And he (John the Baptist) shall go before him (ahead of or before the coming Messiah) in the spirit and power of Elias, (Elijah) to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17)
Competent experts who study the fabric of our society have been warning us for many years that our nation is suffering a great wound of division and anger among young people because of the absence of fathers in the home. In our large inner cities, the absence of fathers contributes heavily to the formation of gangs and gang wars and killing such as Chicago is experiencing.
A nation at war always suffers from the absence of the fathers who have left home to fight in the war. When the population is mobile and lacks geographical stability, homes lose the presence of fathers. A mortgage company told me that the average length of a home mortgage in America is less than seven years. Another mortgage company gave me the same answer to that question over fifty years ago. When the father is absent from the home, the bonding between the father and children is either weakened or non-existent.
It is striking that the greatest effect of the ministry of John the Baptist is the turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children. (Luke 1:17) When I was the principal of a high school in Florida, one day a young lady who had been a student at our school came by my office to visit for a few minutes. I could feel the hunger in her heart to talk, so I listened. She was twisting a little key chain in her hand as she leaned against the jam of the door. I knew the keys were to a new car her daddy had given her recently.
I asked her about the car and suddenly the tears began to course down her cheeks and her lips trembled as she blurted out: “But I don’t care anything about a new car or all the new clothes my daddy gives me to get rid of me! I just want my daddy! I just want him to have time for me! He has money and he buys me things but that’s not what I want. I want my daddy!”
I never got over that conversation to this day. It still tears me up after forty years.
In America, I believe the greatest need is for us to turn our hearts to the Lord. And right after that, the greatest need is for the fathers to turn their hearts to their children.
“Let us understand clearly that although John the Baptist went forth in the spirit and power of Elijah, he was not Elijah. John would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. He was to bridge the generation gap. Our problem today is not so much that there is a gap between the adults and youth but that there is a gap between adults and God. If adults had a proper relationship with God, they would not have the problem with young people that exists.” (McGee)
“To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children - In the time of John the Jews were divided into a number of different sects. They were opposed violently to each other, and pursued their opposition with great animosity. It was impossible but that this opposition should find its way into families, and divide parents and children from each other. John came that he might allay these animosities and produce better feeling.
By directing them all to “one Master,” the Messiah, he would divert their attention from the causes of their difference and bring them to union. He would restore peace to their families, and reconcile those parents and children who had chosen different sects, and who had suffered their attachment “to sect” to interrupt the harmony of their households.
The effect of true religion on a family will always be to produce harmony. It attaches all the family to “one” great Master, and by attachment to Him all minor causes of difference are forgotten.
“And the disobedient to the wisdom of the just - The “disobedient” here are the unbelieving, and hence the impious, the wicked. These he would turn to the wisdom of the just, or to such wisdom as the “just” or pious manifest - that is, to true wisdom.
To make ready a people ... - To prepare them for his coming by announcing that the Messiah was about to appear, and by calling them to repentance. God has always required people to be pure in a special manner when he was about to appear among them. Thus, the Israelites were required to purify themselves for three days when he was about to come down on Mount Sinai, Exo 19:14-15.
When God the Son was about to appear as the Redeemer, he required that people should “prepare” themselves for his coming. So in view of the future judgment - the second coming of the Son of man - he requires that people should repent, believe, and be pure, 1Pe 4:7; 2Pe 3:11-12. (Albert Barnes)
In listening to the stories of many troubled people, the absence of the father is obvious. When I say, “Talk to me about your father and mother,” we begin to get closer to problem at hand. There is no substitute for a loving, Godly mother and there is no substitute for a loving, Godly father. Some people have trouble thinking of God as a loving Heavenly Father because they had an abusive father or they never had a father at all.
John the Baptist would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. A fatherless nation is a troubled nation that cannot be healed so easily. The solution is what God told His people centuries ago: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2Ch 7:14) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
September 22, 2017 – FRIDAY
A.M. Song of Solomon: 4-5
P.M. 2 Corinthians 13
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Memory Verse This Month:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deu 6:6-7
Verse of the week:
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; (Deu 4:9)
Song for Today:
Huge Youth Choir & Orchestra: Come Thou Fount (Dan Sage 6:30)
One of the great pieces of music done by a big assembly of young people!
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