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God’s Desire to Restore Fatherhood



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Fatherhood is central to the story of God.

This is an excerpt from Louie Giglio’s book Seeing God as a Perfect Father.

We see this in the connection between the last words of the first section of Scripture (what we call the Old Testament) and the first words of the section that begins with the story of Jesus’ birth (the New Testament).

As the Old Testament comes to a close, God’s people were stuck in their stubborn, sinful ways. God’s love and grace and leadership were constantly available to them, but more often than not they chose to go it alone, figuring things out in their own wisdom. They had mostly left behind their idols by this point, but they were not honoring the ways of God or trusting in His faithful character. They were stingy in their gifts toward God’s house of worship and dishonest in their dealing with Him, as if He didn’t fully know their hearts.

Everything was a mess, yet God still had a redemption plan. In spite of their rebellion, God still loved His people and wanted the best for them. But apparently God was through with their rebuffs. His people weren’t listening, and God stopped talking. Between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament, there are four hundred years of history with no recorded message from God.

When we take a copy of Scripture in our hands, it only takes the turn of a page to move from the prophecy of Malachi to Matthew’s gospel. Yet that single page turn represents four centuries of silence. Four hundred years where there was no prophet. No promise. Nothing.

But have you ever noticed what the last words of the Old Testament recorded in Scripture are? What message did God leave with His people right before He went silent for four centuries?

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:5–6, emphasis added).

How incredible! The Old Testament ends with a promise underscoring God’s desire to restore fatherhood, making right the relationships between children and their fathers. He wants to reconnect the hearts of fathers to their children and reposition children under the waterfall of their father’s blessing.

In the broader sense, God is seeking to reestablish His future people in a right understanding of Himself and His ways. Yet in a more specific sense God wants us to realize that He is working (even through the silence) to make it possible for us to know Him as Abba Father.

In these closing words from Malachi, we see both a promise and a cause for us to pause. The promise is that God is not going to experience a work stoppage just because the people stopped listening to Him. His plans will remain on track. His mission will not be thwarted.

But we also see a warning in these words. God is assuring us that our rebellion will not go unchecked forever. He wants us to know that the wrath of a holy God is coming. Yet don’t miss this—God is merciful and kind. The fiery justice of His righteousness doesn’t have to be our end.

How do we know God is merciful and kind? After four hundred years of nothing, the lingering silence of heaven was broken by the cry of a baby in Bethlehem, because this is what God had to say next…

God Starts Talking Again

Imagine how eager the angel was who got the assignment to declare to the shepherds that a Savior had been born nearby during the night. For centuries there had been no messenger, but now the announcement that would change history was made: “A Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

Actually, a few angel visits had taken place in the months leading up to Jesus’ birth. The angel Gabriel appeared to a man named Zechariah promising the birth of John the Baptist. The angel told Zechariah that his son, John, would have a favored role in the story of God. John was going to prepare the way for Jesus by calling people to change their ways and turn to the Lord. And he was also going to do something else:

And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17, emphasis added)

We see that through John, God was fulfilling the last words of the Old Testament.

In the first chapter of the New Testament, God is shown keeping His promise and preparing a way for the hearts of fathers to change, making a way to restore the relationship between fathers and children. Making a way for your heart to change and a way to bring healing between you and your earthly father. Why? Because fatherhood matters to God. It matters so much because ultimately, He’s making a way to bring healing between you and your heavenly Father. 

Malachi’s prophetic words come true as Jesus comes to earth, God in human skin. Jesus didn’t just come to do some good works and heal those with diseases. He wasn’t on earth just to walk on water and raise His buddy Lazarus from the dead. Jesus came to die, to do what no other person ever born could do. Born of a virgin and without sin, Jesus lived obedient to the Father so that He could exchange His innocent life for yours. In so doing, He canceled your debt of sin and death and offered you the gift of never-ending life.

This is the glorious gospel story that fuels this book and everything else about the Christian message. And this heavenly exchange offers you a fatherhood possibility that is almost beyond comprehension. You may be thinking, I appreciate that Jesus gave His life so I could be forgiven and have peace with God, but what does that have to do with what happened between me and my dad? Sometimes we get all tangled up in our family tree, and we fail to see the primacy of the tree that is the cross of Calvary and the vital connection between the two. 

Think of it this way: Jesus willingly took on all the wrong of every one of us on the cross. That means God transferred all of our wrong—and all of your dad’s wrong—onto the blameless life of His Son. Once that happened, Jesus bore the guilt of our sinful ways, and thus He bore the weight of God’s wrath that we deserved. Remember that Scripture says Jesus was “pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). The significance of the baby’s birth, which broke centuries of silence, that I want you to see is this: When Jesus chose to die on that cross, He was forsaken by His Father so that you would never have to live a day without a father’s blessing. He was forsaken by His heavenly Father so that you would never have to be forsaken by God. Jesus accomplished the work on the cross to give you a new family tree.

And this new family tree changes everything.

This is an excerpt from Louie Giglio’s Seeing God as a Perfect Father. Click here to grab a copy of this special resource.

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Scripture References

  • Malachi 4:5–6
  • Luke 2:11
  • Luke 1:17
  • Isaiah 53:5
Louie Giglio

Global Pastor

Louie Giglio Louie Giglio is the Visionary Architect and Director of the Passion Movement, comprised of Passion Conferences, Passion City Church, Passion Publishing and sixstepsrecords, and the founder of Passion Institute.