The Character of God as Father Pt 7 — The Parent Who Wants You to be a Success

 

From the beginning,God has set His children up for success and not failure.  Oddly enough, that is exactly the opposite of what Christianity has taught us.

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“God gave the Jews the law to prove that they could not keep it so that they would see they need Jesus.”

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But I ask you, really, because Yeshua (Jesus) said that the Father is good and only gives good gifts (Luke 18:19, Mark 10:18, Matt 7:11, Luke 11:13) and we know that Yeshua would never lie, and on top of that we know that Yeshua is the very image, the earthly representation of the Father’s character — would Yeshua set people up with a no win scenario?  If not, then neither would the Father.  I am not going to go deeply into this as I have already established this truth in part 1 of this series, but it needs to be mentioned over and over again.

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In the garden, God told Adam exactly what he needed to do in order to succeed, guard the garden and don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and He gave the consequences.  As I have covered before, this would have kept the serpent out of the garden and there would have been no deception or rebellion.  God set Adam and Eve up for success, and not failure. This is no different than the sort of instructions we give our own children, “Be sure to do this, or this consequence will happen.”  That they do not believe us does not mean that we have not prepared them for success, it just means that they didn’t take us seriously enough.   I know every parent can relate to this.

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But now I want to move on to the story of Cain, because how God deals with Cain shows us a lot about the kind of Father God is.  Genesis 4 give us the story of how God dealt with both Cain and Abel.

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And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

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A few verses backwards, we see that Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted but Abel’s was.  Now the offering was not a sin offering, but a minchah, which means “gift.”  It is the same word used when Jacob sent all those animals ahead to Esau, and when Jacob sent gifts (unknowingly) to Joseph in Egypt.  And it is perfectly fine to send whatever is honorable for a human to a human, but God has specific rules for what He finds acceptable.   Think of it this way, if the Queen of England is allergic to strawberries and you send her a bushel, when she has said, “Don’t send me strawberries!” is that going to be acceptable to her? God is no different in this respect, except He has no allergies, and His likes and dislikes are found throughout the Torah, the first five books of the bible.

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Abel’s offering was a recognition that from the beginning, the firstlings belonged to God and had to be sacrificed to Him.

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Num 18:17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the Lord.

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An offering from the field was perfectly acceptable IF if was offered in accordance with Lev 2.  So what we have here isn’t a case of God only being satisfied with blood — in fact, it is the aroma that is said to please God (for more information, read Leviticus 1-5 in order to see this repeated over and over again).   Now, I don’t know if Cain was offering up unprocessed grain instead of fine flour, or vegetables, as the text does not specify — but I do know that since Abel knew exactly what to do and did it, well, so did Cain.  Cain could have taken his grain, made flour of it, and offered it up in such a way as to be absolutely as acceptable as Abel’s gift. There was nothing unfair in this situation.

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So what was God’s response?  Interestingly, we see no insults or criticism.  “Why are you angry Cain?  Why are you going around looking so gloomy?  Won’t I accept you if you do what is right?”  So right here we have an accurate assessment of Cain being in the wrong, but also ENCOURAGEMENT and a PROMISE.  By telling Cain that he will be accepted if He simply obeys, God is setting him up for success.  Now, if we had not seen Abel obeying a specific Torah commandment regarding the firstling of the flock, we would have reason to expect that God had not made His commandments absolutely clear, but evidently He did.  He set the boys up for success, but Cain wanted to do things in his own way.

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We see this pattern throughout the book of Exodus, where God clearly establishes commandments with the Israelites (who had been living in Egypt for so long as slaves that they no longer knew how to be pleasing to God) BEFORE holding them accountable to keeping them.  In fact, we see this pattern from beginning to end, instruction before accountability.  God, like the perfect Father He is, set them up for success and not failure. There are no incidents in scripture where He holds His children responsible for what they do not know is right and wrong.  That doesn’t mean they didn’t mess up, but it means they were prepared to be corrected because they knew what was wrong in the first place.  Unlike Ninevah, who did not know the difference between right and wrong, but when Jonah preached (taught), they responded and were saved from destruction.

