The glory of children is their fathers.
— (Proverbs 17:6b)
Examples of Good Fathers in the Bible
Fathers play a very important role in the family. A role ordained by God. God is our Father, He is the preeminent One, Lord, and Master. God, the Father is the ultimate example for earthly fathers. They are to teach, train, admonish, love, discipline, care for, protect, and be compassionate and forgiving to their children. They are to lead the whole family by example.
There are probably more fathers in the bible who didn't rise to their responsibility. But here are several exemplary fathers in the bible.
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
— (Luke 15:20)
Father of the Prodigal Son
The story of the prodigal son is a parable. The father and his two sons weren't actual people, but the prodigal's father was a picture of God the Father full of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
A father's younger rebel son demanded his inheritance while his father still lived. The father gave it to him despite knowing he was likely to spend it irresponsibly. And so the boy did. He left town and blew it all on partying and prostitutes. When his money ran out his friends disappeared. When there was a famine in the land, the young man decided to go back in humility and humiliation, confess his sin to his father, and ask to work as a servant, because he knew he wasn't worthy to reassume his role of son.
We read that when the boy was a long way off, the father ran to meet him. For a man to run in such a manner was considered undignified but he didn't care. When he got to his son he threw his arms around him and kissed him. The word for kissed means to kiss much, kiss again and again, kiss tenderly (Strong's 2705). In other words, he smothered him with kisses. He cried out with joy, "My son was lost but now he's found." Rebellious children are still around, breaking their father's hearts and making them angry. When they come to their senses, many fathers are not so forgiving. Some will shun their child or lash out at them. But the prodigal's father did not chew him out and reject him. The son came in repentance. Rather he threw his robe on his son's back, a gesture to honor the boy as his son again. He gave him a ring and a new set of clothes and threw a party of celebration for the son. All these to say, "Welcome home, son. No way are you my servant, you are my son."
When the older brother found out he was angry and sullen. He had been an obedient son and his brother was a spoiled ungrateful wretch. Why was his father treating him so kindly? The father didn't apologize and try to make nice. He was direct and lovingly but firmly told him that he was always his son and all that he had was his. The father in this parable represents God the Father. He is also an example of what a father should be. A good example, generous with his love, kindness, and forgiveness.
There once was a man named Job...He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them.
— (Job 1:1-, 4-5)
Job was a blameless man, above reproach. He feared God and shunned evil. He was the wealthiest and most honorable man in the east. Job was blessed with seven sons and three daughters (Job 1:2-3). No man could have been a better example of godliness.
In Job 1:4-5, we read about how Job's children often got together to feast. They apparently loved one another well. When they were done, Job would always consecrate them to God, pray for them, and got up early every morning after they'd been together and offer sacrifices for each child, in case they had sinned or cursed God. Verse 5 ends with the words, "Thus Job did regularly."
Job was a concerned and committed father who cared deeply for the souls of his children. So concerned was he that he prayed for them regularly.
Sadly, Job's children were all killed at one of their parties from an attack by the Sabeans. He suffered terribly at those losses but accepted them as God's will. At the end of the book of Job, God gave him ten more children - seven sons and three daughters. He gave his daughters part of his inheritance to make sure they were taken care of. Job lived to see his kids and grandkids to the fourth generation.
A good father prays for his children and lives above reproach.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly...Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
— (Matthew 1:19, 24)
Joseph, Earthly Father of Jesus
Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus. He was an honorable man, a faithful Jew and man of God, a devoted husband, and earthly father to Jesus, and his biological children who came after Jesus.
Joseph was strong under fire because of his faith in God. When he didn't know what to do, God came to him in dreams and without question, did what God told him to do.
While he and Mary were betrothed, Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit and Joseph was devastated. He wanted to break the betrothal, but because he loved Mary, he planned to do it quietly. He didn't want to publicly shame her; that's extraordinary evidence of his character and love for Mary. But still, he was hurt. While he struggled, God came to him in a dream, telling him that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, would be the Son of God, and he was to go ahead and marry Mary. We don't read that he questioned or challenged God. He just obeyed. He knew the cost, but because He loved and trusted God, and Mary, and married her.
He took great care of Mary when they went to Bethlehem for the census. She was well into her pregnancy and the city was swollen with humanity. One can only imagine what it was like for him when Mary was ready to deliver and they had to do it in a stable, with no midwife.
Joseph faithfully took young Jesus to present Him to the Lord in the temple and made the sacrifices required by the Law. While there, two remarkable people appeared and confirmed that Jesus was the Holy One through their prophecies, Simeon and Anna (Luke 2).What awe Joseph and Mary felt. He understood what a responsibility it was to raise the Son of God.
