Week of Monday June 3 – June 9
Trusted Guidance – Man as Provider

And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” - 2 Samuel 18:31-33 ESV

I’m not a big fan of the news show 60 Minutes because of its political slant, but I do like some of the human-interest stories. A couple of years ago, it featured Jacob Smith, then a 15-year-old freeride skier. This young man doesn’t ski the wide, groomed stuff; he skis non-groomed snow down the toughest terrain. What makes it all the more amazing is that Jacob is legally blind. The 60 Minutes report 

[Jacob] has extreme tunnel vision – and no depth perception on top of that – it's blurry – his visual acuity is rated 20/800, four times the level of legal blindness. Think of the big E on the eye chart. He would need it to be blown up four times in order to see it from 20 feet away.  

His father, Nathan Smith, said:

It’s on me to make sure I don’t let him down, that I get him out of trouble, you know, that I – I have to guide him through narrower chutes or not go off a cliff. … [Jacob is] not reckless. He knows his limitations. I think he has the ability to ski anything on the mountain, but he's not gonna go try to do it by himself. Like, he wants to be with somebody who he trusts. He won’t ski with people he doesn't trust.

When Jacob was asked how much he trusted his father, he replied, “I mean, enough to turn right when he tells me to.”

Now grab hold of the truth from that story and relate it to our role as Providers. Men, we are to provide spiritual guidance to our family and help them successfully navigate the difficult and sometimes dangerous course of life. Just like Jacob, our kids or grandkids could go “off a cliff” without our trusted guidance.

Unfortunately for King David, that’s essentially what happened in his family. A couple of his sons went off the proverbial cliff. In our Scripture reading today, we read about the tragic end of Absalom, who had led a coup d’état against his own father. If David had been more of a hands-on dad, offering more time, attention, and godly discipline, this whole sad story might have been avoided. Although David was a man after God’s own heart, Scripture contains several examples of David failing miserably as a father to provide trusted guidance to his children.

Leading up to this sad episode with Absalom, David had failed to deal biblically with another son, Amnon, who had sexually assaulted his sister Tamar. For this, David chose the insidious path of inaction. Ignoring the sins of our children sets the stage for future chaos, not only in the life of the child(ren) involved but also in the lives of the whole family. David not only neglected the need to discipline and dispense justice to his son but also failed to lovingly stand with his daughter, who was raped. If David had dealt with Amnon and Tamar appropriately, then perhaps many sorrows in the following years of his life could have been avoided.
What our children need today more than ever is a father who is willing to provide biblical discipline and intentional guidance in the home. Godly dads who are willing to discipline, forgive, and inspire their children to love and follow Jesus! Dads who will shape and nurture young lives who love God with their hearts and have a faith that endures!

How would you assess yourself as a Provider when it comes to being an engaged father who knows his children and their needs?
- Do you provide what your kids and grandkids need, whether encouragement or discipline? Are you providing guidance that helps them avoid “going off a cliff”?
- Ask God to help you become the father He called you to be.