Weekly Sabbath Survey
God the Daddy — 11-23-13
The word translated ‘father’ in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word ‘abba.’ It is not a formal name for the male parent, but rather a more familiar word that a small child would use. In Israel today, this word is still used by children as we might use the name “Daddy.” Not the more formal, “Father.” It is a word revealing the child’s close relationship with and love for their male parent. Southern children up to my generation called their parents “Mama” and “Daddy” right through their adult lives. Somewhere along the way we had children and now grandchildren who have graduated up to the names “Dad” and “Mom.” I still prefer the other, but we have to go with change sometimes even when we think the change isn’t necessarily for the good. To me, there was a sweet old fashioned charm and certain kind of trust and respect conveyed with “Daddy” and “Mama” that the shorter nick names don’t seem to imply. Like Mom and Dad are our pals rather than our parents. But, maybe that’s just me.
I want to think of Almighty God the Daddy (not the ‘Father’) as one I can trust as I did my Daddy when I was very young. I loved him so, and wanted so much to please him, to find approval with him. I am certain now as an aging adult that God is all that and more to me. His love for me is never in question as it was at times with my human Daddy. I have never felt misunderstood by God nor rejected by Him. He has been disappointed by me several times, even angry with me a few times. But His anger never turned to rejection or rage as a human parent might do. I always knew He was right there with me wanting and allowing the best for me even with the circumstances such that I was not living the way He requires us to do. Looking back to those tough times, I see myself as a spoiled and unthankful child in need of a ‘time out’ rather than a misguided and wayward adult that God must correct and/or punish. Being little again in my own mind helped me to repent and pray to grow in recovery into a more mature behavior of that ‘weaned child’ David spoke of in reference of himself.
I have a good example in a childhood experience with my Daddy that I can relate to when I want to think of myself as a little child again, imagining myself walking along with The King of the Universe, who happens to be my Daddy. Here’s the story:
The only thing I remember clearly of that evening was my family arriving at a spot out in the country from Amarillo where we were attending a rodeo. I was not quite 5 years old at the time. My sister, Mackie, was about 3. We were walking along in the dirt parking lot toward the lights of a big arena. It was dark close to the ground and there were clods and hardened ruts made by cars after it had rained and the ground dried. Mackie and I were stumbling along and I fell. As Daddy picked me up, I asked him to carry me. He said he couldn’t carry us both, but put his hands at his sides and extended a forefinger to us on either side. He said, “Hold on to my finger real tight and you won’t fall.” His finger was so big my little hand barely reached around it. But I grabbed ahold and felt so close to him and safe in the semi-darkness. He was tall and could see all the way to the arena, while I was limited to the shadows between the cars. I could see the arena lights in the night sky and hear the announcer on the loud speaker as he was welcoming the crowd and telling what was about to happen. Now and then there would be a horse neighing or a cow bawling. Mama had been telling us about the rodeo for days and I was filled with excitement and eager to get to the stands. I don’t remember being seated, or seeing any bucking horses or cowboys roping, or anything else. I’m certain Mackie and I went to sleep and were carried back to the car by Mama and Daddy. Daddy always carried me, because I was older and heavier than my petite little sister. I always felt safe in his arms.
I hope this story from my childhood paints a picture in your mind of our heavenly Daddy and what He does for us. Picture yourself as a small child in a strange and semi-dark world. With the lights of glory visible just a short walk ahead, and the Voice of God calling out to the crowd. You are going along with the family but when you need something more, He is there to extend His mighty large forefinger (the one that wrote the Ten Commandments!) for you to hold on to; and in the event you need to be carried, He will do that, too. He loves us with such a love it makes our earthly parents pale by comparison. He is the ultimate Daddy, making it up to us for everything wrong that happened to us our whole life. And He sends His Holy Spirit as the El Shaddai female expression of Himself. In that role He is our nurse, teacher, advisor, cheerleader, comforter, and friend. The “Mama” we still need in this life.
Listen to Me! I have created you and cared for you since before you were born. I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your savior. Isaiah 46:3-4