Good Fathers: This post is a sequel to the previous post on Matt. 7:7-11.
Fathers have a natural tendency to have compassion on their children. They love them and want to give them the very best that they can provide. In fact, they work hard in order to give them everything that they need. Jesus picks up on this tendency of fathers when he uses a lesser to greater comparison between earthly fathers and our Heavenly Father. Earthly fathers, while being imperfect, still have a desire to be good to their children. Despite their sin, they seek to satisfy their child’s every need. No good father takes pleasure in giving his child a useless or dangerous gift.
When a child is hungry and asks for food, a good father will not give him a stone or a snake. That’s like giving your child garbage to eat and a bomb to play with. No one does that. A good father will do everything possible to satisfy his child’s need. In fact, there is nothing a good father would not do in order to provide for his children. Any good father would not hesitate to take on a second job, if that’s what it took to put food on the table. None of them would selfishly hoard the clothes on their backs, if his child were standing cold and naked. It is the natural tendency of every good father to have compassion on his children.
In the comparison that Jesus uses in Matthew 7:7-11, he mentions the hungry child asking for bread and fish. In that day, bread and fish were the staple diet in Jerusalem. Interestingly, these basic food items played a prominent role in two other occasions of Jesus’ ministry. Twice He provided food for the hungry when he multiplied the fish and the loaves to feed four and five thousand people. In the same way, God used His Son to provide for humanity’s greatest hunger—spiritual restoration. The same Jesus who multiplied the fish and the loaves, is the very Savior who paid the penalty of our sin and restored our fellowship with God. Through faith in the finished work of Christ, we are able to repent from our sin and receive the gracious provision of God.
Our Greatest Need:
In the Garden of Eden, Adam enjoyed complete fellowship with God. However, when sin entered the world and took up residence in Adam’s heart, it separated him from God. Sadly, sin also found a willing home in our own hearts. As a result, our relationship with God has been broken, too. Sin has rendered us unable to restore the relationship that we have lost. Not only have we all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but we have tasted spiritual death, becoming children of wrath. Ephesians 2 describes every sinner as being dead in their trespasses and sins. There is no greater state of poverty than to be deprived of life. Our greatest need is to be made alive by being reconciled to God. We are poor and helpless apart from the grace of God. No dead man can make himself come back to life. Think about every funeral you’ve ever attended. Whether a close co-worker, a cherished family member, or a beloved friend; none of them had the power to raise themselves back to life. They remained cold, dead, lifeless, and powerless. That is how we are described as those who are under the effects of sin. We have no hope but to acknowledge our need and appeal to the mercy and kindness of God to save us.
At the Cross, God provided for our greatest need, because He is gracious. Through the death of His Son, we have been adopted into God’s family in order to become His children. As our Father, He has promised to give us every good and perfect gift. He will provide for both the physical and spiritual needs of His children. He has not saved them in order to let them go hungry or naked. Since God has provided for our greatest need—redemption, we can trust Him to provide for every other need that we have. If earthly fathers who are sinful can still give good gifts to their children, then how much more will our perfect Heavenly Father give good gifts to us!! That means that He will not give us any gift that will be useless or harmful to us, even if He must withhold a lesser good in order to accomplish a greater good. We only wait and have not, because it is best for us. We can trust that He will give us every good and perfect gift that we need. We know that He is good, because He demonstrated His own love for us while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us, and through His life we will be given every spiritual blessing that we need.
Since God has been so gracious to us, even when we don’t deserve it, we have been called to treat others with the same grace and love that we have received.
Blessings in Christ,