WHAT IS GOD LIKE?

 #3 THE ULTIMATE FATHER

The Bible presents God as the ultimate Father.

He is called 'a father to the fatherless' (Psalm 68:5). God pictures himself as a father teaching his child to walk: 'It was I who taught Israel to walk, taking them by the arms' (Hosea 11:3), and as a person finding an abandoned, new-born baby and caring for and adopting it (Ezekiel 16:4-7).

These images tell us of the tender, compassionate care that God has for us, a compassion that knows and understands our frailty and our need. As we read in Psalm 103:13-14: 'As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him, for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.'

Jesus Christ, revealing the Father nature of God to us, told a story about a father's love [Luke 15:11-32]. We call this story 'The Prodigal Son', but last century Helmut Thielicke aptly renamed it 'The Waiting Father'. In this parable a father's love reaches beyond all cultural expectation, and beyond the foolish, sinful selfishness of a wayward son, forgiving his sin, covering his degradation, and welcoming him home.

This overwhelming, incredible, unexpected love of the father pulsates with joy at the son's return.

Even so, the Father heart of God waits with expectant longing for our return to him, and when we come, there is joy, unbounded joy, at our coming.

We are loved, we are wanted, we are welcomed, we are embraced, we are forgiven, we are celebrated by God, the ultimate Father.

 It is to this God, this ultimate Father, that we are to address our prayers [Matthew 6:9], and it is this the ultimate and most loving of fathers, whose love and mercy we are to image in our lives [Matthew 5:43-48; Ephesians 5:1-2].