Yes, Baba. Sani took the bag of rice from his father’s hands and made his way through the bustling streets of Niamey, Niger, to the home of a recently widowed neighbor. Baba was a devout Muslim and good father, working hard to provide for the family. He also cared for the well-being of their community, especially those in need. Maybe that’s why so many men come by each day asking Baba questions. Sani sometimes overheard those conversations, soaking in Baba’s wise counsel from the next room. His heart was full of love and admiration for his father and the many lessons he was learning from him about life and faith. I want to be like him when I grow up.
In Isaiah’s time, the father was the head of the household, responsible for ensuring the care of his family. Israel’s kings were considered “fathers” of the nation. In this context, it’s little wonder the Bible uses so much imagery to describe God as a good father. He provides for and protects His people. He leads with wisdom, discipline and love. He defines Israel’s identity, creates a place of belonging and promises a future inheritance. Scripture also teaches that God the Father is especially attentive to the needs of widows, orphans and other vulnerable members of society.
Isaiah points to the birth of a son—a coming king who would be named, among other titles, Everlasting Father. This king would reflect all the qualities of a good father. He would be reliable and steadfast in his leadership. His protection and provision would endure over time and throughout generations.
Christians find the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Jesus, the Son of God sent to earth as “the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15 NLT). He leads us to reconciled relationship with God the Father. And He reconciles humans to each other, creating a new family in which all people find a place of belonging. Through Jesus, we’re able to see the Father (John 14:8–11) and claim our inheritance as daughters and sons of God (2 Corinthians 6:18).
Just as Sani experienced the love of a good father, take time today to remember your identity as God’s beloved child. Thank Him for giving you a place of belonging, and pray for families like Sani’s to encounter the love of the Everlasting Father through Jesus.