Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Imitating the Perfect Father
As we are in search of a model for parenting, it's easy to dismiss God as a role model, because the Son He sent was perfect. We see in the relationship between the Father and the Son, perfect obedience, perfect mutual regard, perfect mutual respect, perfect joy, but we don't see how to get there.
However, God has another 'son', Israel. Throughout the Scriptures, God calls His people both son and daughter, and if we observe His dealings with them, we can see a pattern for parenting.
God brought His people out of Egypt as an infant. The first thing He did with them when they were clear of danger was to give them the Law and the Feasts - boundaries and celebrations. We understand the boundaries thing. We are continually clarifying and enforcing boundaries for our young children. They keep our children safe and train them in civilized behavior.
But celebrations are a striking innovation. What do regular celebrations accomplish in the life of a family? Well, in the case of Israel, celebrations reminded them of the good things God had done for them, of the adventures they had had together. Celebrations made being "at home" with God a place of rest, of feasting, of joy. When Israel was sent into exile in Babylon, it was the feasts' passing that made the people particularly homesick for both their land and their God.
Celebrations were God's recipe for homesickness. Hmmm...more about this next time.