God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that he would have a son. By virtue of this revelation, God introduced himself at the progenitor and sustainer of Fatherhood. However, in Genesis 16 Sarah suggests that Abraham should have a child with her slave Hagar, an Egyptian. Apparently, this was a common practice at the time (also practiced in Genesis 30 by Jacob’s wives): the wife would give a female slave to her husband, but any children born would be counted as the children of the wife (perhaps an ancient version of surrogacy). While this may have seemed like a workable solution for Abraham and Sarah, in actuality it caused more problems than it solved.
Hagar did conceive a child with Abraham. When Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to “despise” Sarah, and Sarah appealed to Abraham for help. Abraham told Sarah to do as she saw fit, so she began to mistreat Hagar, and Hagar ran away (Genesis 16:4–6).
The angel of the Lord found Hagar in the desert and told her to return to Sarah. He then told her about her yet unborn son: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord, has heard of your misery. [Ishmael means “God hears.”] He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:11–12). So Hagar went back and bore a son; Abraham was 86 years old.
In Genesis 21, Sarah’s son, Isaac, is born, and once again problems arise.
Sarah sees Ishmael mocking the young Isaac, and she demands action from Abraham: “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac” (verse 10).
The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, ‘Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also because he is your offspring’” (Genesis 21:11–13). Abraham gathered some provisions and sent Hagar and Ishmael away. After the provisions had been exhausted, Hagar and Ishmael were overcome with grief, assuming that they would die in the desert. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’ Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. (in the desert)So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink” (verses 17–19). Once again, God appeared to Hagar and promised that Ishmael will be a great nation. Finally, we are told that “God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt (verses 20–21).
LET ME SHARE ANOTHER FASCINATING BIBLICAL STORY.
At Gilboa, the Philistine army attached Israel and overcame them. Jonathan and his father, Saul, were viciously slain in battle. As news reached Israel, the royal staff scrambled out of fear. In the midst of the confusion, tragedy struck. Jonathan, son of Saul, had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth.” (2 Samuel 4:4)
Mephibosheth not only had to contend with crippling constraints, but he also had to grapple with being orphaned and alone. In many ways, his life was filled with disappointment and disaster. I think that many of us can identify with Mephibosheth. Where there was once tremendous promise, only disaster remained. One from a prestigious royal line had been forgotten. You don’t have to be physically maimed or fatherless to be overcome with feelings like this. In many ways, what I am talking about is the impact of the “orphan spirit.”
THE REALITY OF THE NEW KINGDOM
Years later, the subsequent king—David—wanted to determine whether there were survivors from Saul’s household that he might honour.”The king asked, “Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.” (2 Samuel 9:3-4). Mephibosheth was located and escorted back to the palace. In the ancient world, it was common to eradicate the entire bloodline of rivals. So, Mephibosheth was legitimately concerned about standing before the king.
But, David was motivated by Godly honour and love. He didn’t want Mephibosheth harmed; he wanted him restored.
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father, Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7).
Mephibosheth genuinely did not know what to do with the king’s abundant generosity.Mephibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’” (2 Samuel 9:8). When Mephibosheth says, “I’m a dog,” it confirms self-perceptions. He sincerely believed that he was merely a castoff of a fallen line.
Against the backdrop of the king’s goodness and grace, Mephibosheth’s distorted identity becomes evident.
THE ORPHAN SPIRIT
Ever since Adam and Eve were alienated from God the Father in the Garden of Eden, an orphan spirit has permeated the earth, causing untold damage!
By “orphan,” I am referring to a sense of:
Almost immediately after the fall in Eden, the fruit of this orphan spirit resulted in jealousy, culminating in Cain murdering his brother Abel because God the Father didn’t receive Cain’s offering. To make matters worse, in contemporary society, with the breakup of the nuclear family, large numbers of people are not only alienated from God but are brought up without the LOVING CARE AND SECURITY of their biological fathers.
Fathers, you are representing the fathering aspect of God to your children.
• Unconditional love
You must ensure that your child grows up with a HEALTHY PERSPECTIVE OF WHO GOD IS, by virtue of how you represent God. I believe all of the EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL ILLS of society can be traced to HUMANS FEELING ALIENATED from God and their biological fathers.
Orphaned men have a hard time connecting to:
• their spouses,
• their children,
• those in authority at church and work.
They also have a hard time accepting and loving themselves. There are presently millions of men in prison who are acting out lives of violence and rebellion because their earthly fathers abandoned them. The Only Way To Break This Orphan Spirit Is For Us To Be Filled With A Sense Of The Father’s Love In Christ.
THE ORPHAN SPIRIT IS PERHAPS THE GREATEST CURSE ON THE EARTH TODAY.
