Monday, March 21, 2011

Portrait of a Faithful Father

The book of Fourth Maccabees (a Jewish book from around the time of Jesus) gives a powerful portrait of a faithful father. In context, the mother of sons who had died for allegiance to their faith, reflects on her husband’s work in training their sons:

A happy man was he, who lived out his life with good children, and did not have the grief of bereavement. While he was still with you, he taught you the law and the prophets. He read to you about Abel slain by Cain, and Isaac who was offered as a burnt offering, and of Joseph in prison.He told you of the zeal of Phineas, and he taught you about Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael in the fire. He praised Daniel in the den of the lions and blessed him. He reminded you of the scripture of Isaiah, which says, `Even though you go through the fire, the flame shall not consume you.' He sang to you songs of the psalmist David, who said, `Many are the afflictions of the righteous.' He recounted to you Solomon's proverb, `There is a tree of life for those who do his will.' He confirmed the saying of Ezekiel, `Shall these dry bones live?' For he did not forget to teach you the song that Moses taught, which says, `I kill and I make alive: this is your life and the length of your days.'" (4 Maccabees 18:9b-19)

Fathers, let us teach the Scriptures to and sing the Psalms with our families, leading them to trust in God that they might live and die faithfully. (Ephesians 6:4).

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