Luke 1:17 “And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
John the Baptist was given the ministry of preparation. He would pave the way for Jesus. His message was hard and unyielding. He called folks to examine their sinful ways and get ready to make a change! We all know what John was about. Prophet, pure and simple. He wore wild skins and ate wild things. But here’s something I picked up today in the text that I’d never seen before. One of the manifestations of a repentant heart was for fathers to once again care for their children.
We don’t think much about that do we? For us, repentance usually includes turning from immoral things and inappropriate behavior. But look what the front end of that verse says. It’s all caps. Emphasized because it’s a direct quote from the Old Testament. He’s quoting Malachi 4:6. One of the signs of a changed heart will be “to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children.” Here’s what I suddenly realized. “When men stray from God they often stop loving their families like they should.”
I was talking with a woman not long ago and she was saddened by the fact that her ex-husband never came to see his children or grandchildren. He lives one state over and was back within thirty miles on a hunting trip with his brother. Another brother that still lives in the same town as the children tried to encourage him to come see them, “Why don’t you come home with me for a day or so and see the kids and grandkids?” The absentee father, now in his mid sixties said, “you know I’m getting on up in years and there won’t be too many more good hunting seasons for me to have.”
I was speechless. Then I came across verse Luke1:17. I gained a new insight on lostness and repentance and sin. Men don’t go to bars and hang out with their buddies at the expense of their families because the bars are so glorious and glamorous. They go because their hearts have been turned from their children. And one of the signs of a man who is right with God will be when he comes home to his family.