Child of the Father
Passage: Exodus 33:18–34:9
I noticed an interesting charge on a credit card statement recently. Someone hadapparently flown to Bankok, Thailand using my credit line. When I saw it I called up Chase,said hey, didn’t go to Bankok as much as I’d love a trip to Thailand - but that wasn’t me. Therefraud department calls me back a couple days later and says yes. A Demitri Rostraustiovich booked this flight - now that’s not you? No, not at all. As cool as that Russian name sounded I was still Dustin Blumer. But I had just been victim of a form of identity theft. And it’s happenedbefore someone used my email, claiming to be me stuck in London, asking for money. Crazy.
Anyone know what I am talking about when it comes to identity theft? Unfortunately, it’s
incredibly common with 11.6 million cases of it in the US in 2012. And it can be a real pain
trying to prove who you are, and recover your assets or even your good name. Crazy.
We’re starting this new series called identity, and what you need to know is that just as
there are robbers out there trying to steal your earthly identity, so there are also robbers trying to
steal your spiritual identity. And the stakes are higher because these guys don’t just want your
stuff, they want to take your life.
And there are three main robbers out there. The first villain is the devil, whose known as
the father of lies. He uses a lot of words that start with un to steal. He says your unloveable,
unacceptable, unremarkable, unredeemable, and unforgivable. Then the villains in the world -
the people who surround you. They use the word us. You’re dirty like us, a lost cause like us, a
partier like us, an addict like us - and it’s all good because everyone is like us. And the last
villain is yourself, and we can at times use every word in the book, but the most dangerous word
we play with is probably never. You’ll never be good enough, you’ll never get it, you’ll never
change and you’ll never be anything good.
But there is one who speaks and knows the truth. There is one who speaks louder and
clearer and more beautifully than the thieves. He is the one, true God. And if you don’t consider
yourself a Christian, or always been one, or in between. He is one that offers us a far better
identity than we could have ever imagined or gained on our own. And that is what we consider
today. Today we find how we can be and are considered a child of the Father.
The term Father can hold many different connotations based on your earthly experience.
We know more than ever before kids are growing up without Fathers, estimates are about 1/3 of
children, and there are others who have been so hurt by their Fathers that the very word may
‘cause some strong negative emotions. I grew up with a great dad. Not perfect, but modeled
what it was to follow Jesus and serve him and love people.
Regardless of your experience, I came across a great quote when it comes to the
difference between our earthly father and Heavenly Father. It said, “God is not the reflection of
your earthly father. He is the perfection of your earthly Father.” (Louie Giglio) So everything
you wish dad was, every longing and unmet expectation, and even the good parts of a dad are
perfected in God. And let me explain how perfect and how good this father is.
In the words of our lesson, we meet Moses. Moses is tired and he is worn out. He is
trying to lead a group of rebels known as the Israelites, and it is worse than herding cats. He
went up to hear from God, the first word he heard on a Mountain named Sinai, is the people
should have no other gods. And while he is hearing this guess what the rebels are doing -
making a false god. This is frustrating, and so Moses has a simple request. His request is he
would be able to see His Heavenly Father for who he is. And I believe part of the reason he asks
is he believes there is something about see the Father, that’s going to help him do his will. Let’s
look now to the words of our lesson.
And I love the response! Love it. You know Moses I will show up. I will let you see
how great I am, but I got to warn you I am so big, so great, so holy, so mind-blowing that you
can’t see my face and live. And in another section he warned others they couldn’t touch the
mountain where God would appear, or they would die. That’s who the Father is.
You know it reminds me of growing up as a young boy. Used to talk with friends, I bet
my dad could take your dad in a cage match. Boy stuff. Yeah, my dad’s stronger than your dad.
He’s a mountain of a man. Like my dad is so strong he can pick up that car. Yeah, well my dad
is so strong he can wrestle a hippopotamus. So you better watch out. He’s big. I love this as a
child of the father, my dad is so strong, so powerful, you can’t even look at him or your’ll die,
can’t even step in the ring. That’s a whole nother level.
And here is the first point, A strong Father protects a weak child. A relationship with the
father gives you strength by mere association. It’s kind of like if we were pictured as this (action
figure) our problems picture like this (eggs) enemies like this (villain) God is this (mountain).
