Monday, June 27, 2022

Psalms Through the Summer #6: A Psalm Over Fear - Psalms 27

Psalms Through the Summer #6: A Psalm Over Fear - Psalms 27

Psalms 27 is one of the most cherished in all the book of Psalms.

It certainly has become one of mine for two reasons. First as a pastor I began using it when visiting a member in the hospital. It has a powerful, comforting reassurance beginning in the very first verse.

Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  That is what you need to hear when they have you strapped down in a hospital bed or they are rolling you down the hallway for an operation over which you have no control.

The second reason it means so much to me is, it that it became my “go to” verse when my heart valve stopped and I almost died. After I had collapsed and everything went black, when I came to and realized that even though I was seeing an angel it was my wife, LeeOra and not Gabriel, and I wasn’t in heaven just yet. Instead I was headed to the hospital and for the next 14 day, I read Psalms and I read Psalm 27 a lot. When they took me to the operating room. I had it written on my arm so when I got into recovery, it would be the first thing I would see. The Lord is the my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Now it turns out that they stick a lot things on your arms and wrist when you are in surgery and when I came out I couldn’t see anything but adhesive tape on my arm, but I knew it was there and more importantly I knew what it said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? I didn’t need to see it on my arm, because it had already been written on my heart.

I think another reason we can related so well to Psalm 27 is because it presents us with a recognizable dichotomy, a sharp contrast between faith, in the first half of the Psalms, and fear in the second half.

It begins with “Whom shall I fear?” but then in vs 9 we hear the cry of someone in real fear, while going through a tribulation. Psalms 27:9 Hide not thy face far from me;
put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Now this contrast isn’t a contradiction, it is a contemplation of what our life is often like in situations we all face. As in all the Psalms, the 27th is unflinching in its honesty and in its consideration of the nature of being human and the nature of faith.

Overcome Fear: Know The Lord - Psalms 27:1-3

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Faith Factors

David begins in the only place a child of God can begin when they are facing fear, by focusing not on the fear but on the Lord. David says that through his relationship with God, there are three things, three faith factors that God is to him, and those things are his power to fighting and overcoming the fear.

He says, The Lord God, Jehovah, is my light, He is my salvation, and He is the strength of my life. These are the faith factors that are essential to fighting and overcoming fear.

Fear feeds on darkness and ignorance but the light of the Lord drives back the darkness of fear. Just as darkness cannot overcome the light of a single candle, fear cannot overcome the light of the Lord.

David says the Lord is my salvation, his savior. No matter who or what is attacking or hurting him, David knows that God will save him, so he can boast, “Whom shall I fear?” God is on his side, and there is none greater than God?

David goes on in his boast, his faith focused on the Lord and declares, “the Lord is the strength of my life.” The word translated strength of my life is the Hebrew word מָעֹז ma‘oz; it means a fortified place; a defense, a fortress, a rock. David looks to the Lord and knows that his life is safe, hidden in the Lord. Like a man surrounded by the strong walls and high towers of a fortress. David says, “This is my Lord, this is why I can shout, “Of whom shall I be afraid?” I’m surrounded by the power and love of my Lord.”  

In the 18th Psalms, David praised God for delivering him from King Saul, many of the same themes echo in both Psalms. Psalms 18:1-3 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. v. 28, For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

David finishes this stanza of the Psalms by taking his faith to the extreme. If the wicked should come to and attack him like a pack of wild animals tearing his flesh apart, they will fail. If an entire army should lay siege and make war against him, He emphatically states, “My heart shall not fear! In this will I be confident.” That is  boldness, that is faith, that is overcoming fear and it can only come through a trusting, growing relationship with the Lord.

And do you realize, child of God, that the factors that David used to fight fear are even more powerful in you as New Testament believers?

Fortified by Faith

If anything, we as New Testament, New Covenant, believers should have even greater power over fear than David. We not only have the promises of God that were given to David, but even more we have the fulfillment of those promises as our present possession.

Factor 1. David looked to the Lord as his light but we have the light of the Lord in our hearts constantly. In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” We have Jesus, and in Him we have the light that overcomes darkness and fear.

