Abba, Father


Mark 14:32-36, Romans 8:14-17, Galatians 4:4-7, & Hebrews 12:3-11

For Father’s Day, Pastor Steve discussed looking to God as our Abba Father, using Mark 14:32-36, Romans 8:14-17, and Galatians 4:4-7. While long taught “Abba” meant “Daddy,” it’s a matter of phrasing. For adult children, it is expressing admiration.

“I understand some of you had poor fathers, abusive fathers, or unfaithful fathers,” Steve said. “God wants to fix your image of father. He wants us to know, ‘I insisted on using the term. In the Old Testament God is referred to as Father 15 times, and always as the Father of Israel. Jesus uses the phrase, ‘Father God’ 165 times.”

Christ’s changing of the phrase made the Pharisees so mad they wanted to kill Him for making Himself equal with the Father. But God wants us to see Him as approachable and knowable, as a Father. He wants us to know we belong to Him.

Steve then turned to Hebrews 12:3-11, which talks about God discipling those He loves. This letter was written to let the church know if we aren’t chastened by God then we aren’t His children, he said. The problems that are part of life are the discipline of a loving Father.

            “Trials are meant to make us holy,” Steve said. “They make us hit our knees. If you don’t learn the lesson you will go around the mountain one more time. . . . Israel had a 12-day journey that took 40 years. (God said), ‘You hard-hearted people; you don’t get to go in. God’s discipline is never arbitrary or punitive. It’s loving and purposeful.”

            Referring to his own father, he talked about how glad he is to have had a father who disciplined him and held him accountable. That’s why this passage is so precious to him, because he asks God to teach him the fruit of righteousness and let it grow. We glorify God in the midst of our trials when we praise Him for His righteousness and see Him as a loving Father.

            His father didn’t grow up with a father, since his Dad left the home when he was just five, leaving the family to struggle in poverty. So, he prayed, “Lord, I don’t know how to be a father. Teach me to be a good dad.” God answered that prayer so well that Steve said his friends used to come to their house to hang around his father. We can pray the same prayer, whether as a father, mother, parent, or for some other need.

“Let God re-arrange your thinking and your emotions,” Steve concluded. “God does little miracles every day, in everyone’s hurt. It’s hard, but it’s not complicated.”