Text: Deuteronomy 8:1-10
I. It is not arbitrarily that God is referred to as our Father and we His children
A. After the wandering in the wilderness, God told them they endured hardship because He was treating as a father would treat his children.
B. We can learn from God what is expected of fathers by examining His example.
II. A father provides
A. I Timothy 5:8 - A man must provide for his own family
B. God took care of the Israelites while they wandered in the wilderness - Deuteronomy 8:3-4
1. He made sure they were fed, clothed, and eventually brought them to a productive land.
C. But that care came even while Israel misbehaved - Matthew 5:45
1. God wants His children to obey
2. But even while He was punishing them for their disobedience, He still provided them manna, and kept their clothing from wearing out.
D. But we do the same with our own children. Long before they are able to obey, we provide them with food, clothing and shelter.
1. As they grow, we demand obedience of them
2. But we still make sure they are cared for while they are learning to obey
III. A child’s heart must be tested
A. As God led Israel through the wilderness, God keep the people in a humble position and even, at times, let them go hungry to test them - Deuteronomy 8:2-3
1. God could have provided them so much more.
2. He could have given them every luxury imaginable
3. But He led them through a desert, letting them do without some things so as to see what was in their hearts.
B. People will sometimes complain that a loving God should remove all sorrow, struggles, and pain from the world.
1. But a loving father would actually fail his children if he made life too easy for them.
2. Hebrews 12:5-8
C. People need challenges in order to grow - James 1:2-4
1. Not overwhelming challenges, but ones that exercise our abilities.
2. That is why a father who wants his children to grow well will given them chores, demand accountability from them, not give them everything he might be able to provide, and at times make them face tough choices.
3. In other words, you don’t get good, mature adults by bribing them or eliminating problems for them or giving them everything you can.
D. In order to know a child’s heart, you have to see how they handle difficulties.
IV. Respect is earned
A. Because God had provide for their necessities and had disciplined them in the wilderness, God demanded that the people obey and respect Him - Deuteronomy 8:6
B. Everyone wants respect, fathers included, but too often the respect is demanded with it being earned.
1. Do not provoke your children - Colossians 3:21
2. Give them the correction they need - Hebrews 12:9
V. Success is the goal
A. It is easy in the day-to-day struggles to lose sight of what we are striving for.
B. God’s goal was to bring His people to Canaan - Deuteronomy 8:7-10
1. The things the people endured were necessary to bring them to that point
2. And in a position where they could enjoy the rewards
C. Faithful fathers view the raising of their children in the same way
1. They make the children do chores to teach them a work ethic that will carry them through life.
2. They demand obedience because they know the child must transfer that obedience to God.
VI. Temptation will be a problem
A. God warned His children that even after they succeeded there would still be danger - Deuteronomy 8:18-19
B. It is a father’s duty to teach about the hazards ahead - Ephesians 6:4
C. Life can be rough and there is only so much you can do to get a child ready.
D. The minor hardships, the tests and discipline fathers give their children get them ready to overcome greater hardships on their own.
E. Have you ever wondered why God didn’t relieve Paul of his hardships? - II Corinthians 12:7-10
1. Often the best answer is to let a child struggle with the realities of life
2. Too many parents rescue their child from every difficulty. The result is a spoiled brat and not a mature adult
VII. Honor your father and mother
A. You might not have the best parents in the world. They might have failed on several occasions and in several ways.
B. But despite their failings, we are still commanded to give them honor for giving us what they did - Ephesians 6:1-3
C. Understand that some things we might interpret as failings might have actually done us good in the long run.
D. The heavenly Father deserves all our honor and more - Hebrews 12:28-29
1. He doesn’t fail us.
2. Though we might not understand why we struggle at the moment, we can trust that God has our best interest at heart.