Fast Devotional #19 – Abba! Father!
By Matt Destry – Communications Pastor
‘For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons <and daughters>, by whom we cry “Abba! Father!”
One thing that fascinates me about life is the value of experience. You can read a million books on a particular subject, and have less information and less knowledge than one person, whom having read nothing, has lived through the particular experience you’ve read about. Being a new father raised similar issues for me. Having read, seen, studied and pondered it all, the arrival of Lucy in 2007 brought a lifetimes worth of reading to my world in one single experience.
Lucy started raising questions for me – about fatherhood – ones I’d never thought of before: What is a father? How does one be a good father? And it also brought to bear my own relationship with my father, and, by extension, my relationship to my Heavenly Father – that is God. One of the conclusions I came to was that I didn’t just want to be Lucy’s father; I wanted to be her dad.
‘Abba’ is a Hebrew word, and as a child it is one of the first words they would pick up. It’s like our words ‘papa’ and ‘dada’ – and this is what the word means! Daddy! This is how Jewish children would address their fathers – it is a term full of trust, obedience, excitement and intimacy.
Our Lord Jesus used it to address his Father too. In Mark’s account of the suffering of Christ we see Jesus, in the garden, under the weight of sin, calling to His God as Father, but also as Dad. This may seem like an irreverent title, but it’s not – because again, the word ‘Father’ describes the role of our God – but Abba or Daddy makes a desperate appeal based on a level of intimacy.
Now God in heaven, our heavenly Father, the Father of lights and prodigals, wants to be not only your father, but also your dad. He wants to be a dad to you. In fact, he’s orchestrated salvation history to include this as a major blessing and benefit of the new covenant in Jesus Christ. He wants you to know him as Dad. Come to Him in closeness, trust and obedience, and you will experience a love you’ve never known before.
Abba Father, today I come to you in fear and trembling, but also in closeness and trust, knowing that you care for me as a parent loves a child. Thank you for calling me to yourself, and making me your own in Jesus. Transform and change me to become more like your Son, in who’s Name I pray, Amen.