“Just Like Your Father”
Genesis 1-3
Father’s Day

What is a good father? How can you become one? Well, standards change in the world around us, but there is one abiding standard that never changes, and that is God’s word. It always shows us the best, most productive way to do anything, including how to be a good father.

We call God “father” for a good reason. Not only because Jesus addressed God as father and taught us to do the same, but because God is in fact our Heavenly Father. Therefore, He is the role model, the standard by which we should measure our fatherhood.

In the first chapters of Genesis, God creates the universe and all that is in it. The crown of His creation is a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. Now without losing any of your reverence and honor for God, try to think of God as the Father, Adam and Eve as the kids, and the garden as their home. So we have a single parent dealing with two kids. Get the picture?

Since God is our perfect example of fatherhood, let’s look at what He did with Adam and Eve. That way we can use the same principles in our own lives.


God Provided for them. How did He provide for them? He placed them in an environment where all of their physical needs were met. There was none of the heat of the desert or the cold of the arctic. It was so pleasant that they didn’t have to wear clothes. In other words, he placed them in paradise. A place so wonderful that it has never been experienced since, nor will it be experienced until Jesus returns. Now, we can’t provide paradise for our children, but we can provide for their needs.

For the most part, we men live up to this challenge. But I have driven by many a house trailer about to fall in on itself, kids half-clothed and dirty playing in the trash-strewn yard, and yet I also see a new truck, new boat, and a big screen TV. Some men are selfish and don’t provide for their own family. To those, Paul says: If any one does not provide for his own and especially for those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Strong words... But a good father will provide for the needs of his family.


God was present with them. God provided for them but He didn’t leave them alone. Adam and Eve weren’t latchkey kids. God made Himself known to them there in the garden. They even recognized the sound He made, walking in the garden (Gen. 3:8). As a child, I remember the familiar sounds of my dad when he came home. I knew the sound of his Blazer pulling into the driveway, I knew the sound of his footsteps, and the way he closed the door. I also knew the sound of his snoring that used to keep me awake when we would go on a fishing trip! And the sound of his voice when he called my name I know to this day.

But God was present with them in the garden. He didn’t just shove food in and leave, watching from above as if this were some grand experiment in a laboratory or some human zoo. No. He spent time with His children. And that is the point of breakdown for most fathers. Because many fathers spend so much time providing that they have no time left to be present.

I fight that battle every day. And sometimes I lose more than I win. W.A. Criswell, Pastor of FBC Dallas admitted before he died that he had made a mistake. He said:

If I had my live to live over again, I would change the order of my priorities. All through the years of my life, my priorities were first God, second the church, third my family. If I had my life to live over again, I’d make it God, I’d make it my family, and then I’d make it my church. I think I made a mistake in that.

I tried to learn from that. Because every minute spent with the family is a quality investment, it is better than all of the money in the world that you could ever make. What I treasure most when I think of my family are moments, not things.

Dr. Kenneth Chafin, former professor of preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and frequent speaker on strong families and better dads, came home one night with barely enough time for a meal. He was hurried and preoccupied with the speaking engagement he had in about an hour. His five-year-old daughter flashed her eyelashes and said: “Daddy will you stay home with me tonight?” Her plea pierced his soul. How could he tell her no? The guilt crushed him because his subject that night was: “What a good father ought to be.” It was too late to cancel... so to soften her disappointment and to make her feel important, he asked her to help him with the speech. He asked her to describe what a good daddy ought to be.

During the meal, he jotted down her ideas:
1. Catch a fish
2. Build a fire
3. Fly a kite
4. Catch a butterfly
5. Plant a flower
6. Get my kitty cat out of the tree

Dr. Chafin took the paper, folded it, kissed his daughter good-bye, and drove to the conference. As he was standing on the platform, waiting to be introduced, it hit him! Nothing that his daughter wanted in an ideal father involved all that much money... she wanted TIME!

Though they say they want the latest phone, game box, ATV, car, or clothes... what they want... what they need is time! They need for dad to be present in their lives.


God protected them. God put them in the garden, provided for them, and was present with them. But He didn’t just say “Have at it... anything goes... do whatever you like, whenever you like.” NO! Look at Genesis 2:16-17:

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

He gave them a rule that had ramifications, a command with consequences if it was not carried out. He told them what they could do (positive: You are free to eat from every tree except one) and what they could not do (negative: Do not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). He not only told them the rule, He told them the consequences for breaking the rule so there would be no question as to what would happen: “If you do, you will die.” And He taught them so well, they could almost repeat what He had said verbatim (Gen. 3:2-3). And this rule was laid down for their protection. God gave them boundaries.

