“Like as a father.” This was a tremendous, upward thrust of religious insight when we remember that the idea of God was far removed from this among millions, and still is. “Like as a father, so the Lord….” Well, countless people believe otherwise. God is a leering, lurking enemy waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting folk. Others believe that he is a great shadow darkening the sunniness of life, threatening to swoop down upon us. As such, the deity must be placated, bribed by sacrifices and offerings. The incident of Abraham nearly offering Isaac as a human sacrifice could not have happened if there had not been a day when human sacrifice, even child sacrifice, was an accepted thing. So, this view sees God as our enemy, watching, disapproving, anxious to punish us. Then at the height of faith, a little advance copy of the New Testament, this one hundred and third Psalm goes on. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” The fathers of the earth ought to take great and justifiable satisfaction in the fact that the highest symbol of God yet known to humanity is that of father.
The word father evokes memories for most of us, glad and hallowed, for God in his wisdom has given us mothers and fathers that our emotional balance might be properly established. One of the greatest tragedies which can happen to any people or any family is that of reduction of the status of the father symbol, for God has given fathers in order that we might know the meaning of firmness mixed with tenderness and mothers that we might know tenderness mixed with firmness. When either of these is lacking, emotional imbalance is established and deviations are introduced into a home, a community, a race. Flabby convictions, lack of integrity, and cravenness are often the results of weak father symbols. Like as a father!