From Fathers to Their Children {Psalm 139}

By Jessica Wolstenholm

Next up in our guest blog series about celebrating & encouraging fathers in the month of June is a post from Jesse Smith, who blogs at

I’m not sure who put the little headings at the beginning of sections of scripture, but sometimes I think they got it wrong. In the NIV, Psalm 139 says “For the Director of Music” as the heading…I wonder if “From Fathers to Their Children” would be a better heading.

I have two boys and I desperately want them to understand how much God loves them and that they have a place in His story; how can I help them be more like Christ is consistently at the front of my thoughts (okay, I’m human and often have me at the front of my thoughts, but I want that to be one of my primary thoughts!).

Psalm 139 begins by acknowledging the Lord knows us, he has searched us. I can’t know my child’s inner thoughts, but I can ask.

My first step in this journey was to begin to ask them about their heart. We read Proverbs 4:23 which tells us to guard their heart and I’ve used that verse most of their lives to ask them questions at bed time: Did anybody break a promise to you? (That can be a rough reminder for me.) Are you mad at anyone? Essentially, how is your heart? You can read more about our heart checks on my blog.

Mid-way the psalm describes that God knit us together and we are wonderfully made.

After years of heart checks, I knew simply checking their heart wasn’t the only thing to do, it was a perfect opportunity to speak into their heart – my wife and I began to bless them. It was odd for us because we were not blessed as children; what would we say, how would it work?

Near the end of Numbers 6 God told Moses how to bless the Israelites so that seemed like a reasonable place to start. Now, all of the blessings for our youngest must mention “the shiny face”. It has also been incredible to see how important this has become to them. We still struggle with what to say at times, but I can tell that the blessings are speaking to their inmost being.

The psalmist continues by speaking about how precious God’s thoughts are, which brings me to the hardest part of fatherhood: shaping their worldview. Our children, as are we, are bombarded by a culture that is trying to shape the way they see the world. Culture desperately wants them to see man as the center and it is imperative that they see a loving Creator as the center – they were made by God and for God. The battle with worldview can’t be fully explored in a closing section but we must help our children know that even though they are the crowning glory of God’s creation, Christ is to have preeminence and supremacy in our lives.

As you ponder these thoughts this Father’s day, I wish you the best in your parenting. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in fatherhood, read Psalm 139:7-12 and rest in the knowledge that God is with you, you couldn’t hide even if you wanted.

Jesse and his wife (of 20 years!) are homeschooling parents raising two sons in the suburbs of Chicago. Jesse is a graduate of Bethel Seminary and serves as the Pastor of Children and Families in Wauconda, IL. You can follow him on twitter (@JesseMax) or read more of his writing on his blog, Coffee With Dad.