Later, Herod plotted to kill all the boy children two and under in Bethlehem in order to destroy young Jesus, the Messiah. God came to Joseph in a dream a second time and told him to take his wife and son immediately to Egypt. They fled that night and went to live in Egypt not knowing if they would ever be able to return home to Nazareth.
When Herod died, God told him in a dream to bring his family back and settle in Nazareth. He never doubted or resisted. We don't read that he was afraid. He had no reason to doubt after God kept all His promises. They went back to their backwater village of Nazareth. They had children. Joseph and Mary didn't raise Jesus as a superstar or spoil Him. They lived a normal life. Teaching Jesus and his brothers the law and teaching Jesus the trade of carpentry and responsibility.
In Jesus' twelfth year, he brought Jesus to Jerusalem for the first time to celebrate Passover. Jesus was coming of age and Joseph took responsibility for his son to participate in the Jewish religious observances. He didn't leave Jesus at home to hold down the fort in his absence. When they left Jerusalem, somehow Jesus got left behind. They traveled in a caravan and probably thought he was around with the other kids. Was Joseph irresponsible? I think not. It was meant to be, as it turned out. It was in the temple they found Jesus one day talking with the teachers of the law, amazing everyone —his mother and father as well—with His great knowledge and wisdom. Still, Mary and Joseph were shaken up and Mary scolded Him. He said without missing a beat, "Did you not know I had to be in my Father's house?" Joseph and Mary did not understand, but they took him home without further incident. Mary pondered this I am sure, but Joseph probably did too.
That is the last story of Joseph. It is generally thought that He died before Jesus left home and began his ministry.
Joseph modeled humility, kindness, strength, integrity, and obedience. He made sacrifices for his family. And under fire and met with challenges, he didn't break. He listened, trusted, and obeyed God and loved his wife and children with all his heart.
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
— (Hebrews 11:7)
Noah was a fine specimen of a father. As a man, he had an exemplary faith, was blameless, and he found favor with God. Because all the people on the earth were wicked, godless, and unrepentant, God told him to build a monstrous ark and that one day there would be a great flood to wipe everyone off the planet, except Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives, and the animals. Up until that time, it had never rained on the earth, yet he trusted. The bible says, "Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him" (Genesis 6:22).
Here he was surrounded by desperately evil people, no one to look up to or be taken seriously. He must have been mocked and reviled for his faith and obedience to God. They must have laughed when they watched him build the ark and heard him tell them why he was building it if he did tell them. A building project of that enormity must have brought about some challenges. God gave him a perfect blueprint, but it couldn't have been easy. He never turned to the right or the left, but straight ahead.
It's likely that his sons helped him build the ark and the wives helped make preparations for the journey ahead. It was a family effort. Some scholars say it took him 100 years to build the ark but the bible does not specify. One hundred years is a very long time. It doesn't seem reasonable, but seeing as their tools were primitive and the vessel so great in size, it had to have taken years. The point is he built over a broad period of time and finished it. He didn't give up and we don't read that he was full of doubt.
Shem, Ham, and Japheth watched their father do the outrageous in obedience to God. What did Noah teach his sons? By example:
- Hard work
- Strength under adversity
We aren't privy to whether the sons and wives had doubts, but they made it on the ark and that says a lot. I like to imagine what it was like when Noah and his family watched the animals come to the ark; what it was like showing them their way to their new digs for the next forty days and nights. But I really like to imagine what it was like when God Almighty shut the door to the ark; the finality of it all. "I can't believe it's really happening."
Everything happened exactly how God said it would. Noah was a champion of a dad and man of God. He wasn't perfect, as we see later in the story after they began life after the ark, but his life overall was a testament to being a godly man and great father.
To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
— (Philippians 4:20)
God the Father
God the Father is the ultimate Father. He is the first person in the Godhead. If you read through the gospels, particularly the gospel of John, you will hear Jesus (the second person of the Godhead) talk lovingly about His Father. Jesus talks about obeying His Father, that He lives to carry out the will of the Father. He asserts that He and the Father are one. When Christ was agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane, He cried out to the Father. But rather than calling Him Father, He called Him Abba. Abba was a tender word for Father, like Papa or Daddy. It always reminds me when children are experiencing great distress, they call out to their daddy.
God is a Father of grace, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, loving discipline, protection, care, and justice. He never changes as earthly fathers may do. He is steadfast. He is always Sovereign overall. We can never fully fathom all that He is. But we can trust Him at all times. He will never leave us nor forsake us. God sent His only begotten Son to redeem us by His blood. No one but God could do this. It is the ultimate expression of grace, mercy, and love.
© 2022 Lori Colbo