sons! Can we in this time of decay still believe for and army of sons and daughters, pure, straight and strong in the Scripture?
Don’t run away when the circumcision gets too close, take it, and take the word to heart.