Factor 2. David prophesied of a coming Messiah, but he did not know the Messiah by name but we can call by name to the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus and in His name find salvation. 1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Factor 3. David’s Lord was his stronghold, his rock of salvation and that same truth is magnified in us as because we follow and obey Jesus our rock. He himself gives us this promise in Luke 6:47-48 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. That Rock is Jesus and that house is our life, our family, our eternity.

Who will I fear? Who will make me afraid? Jesus is my light, my savior and my rock!

The courage of Stephen

When Stephen was taken and tried by the Sanhedrian, he boldly preached repentance an faith in Jesus the Christ, that they had crucified. Even as men surrounded him, their hands filled with stones and their hearts filled with rage, he just kept preaching Jesus. How could he be so bold? The Bible tells us he looked up into heaven, set his eyes on the glory of the throne of God and focused his faith on the light of Jesus, his savior, his stronghold.

We must do the same.  Don’t look upon the darkness of fear that surrounds us but instead look upon the face of the Jesus our Lord, our light, our salvation and our strength.

The next stanza in this psalm takes us from David’s courage to David’s desire. A desire that also was vital to overcoming.

Overcome Fear: Desire The Lord - Psalm 27:4-7

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

David’s Desire

David could overcome fear because overcoming fear was not his greatest desire. David was brave not because he tried to be brave, but because his love of his Lord made him  brave.

Listen to what he says, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”

One thing, one thing above all other things, one that that take precedent over all other things. One thing that leaves no room for fear. That one thing is to behold the beauty of the Lord.

One place that David as an Old Testament believer has us beat it is in phrases like that, to behold the beauty of the Lord. David said if I could live in the house of the Lord everyday of my life, if I could pray at the temple all those days, this is what I would desire, this is what I would pray for to see the beauty of the Lord.

When David was a fugitive, an outlaw and could not go to worship God in the sanctuary he wrote this in Psalms 63:1-4. It has the same heart, that same desire that longs to see God. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;  To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.”

Do We Desire God?

If we could but understand what David understood, we would have the bravery of the youth who faced down a giant, overcame a mad king, survived betrayal by his own family and even in the face of his own grievous sin looked not away from God, but he looked to God and his desire for God was greater than all sorrow, sin and loss. Greater than fear.

The Bible says David was a man after God’s own heart, but Jesus was God’s own heart. When they asked Him what is the greatest commandment, His answer was desire the Lord above all things. Mark 12:29-30 Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

When your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength is set upon loving the Lord there won’t be any room for fear. The overwhelming desire for God leaves no room for fear to find a threshold.

Quote: The highest desire that can possess any human heart is a longing to see God.  - J. Vernon McGee in Feasting on the Word.

Ignatius Awaiting Death In the Arena

During the Emperor Trajan’s rule he began a terrible persecution of the Christians as a way of giving thanks to the god of Rome that had given victory in a war. One of the martyrs was an old pastor named Ignatius who had been a student of Peter, Paul but especially of John. Ignatius was arrested in Antioch and taken in chains to Rome where he was condemned to die by being torn to pieces by wild beasts, lions, tigers or leopards that were imported from around the world just for such sport. As he waited to die, the soldier who stood next to him ready to march him out into the middle of the arena, could hear Ignatius saying over and over agan, “Jesu, Jesu, Jesu” the Latin name for Jesus. The soldier asked Igatius why he kept repeated that name and this was Iganatius answer, “My dear Jesus, my Saviour, Is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece.” – Ignatius

His desire for his Lord overcame even the fear of death at the claws of wild animals in front of bloodthirsty people who hated him.

The next stanza brings us to the contrast of this psalm. To this point we hear confidence, boasting and faith, but now we come to fear, forsaking and false witnesses.

Overcome Fear: Seek The Lord – Psalms 27:8-13

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me,

then the LORD will take me up. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Fear Factors

Now David’s confidence in the Lord is confronted by his own fear. He begins with an appeal to God to recognize his love and obedience, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” David had obeyed God with his heart but fear is a persistent and powerful force. And now David fears the one thing he cannot overcome, being alone without God. With God he can face any and all but without God, he cannot stand alone.

