Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. God will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse (Malachi 4:5-6, NASB1995).
Happy Father’s Day!
Are fathers important? The Old Testament thinks so, as it ends with fatherhood.
Considering all of the history, the patriarchs, the prophets, the nation of Israel, and the prophecies of the first and second comings of Jesus, the Old Testament ends with a prophecy about fatherhood.
It’s a fascinating prophecy about the hearts of the fathers turning back to their children and the hearts of the children turning back to their fathers.
As a pastor, I’ve spent decades with hundreds of great fathers. But it doesn’t take a Ph.D. to understand that marriage, and especially fatherhood, is being attacked – by a culture that calls good evil and evil good.
Is fatherhood, as has been known in the past, just now under attack? Some say the battle for traditional dads has already been lost.
Last week a friend of mine, who has a great fatherhood ministry, went to a conference to present his teaching materials on bolstering fatherhood. He returned saying that those in the conference weren’t that interested, that they had already given up on traditional fatherhood and were looking at alternatives.
Wow – teachers, professors, political leaders, and secular social organizations have already given up!
I recently read a survey of 19,000 church attendees on fatherhood. The conclusion reached by the researchers is shocking . . .
Many secular elites have given up on the idea that restoring marriage is a good thing at all. Some recognize that while marriage produces the best outcomes, restoring it will be impossible. One progressive scholar has begun to advocate for policy changes to reinvent modern fatherhood absent marriage.
This same survey found that . . .
- 80 percent of current church attendees grew up in a continuously married home with both biological parents.
- Closeness to the father matters more than closeness to mothers in religious transmission from one generation to the next.
Finally, the survey reported that . . .
Research by Dr. Paul Vitz, emeritus professor of psychology at New York University, sheds further light here. Vitz shows that the failure of a child to form a healthy attachment to his or her father often manifests itself in the later loss of faith, interest in New Age spirituality, or the manifestation of agnosticism or atheism.
With this disappointing news and our culture already walking the path of replacing “dad” with no-one-really-knows-what, can we celebrate a Happy Father’s Day?
I think so.
The entire Old Testament doesn’t end with a prophecy about the first or second comings of Jesus but a promise/prophecy that in the last days, God will restore the hearts of the fathers toward their children.
Again, from Malachi . . .
God will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.
Happy Father’s Day!