I’d been out late the night before, just as I was every Saturday night. Just twenty years old, I was running from God as fast as I could. But suddenly, strangely, I felt compelled to attend the church my dad pastored. I put on my faded jeans, well-worn T-shirt, and unlaced high-tops and drove across town.
I don’t recall the sermon Dad preached that day, but I can’t forget how delighted he was to see me. With his arm over my shoulder, he introduced me to everyone he saw. “This is my son!” he proudly declared. His joy became a picture of God’s love that has stuck with me all these decades.
The imagery of God as loving Father occurs throughout the Bible. In Isaiah 44, the prophet interrupts a series of warnings to proclaim God’s message of family love. “Dear Israel, my chosen one,” he said. “I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children” (vv. 2–3
Wayward Israel belonged to God, just as I belonged to my adoptive father. Nothing I could do would ever make him lose his love for me. He gave me a glimpse of our heavenly Father’s love for us.
Heavenly Father, we all come from families that are broken in one way or another. Thank You for loving us in that brokenness and for showing us what real love looks like.
God’s love for us offers us the sense of belonging and identity we all crave.
In addition to the imagery found in Isaiah 44, we see other examples in Scripture of God as our Father. In the Old Testament, God is called the Father of Israel, not on a personal basis but as a nation. When God delivered the nation from slavery in Egypt, God declared that Israel is His “firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22). Moses reminded the Jews about to enter the Promised Land that Yahweh the Lord is their Father (Deuteronomy 32:6). God Himself said He is “Israel’s father” (Jeremiah 31:9). Because of their sins, Isaiah warned that the nation would go into exile (Isaiah 5:13). Then crying to Yahweh to restore them to the Promised Land, the Israelites said, “Surely you are still our Father!” (63:16
In the New Testament, the Christian faith is a love relationship couched in the most basic of all human relationships—a father and child. Those who believe in Jesus are called children of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1). The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11–31 is a picture of our loving and forgiving heavenly Father welcoming His wayward children into His arms.
Indeed He is “still our Father!” Have you come home to your Father?