And when they disobeyed God, the consequences were automatic. No counting, no pleading, no whining. It was automatic. You know, there are consequences to almost everything that we do.

  • Speeding has its consequences.
  • Excessive drinking has its consequences.
  • Drugs have their consequences.
  • Pre or extramarital sex has its consequences.
  • Over-eating has its consequences.

Notice these consequences and how they relate to discipline when it comes to bad behavior.

A. Separation. First of all, God let them know that He was not pleased with what they had done. And no doubt that made them sad because of the close fellowship they had with God. There was a break with God. God’s presence was not a delight but a dread when they knew they had sinned. Kids need to know when they blow it. In a spiritual sense, there was separation.

B. Intensification. Secondly, there was an intensification of their normal workload. The man used to pluck fruit from the trees, but now he was going to have to work harder to get food from the ground. The fruit of the woman’s womb would be more painful to deliver. So in a way, the consequences lined up with the crime. Basically, it is like having to do extra chores. But don’t forget the physical element here. The rod of God came down hard on these two. The ultimate physical punishment was death. Intensification.

C. Deprivation. There was also deprivation. God sent them out of the garden. And sometimes separation and deprivation are good ideas when it comes to discipline. These figure into sending kids to time-out or grounding them. The kids in the garden abused their privileges through disobedience, and these privileges were revoked. There were consequences to their disobedience.

It really is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why there are rules and guidelines. And these guidelines are there in order to warn us and therefore protect us from the consequences. So a good father will try to protect his children by providing a positive example and instruction, and by setting limits and boundaries. This is what God did, and a good father will do the same.


God prepared them. He prepared them to make their own choices by giving them freedom and responsibility. God put them into paradise, provided for them, and He was present there with them. He tried to protect them by giving them rules and guidelines, but He also tried to prepare them by giving them freedom and responsibility.

There are extremes: Major on providing for your kids, and chances are you will be an absentee dad. Major on protecting your kids, and chances are you will restrict their freedom and limit their acceptance of responsibility, and the result of that approach is limited growth and maturity. This is not the pattern that God lays out.

Notice the freedoms and responsibilities that God gives. First of all, look at the freedom God gave. In Gen. 2:16-17, God said that man was free to eat from any tree in the garden but one. That’s quite a bit of freedom in itself. But God gave freedom on a deeper level: Freedom to succeed or to fail. That is the most difficult gift we could ever give our children simply because when we take our hands away, we let loose of the controls.

When my daughter was crawling, then pulling up, then finally taking those first steps, our instinct was to step in and rescue her and catch her before she fell. But if she didn’t try and fall and learn how to get up on her own, she probably would have never walked.

See, God engineered in His image so that we have to make our own choices. We have a will that is free. God by His sovereign choice allows us this freedom. He doesn’t force us to do anything. He is not some malicious manipulator in the heavens—He gives us the freedom to make wise choices and He gives us the freedom to really mess things up. Speaking of which, that’s just what His two kids did. When faced with a decision, Adam and Eve fell flat on their faces and failed. God didn’t fail as a parent. God made no mistakes, yet His children still went astray. Sometimes you can do everything right... and they go wrong because of their poor choices.

God prepared them by giving them freedom and also responsibility. Look at Gen. 1:26-28. Two tasks for mankind: Act as steward of the earth’s resources, and raise children to do the same. There are several takeaways here. Take care of the earth God created and make it productive. Fill the earth and tame its tendency for wildness: subdue it, bring it under your control. God had a specific task for Adam in 2:15. Notice here that work was assigned before the fall. Preparation.

Conclusion: I heard a story about a dirt-poor farmer. He and his family lived in shack on a modest spread. They were happy to labor and laugh and love together as a family. The father worked hard and taught his only son the satisfaction of honest toil. A rich farmer came to visit one day. The poor father and son were chopping weeds in waist high corn. He observed that the corn was tall enough that the weeds wouldn’t hurt. “You and your boy needn’t work so hard.” The poor father wiped sweat off his brow and replied: “Maybe, but I’m not just raisin’ corn, I’m raisin’ a boy.” Later that boy graduated as the valedictorian of his class. Brimming with pride, the father remarked to his wife: “That boy is the best crop I ever raised!” He had prepared him for success in life through hard work.

Prayer: Father, give us some men who will fear you and serve you. Give us men who will be faithful, who will be providers and protectors for their families. God, give us some men who will lead their children to walk in Your ways, and who will lead by example. Give us Christian homes and start with the fathers. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.