“Honor your father and your mother, as Adonai your God ordered you to do, so that you will live long and have things go well with you in the land Adonai your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16)
Today is Father’s Day! What a wonderful opportunity to take time to bless our fathers and the fathers we know who embody the eternal Fatherhood of God.
For Father’s Day, let us also contemplate the fathers in the Bible whose provision, love, care, discipline, and faith still speak profoundly to us today.
Here are three of those fathers in honor of Father’s Day.
Adam: The Father of Humankind
No accounting of fathers in the Bible would be complete without remembering the first man and the first human father: Adam.
In the beginning, he is all alone apart from his relationship with God and the animals God created. Adam has no human father or mother, no partner, no siblings, no family, no friends.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s relationship with his Heavenly Father was profoundly close and intimate. And he relied on God to learn everything he needed to learn.
That includes how to be a good father. The Creator, the Ultimate Father, was his only role model for how to be a good father to the children that Chava (Eve) would bear to him after God made her from Adam’s rib.
However, once sin entered the picture, Adam and Chava were forced to leave the Garden in order to prevent them from eating fruit from the Tree of Life. To have eaten from this tree in a sinful state would have sealed humankind’s fallen spiritual state. There would have been no redemption for Adam’s children.
But God, in His perfect holiness, love, mercy, and justice formed a plan for the redemption of Adam’s children that would be fulfilled through the great Messianic promise of Genesis 3:15.
Meanwhile, outside of the Garden, Adam had to be an earthly father in his compromised spiritual state.
He must have experienced many hits and misses, joys and heartaches in his job as the father of humankind, as is evidenced in the heartrending story of Adam’s son Cain who murdered his brother Abel.
Sibling rivalry has continued until now.
Moreover, in these end times people value ambition and material possessions over family; as a result, many children grow up with an absentee father.
If this describes your family life, just as Adam once did, you can freely choose to rely on the Creator to be your Heavenly Father. You will find in Him a perfect role model to follow when you have your own children.
Noah Builds the Ark (Bible Primer 1919)
Noah: The Father Of Shem, Ham, and Japheth
While Adam was the first human father, Noah can also be understood to be the father of humankind, since he essentially repopulated the earth through the 16 sons (daughters are not numbered) that Shem, Ham, and Japheth bore after the flood.
After the fall of Adam, the earth had become full of sin and people no longer called on the name of the Lord. In fact, it wasn’t until Adam’s son Seth bore Enoch that people began to call on God again (Genesis 4:26). Noah was from the lineage of Enoch, and he had the courage to be a righteous, blameless man in an evil world.
In that sense alone, Noah was a wonderful role model to his children. He showed them that it is possible to walk with God in a society saturated with sin and rebellion — to be obedient even in the midst of a chorus of voices challenging God’s ways.
Because of Noah’s walk with the Lord, he not only saved his sons and their wives, he gave the entire earth a second chance by accepting a 120-year project to build an ark that would save his family and the earth’s animals. It was a project that took great patience, persistence, and faithfulness.
Moreover, it took great strength of character to ignore those who mocked his preparations and ridiculed his prophetic insight into the end of the world as they knew it.
Noah reminds us that our own fathers may have special insights, especially when it comes to our daily lives and overall survival.
As well, in these end times when sin overtakes the world and the love of many grows cold, a Godly father is a treasure. Such a father will not be like all the other fathers on the block; he is a gift from Heaven.
God’s Covenant with Abram: Count the Stars (Bible Primer 1919)
Abraham: The Father of the Jewish Nation
“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
While Adam and Noah fathered the human race, Abraham was the father of many nations, including the nation of promise: Israel. Through Israel God would reveal to the world His ways and bring about salvation for both Israel and mankind.
Because of Abraham’s faith, the world has received the gifts of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Messiah.
Like Noah, Abraham lived in an ungodly land. He grew up in the city of Ur of the Chaldees, which was near ancient Babel. Ur was a modern city with schools, libraries, and a system of laws, but it also practiced idolatry, astrology, and temple prostitution.
As well, Abraham’s father, Terah, worshiped idols (Joshua 24:2), and according to Jewish tradition, he actually made idols. So Abraham wasn’t exactly brought up in the best of environments.Nevertheless, when God spoke to Abraham, he had no trouble distinguishing the voice of the one true God from the idols and false gods of his hometown in Ur.
As God called him out of Ur to live a new life in an unknown place, Abraham believed God’s promises of land, posterity, and blessing. He knew that in beginning this journey with God, the best was yet to come. (Genesis 12:1–3; Hebrews 11:8)
Genesis 15:6 tells us that his faith was credited to him as righteousness.
Abraham’s Journey to Canaan, by Pieter Lastman
Some 25 years later, when Abraham was 99, he received the promised son through whom the nation of Israel would arise (Genesis 21:1–7). But some years after that God, who condemns the sacrifice of people, mysteriously asked Abraham to sacrifice his promised son as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1–19).
Once again, in faith and obedience, Abraham does as God asks. In the nick of time, God prevented him from making that offering a physical reality.
But why would Abraham do that? Because he had learned over the years through many his many failures and successes that God was trustworthy; he understood that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19).
As Abraham continually responded in faith, his faith and love for God strengthened.
He modeled that faith and love to everyone, including Isaac, sending an important message: God comes first and He can be trusted with our decisions, lives, and the lives of our children.
Abraham, like Adam and Noah, certainly did not lead perfect lives, nor were they perfect fathers. But perhaps that is the point. Those of us who feel disappointed in our fathers can let them off the hook for their mistakes. We can celebrate them and their love despite their downfalls and failings, knowing that there is only one perfect Father.
Let us look to God for the ultimate model of fatherhood, walking in His footsteps and His holiness as we are meant to do.
An Israeli father walks with his children in the desert.
Godly fathers leave a legacy of faith, playing their own special role in helping their children fulfill their destinies and participate in Adonai’s great plans for the salvation of the Jewish People and the entire world.