He cries out, leave me not, do not forsake me. He goes to an extreme example, “If my father and mother should forsake me, then Lord please pick me up. Do not deliver me to my enemies. This is David’s only real fear, to be forsaken of God, but the last verse tells us that that is exactly what it is, a fear and never a reality.

David says, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” David acknowledges that fear is powerful, even deadly, that there are enemies, death-traps, real dangers out there, and without God he would not have made it. He would have fainted, lost heart and been defeated but because he believed that he would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, he could stand, he could face the fear, he could overcome.

Faith and Fear

I’ve been alive for 64 years now and preaching for 43 years and sometimes it seems that after all that time there aren’t any more firsts in my life. I always like to take not of the firsts of life. And today in this sermon, right now you and I are going to experience a first. (I know this kind of thing make my wife real nervous.) Today for the first time every in a sermon I am going to quote John Wayne. That right. I’m quoting the Duke because it fits right here in this contrast of David’s psalm, between fear and faith.

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway. - John Wayne

Paul of course said it better, 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

We would be foolish to deny the fear. David, as great a warrior and king as he was, never denied that he was afraid. Fear is the most powerful weapon that Satan has, and he uses it effectively. Just look at what our country and families are going through right now, most of it comes down to fear.

And we must accept that even the children of God can be affected by fear, even of   something as impossible as being  alone without God.

How do you deal with fear? First by recognizing it for what it is and what it is doing to you, confess it and then in faith put your eyes back on the Lord. Faith in the Lord is the only antidote to fear and faith in Him never fails.

Hebrews 13:5-6 “..he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Conclusion: Overcoming Fear: Wait On The Lord-  Psalm 27:14

David’s Final Faith Factor

David brings it a final faith factor, a ultimate fortress of faith in the face of fear,in the last verse. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Wait, be patient, be faithful, be hopeful, be of good courage and the Lord shall without a doubt, without fail, strengthen your fearful heart. Listen carefully, for it is so important that David must repeat it. “Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

Monday, June 20, 2022

Psalms Through the Summer #5: A Psalms for Fathers - Psalms 127

Psalms Through the Summer #5:
A Psalms for Fathers - Psalms 127

 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Introduction:  Two Different Dads

Father number 1. A Sunday School teacher watched as one little boy in his primary class came in late. He asked, “Bobby why are you so late coming to church this morning.” The little boy said, “Well sir, I wanted to go fishing today and I had all my stuff ready, but then my Dad told me I better go ahead and get to church.” The teacher sensing an opportunity for a lesson about the importance of attending church asked Bobby. “What exactly did your good father tell you this morning?” “He told me, Son go on to church, cause there ain’t enough bait for the both of us.”

Father number 2. A father was trying to teach his 5-year-old daughter the rudiments of baseball but she was not the most athletic kid on the block. After trying several times to catch a ball and only succeeding in dropping it and in getting hit in the head by the tossed ball, the dad decided to switch to hitting the ball. He showed his little girl how to hold the bat on her shoulder, then tossing the ball in the air with his other hand, then swing the bat and hit the ball. He then handed the ball and bat to his daughter, “Now you try just like I showed you.” The little girl eagerly tossed the ball into the air and took a hard swing and missed. “Try it again, sweetheart.” And she did, over and over and over not one time coming any where close to hitting the ball. Finally, after about 20 swings the little girl looked at her dad with frustration and disappointment. The Dad though was smiling and beaming as though his daughter was a female Babe Ruth. The dad placed his hands on his little girl’s shoulders, looked into her eyes and proudly said, “Princess, I think you are going to be one really great pitcher.”

We are going to try and encourage every Dad and Granddad here this morning to be the 2nd kind of Dad, encouraging, hopeful and always believing and finding the best in your child. We going to use Psalm 127 to help our Dads in the all important calling for being a father.


