Confusion characterizes those who don’t know whose they are.
In 2005 W. Bradford Wilcox wrote an insightful article about donor conception for The Weekly Standard called “Who’s Your Daddy? (There’s more to fatherhood than donating DNA)” where he associates confusion with fatherlessness:
But there are good reasons to worry about this latest manifestation of fatherlessness. Listening directly to the voices of donor-conceived children should give us pause. Kyle Pruett, a psychiatrist working at the Yale Child Study Center, reports in a recent book that such children have an unmet "hunger for an abiding paternal presence." He quotes one girl as saying, "Mommy, what did you do with my daddy? You know I need a daddy or I can't be a child." A story in the New York Times last month reported that donor-conceived children check out strange men to see if they match the physical traits of their donor dads. "It'll always run through my mind whether he meets the criteria to be my dad or not," said JoEllen, a girl from Russell, Pennsylvania.
Since the Fall everyman, at the core of his being, experiences the alienation from the One who created him—fatherlessness. As the children in the above article need and hunger to know their father, so we are created to know our Heavenly Father. Without restoration of that relationship we too will experience similar confusion and disconnection. We were made to know Whose we are.
God does not leave man without hope of identity-shaping relationship. He gives hope to those who dare to believe His promise of redemption (Genesis 3:15) and His picture of redemption (3:21). His promise and picture of redemption are for anyone and everyone who believes. He “administers justice for the fatherless” (Deut. 10:19).
In the first generation after the Fall Abel believes, Cain doesn’t. Sadly, ten generations after the Fall only Noah believes and God rescues him and his family in a do-over as He destroys every living thing in the global flood.
Ten generations after the flood God introduces Himself to Abram and promises through him to produce a people-group of believers. To Abram’s descendants God reveals Himself as Father—and bestows upon this people a God-based identity when He calls Moses to bring out “My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10).
The first generation of the liberated-Israelite-slaves fail to embrace Whose they are and die in the wilderness.
Moses addresses the do-over second generation in Deuteronomy 14:1-2: “You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut ourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the people who are on the face of the earth.”
God gives these former slaves (who were born in Egypt, but grew up in the wilderness), a new identity:
They are the children of the LORD.
They are a holy people to the LORD.
They are chosen by God as His own people.
They are a special treasure above all the people on the face of the earth.
A number of truths regarding covenant-identity emerge as the story continues to unfold:
- Those who understand Whose they are fear Him, walk in all of His ways to love Him, to serve Him with all of their heart and with all of their soul, and to keep His commandments and and statutes (Deut. 10:12-14).
- Those who fail to grasp Whose they are spend their lives wandering in a wilderness.
- Those who fail to appropriate Whose they are abandon all that God has for them in the future.
- Those who understand Whose they are are cannot live as others do. This relationship with God requires separation from rites and rituals practiced by those whose religion is based on What they do rather than Whose they are.
- Although this God-based identity separates Israel from all others, it is open to anyone who dares to enter into this covenant between God and Israel. Therefore, those who hear and believe the message of relationship obtained through the covenant of redemption—the covenant promised to the Seed of Eve and the Seed of Abraham—become as Israel, “a holy people”, “a special treasure above all the people on the face of the earth.”