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A View from the Altar / Our Father, who is no redneck
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Our Father, who is no redneck

God is a Father who provides.  When Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah and Isaac asked why there was no lamb, Abraham replied, God will provide.  (Gen 22:8)  In one sense, the whole Bible is all about God’s provision for us.  Christians of yesteryear beholding God’s numberless gifts for us grouped all his goodness under the collective name of Providence.  The psalmist spoke of God’s benefits toward us, a word we can relate to very well these days.  Some employers offer benefits while others, whether by necessity or otherwise, get by cheaper — no benefits.  But our heavenly Father daily loads us with them.  (Psa 68:19)

Jesus spoke of sorry providers as something almost unthinkable.  Which of you whose child asked bread would give him a rock, or if he asked for fish would give him a snake?  God, he said, knows how to give good things to those who ask him.  He prepared David a table in the presence of his enemies, and David’s cup ran over.

When the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, he made sure their clothes and shoes never wore out.  He supplied Elijah through ravens and a brook, fed the 5000 and the 4000, and fed the widow and her son through the meal and oil that never ran out.   The meal was the bread of life and the oil was the Holy Spirit, both of which are our inexhaustible supply in salvation, both proceeding boundlessly from the Father.  I also see here an example of God caring for our temporal needs.  He is a Father who provides.

The biblical model of the home works along the same line.  Husbands and fathers should provide, and what they provide should be good as God accounts goodness, which is not just abundance, but abundance guided by wisdom.  At a minimum that means Dad is responsible to provide a table and bread to set on it.  One of the skanky, shiftless, lowdown, cretin characteristics of redneck culture is the tendency for its men to let their wives provide for them.  Numberless men spent their youth snorting around in a pickup truck, drinking, spitting tobacco, and beating up hippies.  When they begin to feel like settling down, they find a lonely woman and move in to her house, begin eating her bread at her table hoping to sleep in her bed and spend her money.  Women tempted by loneliness to take up with such a man are better off with a dog, which is more faithful and eats less, never bums money, doesn’t drink, and won’t transmit syphilis.

Here’s an opportunity for Christian homes to demonstrate godliness in a quiet yet unmistakable way, especially in the South where a redneck can be considered a good old boy despite being a complete waste of protein.  The church should be comprised of homes where fathers provide, good things abundant and wise, and demonstrate something of life as God intended it.  Rednecks freeloading on working women are not Christian; they don’t even qualify as men.

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