We have talked about the book of Psalms being a series of collections of Psalms grouped together by subject, authors, or purpose. Here starting at Psalm 120 is a new collection that extends through Psalms 134. Each lyric in this group is designated by a term variously translated “A Song of Degrees” (AV), “A Song of Ascents” (ASV), and “A Pilgrim Song.” It is thought that this is a collection of Psalms that arose as a hymnbook for pilgrims coming up to the Temple for the great feasts. – Wycliffe Commentary

Our Psalms 127 for Father’s this morning is in this collection and it is there for a reason. For it teaches a central truth and would be a reminder of that truth to the pilgrims as they made their way into Jerusalem, the city of God. That truth is central to us as well and it is expressed in the very first three words of the Psalms, “Except the Lord” As the Psalms tells us except the lord builds the house, except the Lord keeps the city, except the Lord watches our sleep, except the Lord blesses the family then all these things, indeed all of life is in vain.

Without The Lord, A Life Worth Nothing – Psalm 127:1-2

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Except The Lord…

The Psalmist here is stating a single truth but using the repetition of Hebrew poetry to drive that point home. It is a simple but vital truth, Without the Lord anything and everything you do, in the end is worth nothing.”

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it. The idea of house here is much bigger than just a building. House has the idea of a home, but also your family name, your reputation, your standing in a community, your power through your family and all those who would be protected and blessed by being in or even close to your family. Your house is the sum value of everything you try to accomplish with your life.

And here God’s word says, “Unless the Lord is the one who is the builder of your life, then all you achieve is nothing but dust, ashes, empty noise. Your life does not amount to anything when it is tallied and reckoned at the end. It is wasted, all your effort was in vain.”

Next, we are told, “except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” This is the next step up in society, from individual families that need God to build them then to societies that need God to keep them safe. The Lord must guard and keep culture and society.

Its not hard to see a parallel in our own society and cities today is it? Our mayors, city councils, congress, presidents have tried to build a new world, a new society and they have purposely pushed God outside the walls. And can’t we see the terrible results? I’m not talking about high prices of gas and groceries, I’m talking about the high price that is being paid in human beings, in pain, in sorrow, in hopelessness, in utter anarchy. In the life from Hell itself that there is no gender, or that it is okay for men and women to forsake natural love and replace it with a lust that destroys lives and families.

We don’t want God keeping our culture and watchmen are useless and today even dangerous. It is Psalm 127 tells us again and again, vain.

Vain; The Hebrew word שָׁוְא šâwe’; or שַׁו shav; it means emptiness, vanity, falsehood, nothingness, lying, and worthlessness.  

Except the Lord builds, except the Lord keeps…

Do your remember Jesus’ parable of the foolish rich man in Luke 12:16-21? “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Now look at vs 2.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Without the Lord then all you do getting up early, staying up late, worrying, fretting planning and stressing those things are also worthless. They will get you nothing. If you really want to make your efforts count, fathers, mothers, grandparents then work under God’s direction because He gives his beloved real sleep. The sleep that comes when you’ve done a good day’s, or a good life’s work and know that what you did counted, it made a difference for you family, for your child, for your house, for all those around you.

The sleep of the Lord is the sweetest, deepest and most refreshing but it is only ours if we fully trust and follow Him.

The Yoke of The Lord

Jesus gave this invitation in Matthew 11:28-30, listen closely it is the same truth we are hearing in Psalms 127, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

That is the Son of God inviting us to take on His yoke, to join Him in the work he has called us to. Part of that work, one of the most important parts of his calling, is the work you do as a parent, as a father. If you want your parenthood to count, to be worth something, even into eternity itself, then take on the yoke, join in the work and then you will have that blessed rest that comes at the end of a day and at the end of a life. That rest that only comes to the beloved of God.

Transition: Now let’s go to the contrast to these first 3 verses. Instead of a worthless life, we see a Wonderful life.

With The Lord,  A Life Worthwhile – Psalm 127:3-5

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

The Lord’s Blessings

What makes a wonderful life? What is God’s great blessing to a family? Psalms 127 says, children are God’s gift and blessing.

I know our society today sees children as a burden. Yes I’m talking about abortion and doing all that can be done to not have children. But I’m also talking about God’s people who would never have an abortion but still view children as a burden, when God’s word says they are a blessing.

Because the Lord did not keep our country, our culture one of the dangerous lies that has become accepted as truth today is that children cost us and that families can’t afford t to have them anymore. And yet right in front of us we’ve read God’s word. Children are a heritage from God. And yet in our world today we view them as a curse. No wonder they are turning out as killers, addicts and derelicts.

