Father’s Day June 18-19, 2022
“Our Deepest Desire” Psalm 127
Rev. John R. Larson Ascension Lutheran Church Littleton, Colorado
In two days we begin summer. You know what that means? It means it is time for the Stanley Cup. That winter sport of ice hockey has made its way to summer. But there is something greater than that. These summer days seem to be all about family. In May we had graduations and Mother’s Day. June, July and August seem to be about weddings and anniversaries and family reunions and camping trips and vacations. And today – Father’s Day.
Family – our deepest desire. When family is well, we are well. But when our family is fractured, hurting or struggling we are in agony. Our deepest desire is for a most peaceful and joyous family. We love joy and laughter. I know that is your desire and I know that is my desire. That is God’s desire as well.
Psalm 127, the psalm I chose for this day centers on God’s place in anything we do. If our God, if our Lord Jesus, if the Holy Spirit, is not present in our life and within our homes, the result is not good. But when He is present we find what we need. Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves. (Psalm 127:1-3)
We think that this psalm was written by Solomon, a man known for his wisdom. Solomon also built lots of buildings, including the temple in Jerusalem. He knew that if he tried to build on his own, simply by his skills, without God’s guiding, the building wouldn’t last.
Jesus said the very same thing, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the steams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Our deepest desire, to have a family, a marriage, a celebration of being a dad or a mom, or thanking God for the ones we have, has to have God at the very heart. Does yours? Does mine? If we do, how does it show that desire? “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”
If this great desire for God’s rule in our family is more than simply a wish, or a dream, then we must know the Fatherhood of God. The picture of father, as God as our Father, is the image of one who is strong, a provider, a protector, a defender and an advocate. That is a father. Our Heavenly Father is even more. He is filled with compassion and care for His children – for us. This is Father’s Day, and all of us need to know our Heavenly Father – who loves us deeply. Psalm 103 says of this, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” (Verses 8-13) With confidence and a word of a wonderful relationship we begin the Lord’s Prayer when we pray, “Our Father…”
Our desire is that the Lord would build our house – our families. That is our prayer to whatever position we find ourselves in life – father, mother, child, aunt, uncle, grandparent – that we would do so with the Holy Spirit leading us in the right way. First, we must know the Fatherhood of God to us and then we can be about His calling in our life.
The great picture of the love of God the Father was shown in The Parable of the Waiting Father in Luke 15. The wayward son, the prodigal, who had run away from home and made bad choice after bad choice, and lived in rebellion against his own father, made the best choice when he decided to seek his father’s forgiveness.
The Fatherhood of God was shown in this, “While his son was still a long way off, his father saw him, and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him….The father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:20, 22-24)
Our deepest desire is that we would know this Father. If our families are going to live in peace and forgiveness, if the Lord Himself is going to build our house, we must know this truth – God has sent His Son, Jesus, to bear all of our sins. The Fatherhood of God is seen in this – “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them…We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:19, 21)
If we know, deeply, this great Father, how then should we live? What difference should it make then in how we live with those that we hold in the closest relationship of family? We must have an appreciation for those that God has brought into our life. In the second half of this psalm we read, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:3-5)
If you are a father, a grandfather, or an uncle, I hope this day is a day of joy. Look around and see how blessed you are by those God has placed in your life. These children or grandchildren have blessed your life in remarkable ways and you receive from them amazing gifts by their life. God has blessed you and me by giving us, them – the deepest desire – in our life.
This psalm was sung by families as they headed to Jerusalem for their most holy days. They would sing and speak these words to one another. A father would say this to their children and children would speak it back to their father. In our world there are too many obstacles to having a godly family. There are too many families where the knowledge of the greatness and mercy of God is not known. There are too many families where the ways of God are not even considered. There are too many families that have bitterness and division instead of laughter and unity. It is time to return to God’s desire for our families. It is time to turn to each other again and speak and act with repentance, love and forgiveness.
God’s desire must be our deepest desire. Not only must we know the wonderful Fatherhood of God – how we are welcomed back by the waiting father – we must exhibit the Fatherhood of God in our families. Pray with your families. Have regular times of devotions with your family. Speak of what Jesus means to you and how His life blesses your life.
For some this is a hard day. The deep desire that we have for our family, the love and unity that we had wished for, didn’t happen. But, you know, I don’t know of any perfect families. And that is where we can see our desire and God’s desire coming together. There aren’t any perfect families but there are families where God is still at work.
On Tuesday I drove by the intersection of Arapahoe and Colorado – where Newton Middle School is. Newton opened up a beautiful new campus, just east of the old campus, this past August. On Tuesday I saw the wrecking ball taking down the old walls of the old building. Not much will be left in a matter of days. Isn’t that a picture of God at work? He builds something new, with Jesus in our life, and He takes out the old – the stuff that shouldn’t be there anymore.
Our desire is also God’s desire. A new life, a new beginning, a fresh start, a family that delights in the Fatherhood of God in the walls of our house and a family that shows the Fatherhood of God to each other.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Lord, our deepest desire is yours. Build our house. Build our families. Amen!!