"Father! Blessed word."
Maria S. Cummins
What has my earthly father taught me about my heavenly Father?
If my earthly father was not or is not a heavenly example of my Father in heaven, how can I learn to embrace my heavenly Father's gracious love for me?
"No music is so pleasant to my ears as that word – father."
"Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes."
My father died suddenly nearly 25 years ago. To all those who say, "Time heals," I have one response, "Baloney!" Oh, time does soften the blow, but just when I think I've healed from the pain of losing one whom I so dearly loved, something happens that makes me feel like the scab that covers my wounded heart has been ripped off again. I know many of you understand exactly what I'm saying because you have also felt the cold hand of death enter your life and snatch away what was so precious.
Thankfully, during his shortened lifetime, my father took time to plant so many seeds of love in my life that today, when I need him most, much to my surprise, a flower will blossom as the result of the seeds he took time to sow.
This is why our studies for the next few days are so close to my heart. We will unearth some of the most beautiful lessons in Scripture, and these lessons are found in the relationship of a father and daughter, Caleb and Achsah.
Nestled in Joshua 14 and 15 is the story of the man of God, Caleb, one of the two spies who brought back a positive report to Moses before the children of Israel entered Canaan, and his daughter, Achsah.
Interestingly, the story of Caleb and Achsah is repeated, almost word for word in Judges, chapter 1. This fact really got my attention, for when God says something more than once, it tells me I should sit up and take note. For the next two weeks we are going to explore the treasure that is buried in this Old Testament relationship between a dad and his daughter. To my delight what I found in this connection was that God has a blueprint for the kind of relationship He wants to have with His earthly daughters – you and me.
This means that even if you haven't had the blessing of a truly Godly earthly father to serve as an example of the kind of bond your heavenly Father wants to have with you, from the story of Caleb and Achsah, we will learn how to forge a love with our Father in Heaven, a love that transcends all earthly pain and failure that may have been the consequence of broken human relationships.
In order to begin to understand the foundation on which Caleb and Achsah's family relationship was built, I want to return to Numbers 13: 30, where we get our first glimpse into the kind of person Caleb was.
Asked by Moses, to join a band of spies to bring a report back on the Promised Land, Caleb returned and the Bible says that after 10 of the spies could talk only about giants and walled cities; after 10 of the spies could only weep and wail and whip the people into a frenzy about how impossible it would be to go over the Jordan River and take possession of a land promised to them by God, Caleb arose and the Bible tells us, "Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, 'Let us go up at once, and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it'" (Numbers 13: 30, K.j.V.).
In the face of a hostile crowd filled with negativity and whining, this man of courage arose and "stilled" or as the Hebrew states, "brought peace" to the people. Caleb, with his fearless words, brought a sense of calm to the multitude who had decided the task ahead was too great and their God too small.
If Caleb had never done anything else but stand up as a calm voice of trust in the God of heaven, that would be enough to convince me of the greatness of this man. But, as we shall see, marks of valor permeated his life for he was truly a man of God.
So closely aligned, was Caleb, with his Father in heaven, that the qualities of Caleb resonate those of our Father who art in heaven. It is these characteristics we want to understand because they laid the foundation for his daughter's life and further, these qualities, made it possible for Caleb's daughter, Achsah, to come with boldness to her father to request from him the best he had to give. This is what I love about this story the most, for the better we know our father, the more boldly we, as his daughters, will come before Him. And it is our undaunted courage, as we come to our Father, that He longs for so much!
As we explore the qualities of the Father, as seen in the life of Caleb, it is my prayer we will find a deeply personal application in our own lives of the words expressed by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 4: 16, "So let's walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help." (The Message)
This is what we will learn from the relationship between a daughter and her dad.
"I am my Father's child."
My Father's Love
"It's amazing and incredible,
but it's as true as it can be –
God loves and understands us all,
and that means you and me.
His grace is all-sufficient
for both the young and old,
For the lonely and the timid,
for the brash and for the bold.
His love knows no exceptions,
so never feel excluded –
No matter who or what you are,
your name has been included…
And no matter what your past has been,
trust God to understand,
And no matter what your problem is,
just place it in His hand…
For in all of our unloveliness
the great God loves us still-
He loved us since the world began,
and, what's more, He always will!"
Helen Steiner Rice
Poems & Prayers