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God sets us up for success by establishing relationship and the giving of expectations.  He also did this with Abraham.  Abraham of course was the son of an idolater from Ur, and as he walked with God he  “obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. (Gen 26:5)”  God did not demand circumcision on day 1, but instead formed a relationship based on trust, which inspired increasing levels of obedience and greater and greater expectations.  Abraham walked with God 24 years before God felt he was ready for circumcision, for that heightened level of covenant.

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We see the exact same situation with the Gentiles pouring in to the first century assembly of believers.  The Acts 15 council responded to the circumcision group (probably Essenes, an ultra-orthodox sect of Judaism that pushed circumcision, then baptism and then the learning of the commandments) by pointing out that

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10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

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No one in scripture was ever, ever expected to behave perfectly righteously without instruction.  Not Adam and Eve, not Abraham, not anyone.  In fact, in the wilderness, did you know that Moses never circumcised anyone?  Not the entire 40 years.  Why?  Simple — because God was following His established pattern of relationship, followed by instruction in righteousness, followed by increasing accountability in covenant.  The children who would inherit the promise were learning, year after year, to trust and obey God as their Father and King so that when they entered the Land, they would be ready for the responsibility of conquering the evil in the Land and replacing it with righteousness.  This is why one of the first acts we see in Joshua 5:5 is the circumcision of every single male — not only the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but also the descendants of the mixed multitude who came up out of Eqypt with them – FORMER Gentiles (but now citizens of the commonwealth of Israel as per Ephasians 2) who had willingly chosen to follow the God of the Hebrews.

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Relationship, instruction, accountability.  Just like a good parent with a baby.  The first year is all about relationship, establishing trust and being the nurturer, and then as the baby starts crawling and toddling, appropriate rules start cropping up as needed.  As the child grows, the number of rules grow as well, as does the responsibility to obey them.  Hopefully, by the time the child becomes an adult, they know how to be loving, law-abiding citizens — keeping the laws not because they are oppressive, but because they see them as guidelines to protect people from each other.  But it was all established on that trust formed in infancy, and as a toddler, and built upon in youth and cemented as teens.  If the parent set the child up for success, by being trustworthy, by being fair and appropriate, then it makes it a whole lot easier for the child to make, and to want to make good life choices (but it in no way guarantees them).  But if the parent was untrustworthy, unfair and inappropriate, then it makes it a whole lot easier for the child to make the wrong choices, or to not want to try at all.

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The attitude of the parent is everything, and so how does that relate to us as parents?  Are we success focused in a Kingdom way, or in a worldly way?  The Kingdom way sets up a child for righteousness, for success according to God’s terms, and is positive yet firm.  The worldly way is based in negatives, criticism, it is demanding from the get go, it is unyielding and crushing, it is fear based and full of scorn and looks upon failure as a dead end, and not only a dead end, but unnecessary.  The Kingdom way is interested in progress towards perfection, the worldly way is interested in perfection now — and too many believers grew up that way.  It colored their perception of what they read in scriptures, obscuring the truth that a good Father is interested in the journey, while too many human fathers have their eyes on the destination and so they are more prone to see what falls short than whether today’s fruit is slightly better than yesterday’s fruit.

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The worldly father is a glutton, greedily desiring to eat of the tree of their child’s success.  Our eternal Father desires instead, that the world will eat of the tree of their child’s success.  Because the worldly father is focused on self, there is no patience, whereas our Heavenly Father is focused on the Kingdom, and can therefore afford to be patient.  The worldly father is all about outward appearances, but our Heavenly Father is more interested in the internals which lead to true prosperity on the outside.  Prosperity isn’t about fame, and money and “bling” — true prosperity is about relationships.  It’s about living in harmony with God and His people, through cooperation with the two greatest commandments, upon which all the Torah hangs in eternal connection.

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Prosperity is found in loving God and loving people, and to paraphrase Bill Cloud — God’s laws without a relationship are legalism, but relationship without laws is simply rebellion.  Everyone has boundaries, and God sets us up for success through teaching us His.

Walking in the Light  Copyright Darlene Dine, reproduction without permission is prohibited
Walking in the Light
Copyright Darlene Dine, reproduction without permission is prohibited
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3 Comments


  1. Amen and amen, love it! The new file looks awesome too 🙂

    Reply

    1. I have your painting sitting on my dresser at the moment, drying — I took it out of the wrapper after you warned me 🙂

      Reply

    2. I ought to take it to Hobby Lobby to have one of those frames made you told me about

      Reply

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