Yesterday we celebrated Father’s Day. While I’m not yet a father I do have a father of my own. My dad is great and he’s been a tremendous influence in my life. He passed on his faith to me, taught me how to tie a tie and took me to Las Vegas – a lot. I love my dad. He can go toe-to-toe with these best biblical fathers and he’s way better than these worst biblical fathers.
Abraham may not have been the best father to Ishmael; Abraham sent Ishmael away to make Sarah happy. Abraham was a great father to Isaac, though. Isaac was Abraham’s child of promise but Abraham was willing to let Isaac go because of his faith in God. Isaac probably freaked out when his dad was about to kill him. Hopefully later in his life, though, Isaac was able to see his father’s deep faith in God. Abraham passed that faith to his son, which is one of the most important tasks for parents.
Joseph isn’t nearly as famous as his wife but he is still a great father. We’re not told much about Joseph after Jesus is born. From what we do know about Joseph, though, he must have showed Jesus what it was like to live as a man of integrity. Before the angel visits Joseph, Joseph decides to preserve Mary’s reputation and quietly divorce her when she gets pregnant. Joseph had every right to subtweet about Mary’s infidelity and publicly change his status from “Engaged” to “Single”. He didn’t do that, though. He acted with integrity, something that he undoubtedly modeled for his adopted son.
In spite of his position as a synagogue official, Jairus still approached Jesus when his daughter was sick and dying. Jesus wasn’t that popular with the religious establishment but Jairus loved his daughter enough to risk his reputation by approaching Jesus. I don’t have kids yet but I do love my reputation and I probably care too much what others think about me. I hope if given the opportunity, I will sacrifice my own reputation for the sake of my children; like Batman sacrificing his reputation for the good of Gotham. I also wouldn’t mind having the Batmobile, any iteration of it.
Jacob had one of the worst biblical mothers so it’s no surprise that he ended up being one of the worst biblical fathers. Rebekah played favorites and the sins of the mother were definitely passed onto the son, Jacob. Jacob had 12 sons and his favorite was Joseph. And it’s not like Jacob kept this to himself; he made sure everyone knew about it. He even bought Joseph a Technicolor dream coat just so there wouldn’t be any doubts about who was the favorite child. Shockingly enough, Jacob’s favoritism toward Joseph created strife in their family.
Eli was Israel’s priest. He did a great job shepherding God’s people but he couldn’t control his sons, Hophni and Phineas, at all. Hophni and Phineas served as priests but would steal the food people sacrificed to God. God punished Eli and his entire house because of his sons’ wickedness. Perhaps Eli was the best father and his sons just chose to be scoundrels; unfortunately that happens. I certainly don’t want my children to go astray but I know that has as much to do with God’s grace as it does parenting acumen. So I’m going to try and be the best father I can but I’m also going to pray a lot. I don’t want scoundrel kids, unless they’re lovable scoundrels like Han and Lando.
David did everything in his life passionately. He loved God passionately but he also sinned passionately. God punished David’s sin by creating unrest in his house. Keeping up with the King would have been Israel’s most popular reality TV show all about the dysfunctional royal family. David’s family was full of rape, murder and revolt. David could have prevented all the dysfunction in his family if he had just avoided temptation. The sins of a father impact his children, which should be more than enough motivation for father’s to pursue Christ and flee from sin.
As I said, my dad was a lot more like the best fathers than the worst. I can only hope and pray that the same will be true of me. No fathers are perfect, though, so it’s great that we have a perfect Heavenly Father.
Who are some of your favorite biblical fathers?