“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” – Matthew 6:9 [KJV]
It is pretty typical, but not necessarily untrue, that when our minds consider God being the Supreme Ruler and governing authority of the universe, we see Him as a King in medieval times sitting on a grand throne, in war armor, and a massive sword at His side. Again, this is not entirely untrue because the Scriptures often depict God on a throne, and He indeed revealed Himself to be Israel’s King in the Old Testament. As for visualizing Him in armor, Scripture backs that up too! One of the names or titles given to God is Jehovah-Nissi, which indicates He’s a banner or military flagstaff that an enemy sees going into wart; further, Moses identifies God as a “Man of war.” This idea of God as a conquering Sovereign is not without its merits, and for thousands of years, the Israelites worshipped God as such.
When Jesus steps upon the scene, He begins to reveal the will of His Father through the miracles performed and the parables taught, and the Jews hear a new concept of God than was previously disclosed. To the Jews, it is Abraham that is called their father. Their identity as a nation and God’s covenant with them as a people came through His dealings with Abraham. Due to this ancestry, the Jews exhibited pride in being God’s chosen people. But Jesus disparages their pride by citing God’s ability to raise stones as children to Abraham. After decrying their position as Abraham’s seed and presenting God as their Father, Jesus shows us how we are to relate to God today.
Jesus demonstrates to the audience of His day and worldwide through Scripture how we approach this grand Being of the cosmos. He models coming to God not as a slave to a master or a peasant to a magistrate but as a son to a loving father. This is an incredible view and quite possibly blew the minds of the listeners. A cursory look into the history of the Israelites, and you’ll observe God is imploring them to follow His commandments, their rebellion, His chastisement, and promise of restoration if they obey. The main thing was missed in this tumultuous relationship: God was more than a mighty overlord but rather a personal being Who wanted a relationship with His people. And since the religious powers of Jesus’ day made status as the people of God into a religion, Christ had to reframe their mindset and re-introduce God as a personable Being.
To Christians, this concept of God is enlarged upon by the Apostle Paul, who details in the epistle to the Romans 8:15, that we have “received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” A serf being honored by a King is indeed tremendous. However, it is highly unlikely that he’s invited into the royal family. Yet God, in all of His majesty and prestige, deigns to bring wretched humanity into His family by adoption. I say, “wretched,” not merely because of sin, but because of the vast difference between an eternal, infinite being and an earthly, weak one. What an act of nobility upon the ignoble! Humanity has thus received the highest honor in the universe, to be regarded by its Maker as our Father. This designation should not belittle God in our minds but rather enlarge His influence in our lives. We revere Him because He’s God, we respect Him because He’s Sovereign, and we love Him because He’s our Father.
God is indeed our Father, and as such, we can have confidence in living for Him and have assurance. Now, we can recognize His power by the promises given and His love by His commitment to fulfill these promises in our lives. Oh, if we could grasp that God is committed to us! This commitment is confirmed by the sacrifice at Calvary, corroborated by the giving of His Spirit, and certified by Christ’s continual mediation in the heavenlies.