Skip to content

Fathers’ love

by on September 20, 2012

We often dwell on the love of a mother for her children (and rightly so). The bible has a lot to say about a mother’s love. But it also paints a very special picture of what the love of a father can be. So I want to look at some fathers in the bible, over the next few blog posts. Fathers who loved their children dearly. Partly, it is a challenge to all the dads out there (myself included), but above a beyond that, let’s look for a deeper appreciation of the love of the greatest Father in the bible – God Himself. In all the things that we will look at, it is Christ in all the scriptures – everything we think about in terms of Fathers and sons tells us something about God the Father and His only Son.



We have looked at Abraham in some detail already on SotL – and some of those things will crop up today, inevitably. But I want to just think about him today as a father. Take the time to dwell on the verses below.

The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.”
(Genesis 21:1-6 ESV)

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
(Genesis 22:1-6 ESV)

Abraham gave all he had to Isaac.
(Genesis 25:5 ESV)

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”… He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well… But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

(Rom 4:3, 11, 23-25 ESV)


Here was the son that Abraham had waited all his life for, the promised one. What must the love of Abraham for his son have been like?! It must have been fierce! I don’t think we can fully appreciate what that would be like, unless we’ve been in a situation where the fulfilment of that desire is withheld for a long time. Great love, and yet – one of the most shocking images of scripture is of Abraham walking up that mountain with his son.

The sacrifice of Isaac. Take your son, your only son, who you love. And offer him. The love of a father for a son is one of the first times that love is explicitly dealt with in the bible. That is no coincidence, as we will see. Isaac is a picture of Christ here (as the one who went to altar and came back alive – that is just what Jesus did at Calvary), but also stands in contrast to Him. Isaac went to the altar with his father in silence and obedience (though he must have had questions in his heart) to fulfil God’s will. He came away from the altar because God provided an alternative way – God stayed the knife of Abraham, provided Himself a lamb. In a sense, Abraham received Isaac back from the dead because He had already decided to give him up in subjection to God’s will – though Abraham trusted God so much in this matter that he believed He would have brought Isaac back from the dead, literally. That was the man’s faith. A father, trusting in the greater Father.

There was no alternative, no other way, for God’s own Son. There was no holding back the blade, the sword of judgement at Calvary (Zech 13:7). The lamb provided in place of Isaac had it’s ultimate fulfilment in Christ, who went to the cross and died after taking the full weight of God’s punishment for sin. He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He rose again and ascended to the place He came from – His Father’s side. God received back to Himself His Son. What joy there must have been in the heart of God, receiving His only Son who He loved, the work of the cross completed forever!

Abraham must have loved his son Isaac something fierce. Just echoes of the love of the Great Father for the Son. One other thing about Abraham as a father. The new testament refers to him as the father of all who trust God. Abraham trusted God, and God counted it as righteousness. That is an extremely important biblical principal. Abraham wasn’t righteous, wasn’t perfect, on his own merit. And in ourselves we can never be truly righteous. But we can be like Abraham – we can trust God. And when we put our trust in Him (whether for the first time, or day by day as disciples), He will look on us as righteous – He will count our faith in Him as righteousness. Not because of what we have done, but because of what Jesus has done for us.

One Comment

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Fathers’ love (4) « searching out the land

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: