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The Importance of Dad

There was a long period of silence following God’s messages to the Old Testament prophets.

Malachi was the last prophet to convey God’s words to the people of Israel, and the Messiah was not born for some 400 years after that. In the last verses of the book of Malachi, God gave closing instructions―His final words before He went silent.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6, ESV).

These last words involved the relationship between dads and their children. God could have chosen to talk about the impending birth of Jesus Christ, the problems with Israel’s leaders or priests, or the coming Roman takeover of Israel. But no―God chose to talk about dads and their kids. He said that preparation for the arrival of the day of the Lord must involve turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.

In God’s final words before He went silent, He chose to talk about dads and their kids. Click To Tweet

Four hundred years later, the angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah to tell him of the coming birth of his son who would be John the Baptist. In Luke 1:16-17, the angel says of John, “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and the power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (ESV).

Clearly, it was the Lord’s intent to remind Zechariah―and all of us―of the importance of the relationship between fathers and their children. The fact that it is stated twice, both in Malachi and in Luke, should get our attention. This matters to God.

Why is this so important? God says in Malachi 4 that the restoration of fathers to their children is the starting place to properly prepare for the arrival and reception of Jesus. Could the Lord be saying that a right relationship between a father and his child prepares the child’s heart for the work of Jesus in his or her life?

Could the Lord be saying that a right relationship between a father and his child prepares the child’s heart for the work of Jesus in his or her life? Click To Tweet

When I was a child, I noticed that if my dad and I weren’t getting along, I had less motivation to succeed. I had more of a desire to rebel, sin, do dumb things, make bad decisions, or simply not care. I needed Dad’s approval. I needed to know that he loved me. And if I didn’t have his approval, or if I doubted his love for me, I would feel purposeless.

A dad has a big influence on his child, and God stated for us just how important this is. A child’s ability to receive Jesus has a lot to do with his or her relationship with Dad. Men, you are being watched, and you play an important role in your child’s mental, emotional, and even spiritual development. So what do you want your children to see?

Brad Smith
Brad Smith is the executive director of Men of Valor International.

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