4 "Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. 5 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
This how God ends the Old Testament? He promises that Elijah would be sent to "turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers."
Elijah is John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus Christ.
"And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
1. The Lord really wants to see those hearts turned.
2. There are fathers whose hearts need to be turned toward their children.
3. There are children whose hearts need to be turned toward their fathers.
It is God's will that hearts be turned.
Some have suggested this is a promise of turning to the Jewish fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But it also says that the fathers hearts will be turned to the children. No, this is talking about fathers and children.
And He says there will be severe consequences if the hearts of Fathers and children are not turned to each other, vs. 6
God is a perfect father, who wants to turn our hearts to our children and make us great fathers and grandfathers.
God sent His Son, that our hearts might be turned to our Heavenly Father, and to our earthly father in love, respect, and obedience.
There are fathers whose hearts need to be turned toward their children.
How important a stable and loving Father figure is to a child?
Children without a proper Father figure are 4 times more likely to smoke.
They are 2 to 3 times at greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse.
Children without a proper father figure are 2 to 3 more times likely to have emotional and behavioral problems. Teen suicides are three times more likely in homes without a responsible father.
Children without a proper father figure have lower grades, poorer attendance records, and are twice a likely to drop out of school.
Children without a responsible father figure are twice as likely to be juvenile criminal offender.
Children without a proper father figure are 4 to 5 times more likely to engage in adolescent sexual activity.
Boys need male role models. Girls need a loving father to learn how to relate to men.
A loving father shows a boy how to be a man, how to treat women, how to be kind, generous, loving, Godly, etc.
And a loving father shows a girl how a loving man treats women, and what her future husband should be like.
Often this becomes a self-perpetuating curse, as these children have relationship problems in their own marriages.
"The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations."
Fathering is to be full-time labor of love
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
There are children whose hearts need to be turned toward their fathers.
Consider the story of the prodigal son. A perfect father had a wayward son. But eventually all of the father's love and prayers were answered, and the prodigal returned. Your faithful teaching, love and prayers will be honored as well.
"Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord."
"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you."
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