17The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
In the text from which the above quote comes, God has decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for its sin and is about to tell Abraham what His plans are. The reason that He is about to let Abraham in on His plans is that He has chosen Abraham to be the father of a great nation.
This Sunday is Father’s Day and this piece of Scripture addresses the issue of fatherhood very directly. It is simply an astounding thing that God says about Abraham. God openly says why He chose Abraham – so that Abraham can teach his children the ways of God.
Abraham was chosen by free and undeserved grace. He was an idol worshipping stranger to God and God simply called him to the worship of Himself. And He promised to make him the father of a vast nation numbering people from all the nations:
1Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God chooses Abraham with a plan to save people from all over the world, throughout all the ages. Paul will say 2000 years later that all who believe in Jesus Christ are the spiritual children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). We are told in Romans that Abraham was justified by faith, not works (Romans 4:1-4) and that if anyone is ever going to be saved it will be by faith, not works as well. And then Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:4-5 that the redeemed are those who are chosen from before the foundation of the world.
Putting all that together we get this: Before the world was made God determined to save a vast number of people from every corner of the world. He chooses Abraham to be the beginning of this vast nation because Abraham will be the ancestor of Jesus Christ. The descendants of Abraham are not physical but spiritual, through faith in Jesus Christ.
And then this. This great eternal plan will come to pass only if Abraham is faithful to teach his children the ways of God, and teaches them to keep passing it on. The means by which God brought Jesus Christ into the world to save it from its sin was fathers faithfully teaching God to their children. It is still the way that God works.
This does not mean that only people whose fathers were believers can ever be believers. But it does mean that all fathers have a responsibility from God to teach their children the Gospel.
And the mind warping encouragement is this: that when fathers faithfully do this, they are being used by God to fulfill a plan forged in eternity past, brought into being at the call of Abraham, sealed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Never demean the simple, unseen, unknown, uncared about in the world, work of explaining the Gospel to your little ones. It is part of God’s plan to keep His promise to Abraham over 4000 years ago.