The last book in the Hebrew Bible closes with a prophecy concerning a divine messenger who would someday come and “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.” When the hearts of fathers were turned away from their children and the eternal welfare of their children, the culture was in deep trouble. The same was true when the hearts of children were cold and embittered toward their parents. Where are the hearts of the fathers and the children turned in our culture today?
The minds of many fathers in our western culture are turned away from their children’s best interests. In our nation, 24.7 million children live without their biological father. Twenty-six percent of absent fathers live in a different state from their children. Very often, out of sight means out of mind. Many fathers who either live with their children or visit regularly with their
children are emotionally absent. The culture has turned their minds toward material gain, or personal pleasure, or sexual indulgence, or selfish pursuit of recreational escape. In such cases, children are left only with a selfish
example and the influence of an ungodly culture.
God wants to turn the hearts of the fathers toward their children. He wants to convict fathers about their responsibility and cause fathers to commit themselves to loving, leading, and guiding their children in the direction of God’s will. Fathers who allow their hearts to be turned will put their children at a high level of priority in their time and attention. These fathers will systematically talk with their children, interact with their children, teach their children, correct their children, and try to set a godly example for their children as they involve their children in what is right.
The minds of many children in our culture are turned away from their fathers. Many children are angry and embittered by fathers who have neglected them, abused them, or made their lives miserable because of their own selfish desires. Many children are taught by T.V. culture to consider their fathers bumbling buffoons who don’t have a clue about what is best.
God wants to turn the hearts of the children toward the fathers. He wants to convict children through his word that they should obey their parents, respect the role of parents as given to them by God, and honor their parents in their old age. God wants to cultivate a sense of responsibility toward parents.
Unless the hearts of fathers and children could be turned, God promised that he would come and “smite the land with a curse.” He did this when Jerusalem was destroyed in the first century by the Romans. Perhaps he would do it again in our day if hearts do not turn. Where are the hearts of the fathers in our church family today? Where are the hearts of the children? Will we allow our hearts to be turned by God’s word when they need to be turned?