|It's kind of hard to see this picture, but it's a picture of Dad and me retrieving a bee swarm from a tree.|
John the baptist, a single man that lived in the wilderness and subsisted on what he could find (which included honey), had a message to deliver to fathers. It was not a message of being positive to make yourself happy. It was a message of duty to God and fulfilling his word. It was not a message of how to survive when raising toddlers or getting through the teenage years, but a command for the fathers to take up their duty to love their children. He was telling the fathers to come home and not put the focus on themselves. The Hebrews were in a position where they were picking up the practices of the people around them. The Romans had been picking up the practices of the Greeks that they conquered and the Hebrews were in this Greco-Roman influence. Children were not as close to their parents as they had been in earlier generations. Like our industrial age, they had an age that focused on getting ahead and fulfilling their own dreams in power and industry where people became just human resources, and children were getting in the way. Some of the outworking of this included limiting family size, infanticide and sending the children to tutors other than the parents. One factor that poised a real threat to the Roman Republic was the people were so self-consumed that they didn't have enough children to support the floundering empire. The Greco-Roman society they were in had lost its value for real relationships.
Contrast this to the ancient Hebrews. The Hebrews were largely shepherds that lived off the land. They gained this occupation from their fathers. They needed large families to be successful in their farm life and recognized the value of working together as families. Children were seen as being very valuable. God had shown them the importance of family by working with them as one great family and reminding them of how He helped their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
John first gave the command to the fathers as they hold great great responsibility, but then turned to the sons and reminded them of their responsibility to have a good relationship with their fathers. He then let them know that without their hearts turning to each other that there would be a curse to be reckoned with.
John the Baptist had a job to call the fathers and the sons to repentance that they would be prepared to hear Jesus Christ. Some of John's disciples became Christ's disciples and had become familiar with the message of reconciliation.
John came in the spirit of Elijah and showed a selfish generation how to be reconciled to each other and then to God. He let his disciples know that Jesus must increase, but he must decrease. His message remains for every generation.
Safely Home by Tom Eldredge
A short biography of John the Baptist: