Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
June 21, 2015 at 10:45 AM
Subject
The Grieving Yet Praying Father
Description
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday June 21, 2015
The Grieving yet Praying Father
“ Take now thou, thine only son Isaac...and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains while I will tell thee of.” Gen. 22:2
Today is the third annually observed family focused 
worship service. It is known as Father’s Day. This occasion 
engenders less sentimentality, fewer cards, a gift or two 
instead of flowers, less commercial advertising than is the 
activities for Mother’s Day. 
The sermon for this 2015 Father’s Day has been 
entitled, The Grieving yet Believing Father. It will include 
the following three considerations, namely: the traditional 
father image, the grieving father, and the grieving and 
believing father. 
Since the word grieving is a component of the subject, 
it is deemed appropriate to briefly elaborate on grieving. 
This word denotes the act of experiencing a lingering 
psychological feeling hurt, loneliness, regret caused 
by illness, accident, death, or lingering worry about 
personal life experiences. Grieving is generally caused 
by or associated with losses, especially those caused by 
death. Clinical and pastoral counselors report of a type 
of grieving known as anticipatory grieving which describes 
a situation in which a person, knowing the terminal 
condition of another, commences to experiences emotions 
as if the individual had already expired. 
The media sources are becoming increasing saturated 
coverage of another type of grieving known as cooperate 
grieving, the most recent setting at the writing of this 
sermon is the church shooting in Charleston, SC. 
As with life in general, grieving - although highly 
emotional and energy draining - must be endured and those 
grieving individuals will need to seek to mend the broken 
vessels in their life. The urgency of this need leads to the 
earlier specified components of this sermon, the first of 
which is - The Father Image. As a prelude to analyzing the 
Father image, a few observations on some types of 
Fathers are herein submitted. There is God, the Heavenly 
Father who is superior to all other fathers. On the Religious 
strata, there is Pope Francis, the Holy Father of Catholicism. 
After Pentecost, the Apostles were known as the Apostolic 
Fathers and during the 2nd through the 4th Centuries the 
religious leaders were known as the Church Fathers. Within 
the non religious arena, there were designation of fathers 
that included the Father of our Country, there was the head 
of the maffia known as the God Father and there is the 
Guard Father who assumes some responsibility in helping 
with the responsibilities in rearing a child. Against this 
synopsis of selective father types, attention will now be 
directed to the first concern of the sermon which is The 
Father Image. The word, father, brings to mind a masculine 
individual who has procreated himself. He is viewed as 
being a masculine individual, robust, brave, and protective. 
He is a provider, defender, arbitrator, and highly visible in 
the family. The father, further, provides motivation, 
direction, and encouragement for the family. When needed, 
the father administers discipline within Biblical and legal 
guidelines. Finally, the Father is the religious leader for the 
family. This overview on father leads to the next aspect 
which is The Grieving Father. While the father is expected 
to be stoic and steadfast, he is nonetheless an human with 
biological, psychological, and pyscho social characteristics. 
It, therefore, follows that the father maybe trapped in the 
dilemma between the stoic giant and the emotional human 
being. Within such a situation, the father has experiences 
that engenders grief but is expected to conceal his hurts. 
While this paradox is not specifically labeled as such in the 
Bible, there are grief producing experiences of fathers 
therein included. The first father, Adam, experienced a 
grief producing situation when his son Cain killed Abel his 
brother. Yet there is no record of Adam’s grieving. In 
contrast, there is the account of David grieving over the 
death of his son Absalom who had earlier sought to kill 
him. How emotionally touching are David’s words of 
grief - “...the king ( David ) cried with a loud voice, O my 
son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son” ( 2nd Sam. 19:4 ). 
Between Adam and David was a father who was given a 
divine order that would cause grief and, yet, he made plans 
to carry out the responsibility. That biblical narrative will be 
the third - and final point - of the sermon; it is The Grieving 
and yet believing father. Beloved, this emotionally 
draining narrative focuses on Abraham’s order from God. 
It is found in Genesis 22:1-14 and, in this sermon, is 
submitted for both individual and family reading. As brief 
background, God ordered Abram to “Get thee out of thy 
country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s 
house, unto a land that I will shew thee” (1). He complied, 
had a series of widely different experiences, received two 
covenants from God, and sought to always comply with 
directives from God. 
Much to his dismay, Abraham received an order from 
God to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice on a mountain 
the he would designate. To fulfill this divine order would 
cause an host of consequences that included killing, 
grief, loneliness - to mention but a few of the outcomes. 
Yet as the Bible notes “ Abraham believed God...” so he 
commenced planning to carry out his assignment. He arose 
early, got Isaac up, they collected and packed the required 
equipment and headed to the mountain. In the meantime, 
Abraham was doubtlessly experiences a condition known 
as anticipatory grief - i.e. mentally imagining how one will 
feel after of death of a person before the actual death 
occurs. This mental set was further intensified when 
Isaac inquired, “...but where is the lamb for the burnt 
offering?”. While grieving, Abraham yet believed for he 
said unto Isaac. “My Son, God will provide himself a 
lamb for the burnt offering. Following that statement of 
both faith and assurance, the two of them went to the place 
where God had ordered, commence to build the altar, bound 
and laid Isaac on the altar, and “took out a knife to slay his 
son.” The narratives continues, thus is tell that “And the 
angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven and said, 
Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.” And he said, 
lay not thine him upon the lad...and Abraham looked, and 
behold...a ram caught in the thicket by his horns...and 
Abraham offered the ram as the sacrifice. Beloved, this 
biblical narrative has contemporary implications for the 
whole of Christendom. Admittedly, the human sojourn 
is filled with heart breaking experiences, failures, illnesses, 
injustices, and encounters with mean spirited people. Our 
responses, I feel, is to be prayerful, have courage, and 
even in disappointment, like Abraham grieve and yet believe 
that God has a ram in the thicket for your relief. Amen! 
Happy Father’s Day 2015.
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