Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #172
TEXT: Psalm 139:14-16
On this Father’s Day, I want to share with you from the word of God a brief message on the illegitimate fathers of the Bible. Society has historically referred to “illegitimate children” as the product of sex between a man and a woman who are not married to each other. However, when we really think about it, we know that there are no illegitimate children — the children are a gift from God. It is the parents who are illegitimate. Pastor Rick Warren said, ‘A birth is no mistake or mishap; a life is no fluke of nature. The parents may not have planned for the child, but God did. He was not at all surprised by the child’s birth. In fact, He expected it.”
As we read in Psalm 139, God knows all of us before we are born. He knows every part of us — how our bodies are fashioned, how our minds work, and how we should fulfill our purpose in life. So, the birth of a child is never a mistake. That child is a gift from God. It is the parents who are in fact illegitimate.
Our society today is impacted by an epidemic of illegitimate fathers — men who contribute biologically to the birth of a child, but who do not contribute spiritually, morally, or physically to the life of that child or that child’s mother. It has gotten so bad that, last month, a court in Ohio had to order a man not to have sex anymore until he pays nearly $100,000 in child support for the four children that he already has. According to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, 40% of all children are born out of wedlock. In the Black community, that number is 74%. That means there are a whole lot of illegitimate fathers in our country. Statistics also show that in the Black community, 67% of Black children are growing up in a single parent home or in a home where they have one biological parent and a cohabiting adult. So, that shows us that very few of the men who father a child out of wedlock choose to marry the mother of that child later on. This happens for various reasons. One reason is because many unwed mothers try to use the children as weapons to get back at the man. Another reason is because the man simply does not have a job, an education, or any wherewithal to take care of the mother and the child. To make matters worse, an online survey revealed that 33% of unmarried men who have fathered children lie to women they are trying to date and say they do not have any children. Be that as it may, the point is that there are a whole lot of illegitimate parents in our society.
And since it is Father’s Day, we are going to focus on men and see what we can learn from the illegitimate fathers of the Bible.
1. The first illegitimate father we are going to look at is Abraham. Now, all of us respect Abraham as the father of the Jewish race. He was a man who had the faith to follow God even when he did not know where he would end up. However, Abraham was an illegitimate father. Even though his wife encouraged him to do it and even though God had already promised him a son, Abraham committed adultery with his wife’s Egyptian maid, Hagar, and a son, Ishmael, was born.
2. The second illegitimate father we are going to look at is Judah. Judah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob and the patriarch of the tribe of Judah which we read so much about in the Old Testament. The Bible tells us that Judah married a Canaanite woman and they had three sons together. The oldest son got married to a woman named Tamar. However, the Bible tells us that this son displeased the Lord and so God killed him, and Tamar was left a childless widow.
3. The third illegitimate father who we will look at is David. Yes, David, the man after God’s own heart, the psalmist of Israel, and a mighty man of valor, was an illegitimate father. We all know his story well. He took another man’s wife, had her husband killed, and hid it until the prophet Nathan confronted him about it. In Second Samuel 11:27, we read that after her husband was killed, “David sent and fetched her [Bathsheba] to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” As punishment, God allowed the first child that David had with Bathsheba to die. David fasted and prayed and pleaded with God to let the child live, but God did not do so.
The principle that we learn from these illegitimate fathers of the Bible is the same: You cannot violate God’s word and have sex outside of marriage and escape the consequences. While our society may not frown upon it like it used to, God still frowns upon it. Fathering a child with no intention of taking care of and loving that child is heinous. If you are an illegitimate father, I encourage you to do the right thing by God and by your children. As someone once said, “Being a father is the most important role you will ever play and if you don’t do it well, nothing else you do really matters.”
MUSICAL SELECTION: “Press On” by Building 429 and “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobbs