Sunday, June 15, 2014

RYBS: A Loving Message for Fathers

Read Your Bible Series - Week Six

A Loving Message for Fathers

For the Father's Day edition of Read Your Bible Series, I decided to take our weekly review in a slightly different direction by focusing on god, the father.  I'm quite sure there are a multitude of sermons being delivered today that are, in one way or another, focusing on how thankful we men should feel given all the blessings of fatherhood that the god of the Bible has given us.  So instead of taking the easy route, why not be creative and take the time to cover some of the other paternal messages in the Bible?

Let's begin with a message about disobedience from Leviticus 26: 27-29:
If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.
Since I've only been a father for 16+ years and do not have near the parenting skills that an eternity would bring, it must be my own ignorance that makes me question the lesson here.  I mean, this kind of punishment strikes me as a bit of an overreaction for a parent.  Plus, it just doesn't seem that productive in the grand scheme of things to cause a disobedient follower to slaughter his own sons and daughters and roast them rotisserie style over a fire pit.  What lesson does that teach?  But, I shouldn't be so disrespectful, because far be it from me to tell the god of the Universe how to raise his children.

Even if I think this level of punishment is disproportionate to the act of disobedience, it does appear to be a common parenting technique for god.  Deuteronomy 28: 53-55:
Because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you. Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children, and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities.
The message here is clear.  Even the most gentile, the most sensitive, and the most compassionate among men will be too selfish to share the meat he has harvested from his own children.  Pish... stingy!

Now, if you haven't run out of children to slaughter for dinner, there are some other biblical techniques you can use that should help you with disciplining the ones you have left.  For example, every father has had the cheeky little one that likes to mock us behind our backs.  In the Bible, the solution is simple - Proverbs 30: 17:
The eye that mocks a father,
that scorns an aged mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
will be eaten by the vultures.
I hate to be so whiny toward my holy father, but sheesh!  Throw me a bone here!  (Pardon the pun.)  Okay, I'm all for making my children understand who is in charge in your family, but making me find a raven AND a vulture is just too much work!

There has to be something easier, right?  Perhaps we could just find some people to help with a problem child.  You know, the whole, "It takes a village" idea.  Exodus 21: 15 and 17:
Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.
Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.
Now we're getting somewhere...  Put them to death.  But how?  Deuteronomy 21: 18-21:
If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
Perfect!  You can always count on the Bible to provide answers to the most difficult of questions.  Here we solve several issues at once.  We recruit some of the other fathers in our neighborhood, gather enough rocks heavy enough to break bone but still light enough to throw, and clobber the bratty kid to death.

So happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!  Remember to find your kids, give them a big hug, and use your Bible to scare them into submission and bring about the next four weeks worth of nightmares.

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