There’s a second idea Scripture teaches us about God the Father. To call God “Father” reminds us of God’s power to provide for our needs. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his followers, tells us, not to worry. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.” Maybe the hardest thing to learn how to do in life is to stop worrying.
As opposed to concern which prompts us to take responsible steps to ward off future trouble, worry is emotional restlessness for future trouble, and so it accomplishes nothing except to rob us of sleep and steal our joy. Someone once said: Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. And where did it get you? Did anything change because of all that worry?
A far better response is this: having taken responsible steps to ward off future trouble, we then place our trust in God for the outcome. We let him run the universe. Which is what Jesus goes on to say next.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 7:25-27).
Now let’s be careful here. Don’t think to yourself that this means we just get to kick back and do nothing, and God will take care of us. He’ll do all the work. He’ll pay all our bills. He’ll fix all our problems and make life easy for us. That’s not what Jesus is teaching. Because that’s not what a loving father does for his children.
Yes, sometimes God will directly meet our needs. For a season, God sent Israel manna from heaven. But once the manna dried up, how did God meet their need for food? They grew crops. And raised cattle. They learned to store up grain for the future. He showed them how to become hardworking and responsible. That’s what a loving father does for his children.
And so in the Bible we find God the Father meeting our needs in interesting ways.
God as our Father meets our needs by giving us instruction. Proverbs 4:3 – “When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender…he taught me and said ‘Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live.” The assumption here is that as God’s child, I will listen to his instruction and put it into practice.
God as our Father also meets our needs by giving us discipline. Hebrews 12:7 – “Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”
Life is hard, and the world unforgiving. If we do receive instruction and discipline from our fathers and our mothers, and from our Heavenly Father, then the world out there will crush us. God doesn’t want that for you. So he teaches you and disciplines you. As a loving father should who wants to provide for the needs of his children.