Genesis 3:8-15

 

The fact that 40% of children born in the United States today are born to single mothers is frightening.  Think of what men are doing to Fathers’ Day with that awful statistic.  Isn’t it awful that it is possible for 40% of biological fathers today to be trashing this day in their children’s minds…violating this day…ruining this day…making a debacle of this day?

 

But no matter how bad earthly fathers may be in some cases, everyone can and does have a heavenly Father who is perfect.  There is nothing wrong with our heavenly Father.  Nothing wrong with the ultimate concept of Father in the phrase “Father’s Day.”  

 

The reading for today comes from Genesis 3.  This is the interaction between God the Father and his first children.  It was one of the first Father’s Days.  On the basis of this first interaction between Father and children in the world, let’s think about….

 

OUR FATHER’S WAY (AND DAY)

1. He wants to know where we are

2. He wants to know what we have done

3. He wants us to know who he is

 

1. He wants to know where we are

“Where are you?”  It used to be that in the late evenings television would ask the question, “It’s ten o’clock.  Do you know where your children are?”  Times have changed.  Maybe parents don’t care any more where their children are.  Surely some do!  Those who are true fathers on Father’s Day still care where their children are.

 

So the Father’s question stands there in the reading, “Where are you?”  He asked the question of his first children.  He cared where they were.  Your heavenly Father cares where you are too.  It isn’t just that God can’t find you.  He can.  It is that he wants you to answer his question…just where am I?  The question isn’t for him to answer but for you.  Today, on this Father’s Day.  Where are you?

 

These first children of his were naked.  It makes a special point of saying that.  Children sometimes are in the habit of taking off their clothes.  It wasn’t like that for the first children, Adam and Eve.  They didn’t need clothing.  There was nothing shameful or sinful to cover.  So far as our heavenly Father and we are concerned we still are without covering.  Our God in heaven---our Father---sees everything about us.  You can pull the wool over the eyes of your earthly father.  It is easy to do that.  But you can’t do this with your heavenly Father.  He sees everything.  And he wants you to know he sees.  So where are you in life?  The answer to that question is: I can hide nothing in my life from my heavenly Father because he sees everything.  Adam and Eve stood naked before their Father in shame.  They had sinned and rebelled and disobeyed.  God saw it all.

So where are we then?  How do we think of that question as God poses it to us this day?  In relation to our Father in heaven we too would be looking for bushes to hide behind.  But when God our Father today asks, “Where are you?” we can also say, “We are still here as your children.  That’s where we are.  We are still dependent on your finding us.  Here we are!  We are still dependent on your presents of life and health and food and clothing and children…every day.  Do you know where you are?  You are in God’s care and love.  That’s where you are.  You are still in this relationship of having him as your Father.  He isn’t “out of here” when we miss or mess or muss.  It isn’t good to have your Father find you naked and in trouble.  But aren’t you glad he still cares?  And aren’t you glad he knows where you are and still comes to you with his question so you can answer it?

 

2. He wants to know what we have done

And fathers---all fathers who are good and love their children---want to know what the children are doing and what they have done.  Surely children live with this thought.  On this Father’s Day we can all remember times when we did things that we hoped our fathers wouldn’t find out about.  There was a reason why we didn’t want them to know what we had done.  

 

God the first and only Father wanted to know what his children Adam and Eve had done.  So he asked them questions.  He asked, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  He asked again, “What is this you have done?”  And finally, because of what he “found out” they had done, he said the terrible words, “Because you have done this…”

 

It isn’t just that God wants to know what we have done.  He knows that already.  In the class of fathers---all fathers---he alone knows everything his children have done.  And on this world’s Father’s Day, human fathers are very glad that they don’t have to know every single thing their children have done.  This is a blessing that God gives to earthly fathers which he himself does not enjoy.  He knew all things in Adam’s and Eve’s life.  He knows everything you have done too.  And as the question goes to find out where his children are, so goes the question to find out what they have done.  He makes this obvious and deliberate tour to come to his children with the question, “What is this you have done?”  

 

You and I can’t know our Father if we don’t know what we have done…and how it affects us and affects him and that we have done it!  So we own it.  We confess it.  Our worship is about that.  We come here to tell God once more what it is we have done.  What is this I have done?  The Prodigal did something.  It had consequences.  It was in the face of what he had done, that he came back home.  The father in the parable could see what it was his son had done.  He ran toward what he had done.  He had come back home.  He had torn his heart and not his garment.

 

But even more important than the question, “What have I done to my Father in heaven?” is the question “What has my heavenly Father done for me?”  And we know the answer to that question.   We know what he has done and what he still does.   He runs to meet us on the crooked road of our return.  He embraces us with his love, never mind the grime and grit.  He makes feasts of blessings for us.  He sets up his banquet for us in the very presence of our enemies.  He takes care of the bully devil who has hurt us all.  He cares for us and listens to us and helps us.  He heals us from our infirmities.  

 

And he sent us Jesus in full view of what we have done.  He loved us so much that he gave us Jesus!  Jesus brings us back into the family.  Jesus keeps us in the family.  Jesus makes it possible for us to be in the family of God and to call him Father.  Jesus is the one who teaches us about our Father.  Jesus is the one who has taught us all to pray, “Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

 

3. He wants us to know who he is

So on this Father’s Day, know that your heavenly Father wants to know where you are and what you have done.  He also wants you to know who he is.

 

“Cursed are you…You will crawl…I will put enmity…I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing…(your husband) will rule over you…cursed is the ground because of you…for dust you are and to dust you will return.”   That was the conversation the Heavenly Father---our Father too---had with his first children.  That is what is still pertinent to us today too.  Our Father is still the Father who can’t stand wrong and bad.  He gets vehement.  He uses the “c” word…cursed!

 

Our Father in heaven hasn’t changed.  He wants us to know this about him.  His word hasn’t changed.  So on Father’s Day we don’t give him a new and revised edition of the Bible…of his word and way and day.  The Father doesn’t change either.  He is the same Father in heaven we had last year.  He is the same father who peered over the bassinet and saw us in the hospital nursery.  He is the same father who will one day come to the visitation and see us there in our finery and casket and rejoice that he was able with Jesus to get us beyond the terrible state of death.

 

Your and my hope on Father’s Day doesn’t come in our ability to somehow change our heavenly Father and have him loosen up a little bit…get a little lighter.  That is not our hope.  That won’t happen.  Our Father refuses to desensitized to evil.  (Aren’t you even glad that with “change and decay in all around I see” that your Father who abides with you doesn’t change?)  You can’t read Genesis 3 and not know that.   Don’t stand on the lightning rod in a lightning storm.  Don’t dance on it.  Don’t plant your feet on it and cross your arms on it.  Don’t let someone lure you onto the lightning rod in the lightning storm.  The “curse” words in our text tell us not to do this on Father’s Day…or any day (because they are all our Father’s days, come to think of it).

 

Your Father loves you on this day as never before.  He who hasn’t changed and won’t change still loves you the same.  He gives you the present on this Father’s Day!  He so loves you (still!) that he gives his one and only Son.  He finds you where you are.  He knows what you have done…even here this morning when you came to worship him and thank him…and love him.  He gives you Jesus and his Spirit.  He says, “Stay with these children of mine.”  He says, “Make it quick!  Get them here with me.  Make my day.  Bring my children home!  Amen.