He is bigger and stronger than anyone or anything that faces us, and as his child we are
connected to a holy mafia of sorts - where if they mess with us, they don’t really know who
they’re messin’ with because we are connected to someone bigger and more powerful than they
So someone messes with your day, comes to your cubicle at work and dumps a load you
weren’t expecting. You and your size might not feel ready to handle it, but I tell you there is one
who strong and can be strong in you to handle it - the Father. Someone is mean to you and
mistreats you. The one who is strong in you is also just and will not let injustice go unpunished,
that one can pay back if necessary, but that one can give you strength to love. And this applies to anything in your life, you can know that the greatness and enormity and strength of your Father can overwhelm anything you are facing.
Next, and we haven’t even gotten into when God shows up. Moses is going to meet God
in the mountain. He will only see the backside of his glory. And when God passes by we learn a
lot about him.
We hear of his compassion, and what we can draw away is that A compassionate Father
cares for the hurts of his child.
This past week in college sports was perhaps the worst injury in history with Louisville
Cardinal Kevin Ware. No I am not showing pictures or video. He broke his leg and it wasn’t
pretty. What was interesting to watch was the reaction of the coaches and the bench when they
saw what had happened. Just astounded. His teammates huddled together talking and caring and perhaps praying for him. Because of how gruesome it was he’s getting a lot of attention. On
David Letter, celebrities like RG3 and Matt Lauer tweeting to get better.
But what happens in our life when something goes wrong and we get hurt - but it doesn’t
grab the attention of those around us. Where it is just as painful, but not as noticeable. And our
friends and co-workers don’t know why we’re down, and we can’t always explain what
happened but are hurting. My friends the Father might not send a tweet, but he has written over
and again that he cares for every hurt, every pain, every mishap of our lives. Consider this
passage written in Psalms, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them
from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (34:17-18)
Next it talks about how God is slow to anger. So we could say the Father is patient with
rebellious children. You ever met someone who wasn’t patient and was quick to anger. I
remember in college a professor got so mad that a student overslept, he sent me to the dorm to
get the student. And the whole class was in fear. Just like a flip of the switch the anger went on.
I like that when it comes to my mistakes and my sins, God doesn’t just flip the anger
switch on and go off - even though he could. But he’s patient, he’s long suffering, he’s forgiving.
And the picture of God interacting with rebellious Israel if you know any about that in the Old
Testament or have read from the book of Judges - you know how patient God was. Continuing
to draw them back, continuing his promise of a Messiah through that people. This thought goes
with the next.
The Father loves to forgive. You ever fear approaching someone not knowing if they’ll
forgive you? You stole their girlfriend, you wrecked their car. You don’t know if approaching
them is even the right thing to do, ‘cause you don’t know how it will go down. With our
Heavenly Father there should be no such fear, because all you have to do is approach and that
forgiveness is full and free.
And I could go on couldn’t I about the goodness of the Father. I could go on about his
faithfulness - and how what he says will happen. I could go on about his truth - that if the devil
is the father of lies, he is the father of truth to lead us in right ways. We could speak of his
justice, that while his desire is not to punish - those who reject him and his gift of love and
forgiveness in so doing have rejected his free pardon.
And at this point you may be wondering, “Pastor, I thought this was a series of who I am,
when are we going to talk about me.” But there was a method to my madness. We have been
talking about you. See my hope is that we would consider ourselves isolated, in a vacuum,
without any context. But my hope is that you could see what it means to be inside a relationship
with a Father like that. For when we see the goodness and strength of the Father, we’ll know the
comfort of being his child.
And that’s what Moses saw on the mountain. When he was tired, and worn out, and
desperate. He needed to soak in who God was, and let the enormity of God overshadow any
problem in his life. And after seeing God for who he is. I love his reaction. v.9. Just go with us,
just take us. Please let me find myself in this relationship with you, for now that I’ve seen how
great you are I want to find myself in you.
What about you? How does this message speak to your life. I guess one of two things
can happen. You could leave today learning nothing really new about your identity. But I tell
you be ready for the un, the us, and the never. The devil may whisper unloveable, and the world
may speak dirty like us, and you might say I’m never good enough. And this could hold you
down in this life and the next.
Or you could respond like Moses, and say, “Just go with me, and take me.” Let me find
myself as your child both now and forever - for that is my greatest security. You could find the
enormity of the Father overshadow the problems in your life. You could see yourself not alone,
but in a relationship.
And this identity can be yours through Jesus. Because he left his home in heaven, so we
could find a home with him. And he’d be adopted by earthly parents, so we could be adopted
and taken in by his Heavenly Father. Jesus whose cross speaks to our pardon, and is payment for our sins. Jesus who on account of him winning mercy allows the Father to be full of forgiveness, and slow to anger. Jesus is our link between who we were and who we could be. And he through his suffering, death and resurrection have made it possible for any and all who alsobelieve in him to be considered and known as a child of the Father.