Only when a person is HEALED OF FATHERLESSNESS through the love of God is the orphan spirit broken so they can begin the process of entering mature sonship. Sonship is so important that all creation is presently crying out for the manifestation of the mature sons of God (Rom. 8:19)!
FEELING LIKE AN ORPHAN CAN BE DEBILITATING.
It has to do with sensing in your heart that you have:
• No real heritage,
• No sense of security in feeling protected
• No inheritance,
• No one really cares about your destiny.
Most people affected with the orphan spirit also feel and fear abandonment.
HOW CAN ONE GET FREE FROM THE ORPHAN SPIRIT??
This is a fundamental question that virtually everyone is forced to answer.
• You don’t have to be fatherless to find yourself gripped with the debilitating “spirit of an orphan.”
• Those who are entrapped in this disposition are always striving to prove their worth.
• They believe that everything is a fight and are fearful that their efforts will never be adequate.
“Spiritual orphans” often get trapped in a performance mode and insist that advancement will only come through hard work.
This common outlook obscures the significance of relationship and inheritance.
· Orphans struggle with feelings of inadequacy.
· Orphans are compelled to strive to get anything.
· Orphans continually compare themselves with others.
· Orphans secretly compete with people around them.
· Orphans are always trying to do something that gives a sense of validation.
· Orphans are haunted by rejection and failure.
LIKE ONE OF THE KING’S SONS
Mephibosheth—a crippled orphan—was forced to contend with the inexplicable fact that there was something more.
An incredible offer was being presented. “Then David summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (2 Samuel 9:5-10)
David was restoring the identity and value of Mephibosheth. The gracious king not only reinstated his fortune but also treated him as one of his family members. “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons” (2 Samuel 9:11).
I believe this is a prophetic allegory.
WE LIVE IN A SEASON WHERE GOD IS RESTORING IDENTITY AND INHERITANCES.
• He wants to make you “like one of the king’s sons.”
• The question is whether you’re willing to take a seat at the table?
• Despite your frailties and fears, you can no longer allow yourself to be gripped by the orphan spirit.
GOD’S INTENTION OF FATHERHOOD
What is God’s plan for His people? It is for them to be His “family.” Family is God’s idea because He ordained and designed it: “I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”
(2 Corinthians 6:18).
God is the Father of an entire great family which includes all those who name Jesus Christ as Lord.
Paul the apostle’s affectionate prayer for his beloved Ephesians states, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14).
God is the Father from whom all fatherhood derives its meaning and inspiration.
We have to understand His fatherhood –His love, forgiveness and acceptance –if we are to understand healthy family relationships. Unfortunately, today’s generation has a warped understanding of Fatherhood because fathers have often abused their authority or have been absent, causing a breach of trust and security. This is an area in which many continues to struggle after coming to Christ. With poor role models in the world, God’s people, the church of Jesus Christ, must start to model an example of God’s intention for family.
No longer can we live independently of each other. God wants to restore fathering to the kingdom of God.
A spiritual father is like a natural father.The importance of fathers in a family is to bring strength, stability and balance to the family.
A natural father is meant to be a protector, counsellor, and guide to his children. Natural children are envisioned to grow up secure in the father’s love and guidance. If they lack a healthy father role model, these children cannot achieve their destiny. “Fatherlessness is the most destructive trend of our generation.”
RESTORING A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY
God’s heart is to take a generation that has been cursed by a breakdown of family relationships and rebuild trust.
Jesus came to restore broken relationships: the relationship between God and man and the relationship between fathers and sons.
WE ARE ALL UP FOR ADOPTION
For as many as received Him gave he the power to become…………….No matter how perfect our background and childhood, we only find our full worth as children of the Father. The gift of the Spirit of God to us does so much more than healing and tongues. It changes our nature, names and home.
THIS IS MY FINAL ILLUSTRATION.
Jephthah was the illegitimate son of Gilead and a prostitute. His half brothers say to him, ”You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman” (Judges 11). The orphan spirit entered him in that moment.
• Disinherited, rejected and wounded in the house of his father.
• Jephthah fled, and the Lord brought to him, like He did for David, an army.
• Then Ammon invaded Israel and the elders came to him, begging for help.
• They invited him back and accepted him as leader.
Japhthah could have said, “But you drove me out, you hated me,” but he rose above that orphan voice.
He defeated the Ammonites, and Ephraimites (42,000 of them) and became judge over Israel for six years.
No wonder Hebrews 11:32 says he was a man who ”conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises”. He overcame the orphan spirit and embraced his destiny.
“For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father! The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”(Romans 8:15-17)
“Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ …” (Ephesians 1:3-5)