That world heritage in Hebrew  נַחֲלָה naḥălâ, and it means something inherited, an heirloom, a precious, prized possession. We need to quit seeing the family the way the world sees it and begin to see it through the perspective of heaven. Children are God’s gift to us and to this world. If we have our life under his direction and our families under His care, then God will provide. It will not be a burden it will be one of the Lord greatest blessings.

Jesus’s Value of Children

Three times in the Gospels we read the story of Jesus and the little children. When the apostles thought their master was too busy or too tired to have time for little ones, Jesus responded with these words. Listen and remember this is the creator of the universe speaking.

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

If you want to heaven in your life, if you want heaven in your family than Jesus said you’ll find it in the faces of your children. Of such are the kingdom of heaven.”

God’s Gifts To Fathers

Its Father’s day and here in these last verses of Psalm 127, we see God’s gifts to you fathers, they are your precious children. The Bible says they are His blessings, they are sweet fruit and His rich reward. Then, it says, in vss. 4-5 they are, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Fathers, God is speaking to you now in these verses. The word, heritage speaks of God’s blessing your marriage, fruit speaks of the fulfillment of why God created marriage, to replenish the earth and arrows speak of the future and the security of your family.

Listen again, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

I can’t read this verse without remembering a preachers’ conference I was at in Big Spring, Texas. There was a missionary there who had 14 or 15 children. He was a big advocate for large, large, large families. He even had a tract that show mathematically how Baptists could take over the United states if we all had about 10 kids each. He preached that day and used Psalm 127 as his text. The preacher who followed him only had one child, it was all God had blessed their family with. He stood in the pulpit and said, “Well I the Lord only gave us one child.” Then he looked at the missionary, smiled and said, “I guess my quiver is just not as big as yours.”

You can imagine the reaction; I personally fell on the floor I was laughing so hard.

What this scriptural promise is saying is this, Fathers, there is power in your family, there is safety, there is hope for the future no matter what enemies this world or Satan send against you. You will look the enemy in the eye as they stand outside the gate and know you will overcome them because God has blessed you, rewarded you and given you  arrows in your hand and they make you a mighty man.

 Conclusion: Final Word For Fathers

Fathers this is your day. I hope you fully enjoy it with your family, but as you enjoy this day dedicated to you, never forget “Except the Lord…”

If your life, your family, your house is going count, if it is to be worth something, then the Lord must build it, the Lord must keep it and the Lord must give the blessings. When you see your children, no matter how many you have in your quiver, see them as one of the greatest blessing God can give you in this life, because they truly are. Then seek His guidance and protection every single day to be the father, He created and called you to be.

A Father’s Prayer

Years ago now, when I was a young father and pastor, one night after I had put all my children in bed, I was overwhelmed by a feeling that I was not up to the task of being the father I needed to be. That I could not protect them from the wickedness and evil of this world. I sat at the foot of the bed of my little daughter and began to pray that the Lord supply what I so desperately lacked. Later I wrote a prayer based on that experience. I would like to share it with you as we finish today.

Dear Lord, as I sit beside the bed of my child and watch their sleep, I am overcome by the blessing you have given to me.  How can something this precious be placed in my care?  How can this beautiful creation look at me with eyes so full of admiration and wonder?  How can I live up to the task of not losing that innocent beauty to a world that seeks to destroy it?

Lord, the time I have is so limited and cluttered with demands and deadlines.  Yet when the deadlines pass, I can't remember why they were so critical.  While at my feet a child looks up and asks me to play ball or be their horsy, look at their latest crayon masterpiece or just hold them in my lap. Their Daddy is the most important thing in the world to them.  When will I realize that they must be the most important thing in all the world to me?

Lord, I know that someday they will walk away, no longer a child but a young man, a young woman.  I understand I must release them either to You or to this world. Will I have been the father you wanted me to be? Will that child see in me the loving hand, the words of wisdom, the inexhaustible love of you, their Heavenly Father?  Help me to make the time to show my children Your love for them through me.  Oh, my God if only one task I accomplish before my life is over, please let it be that my children will know You through me. I ask this in the name of your own Son. Amen - DKM 1993