COLUMN: Biblical fathers remembered
During his annual Father’s Day sermon, a preacher said, “It is not likely for a child to see the Father in God if he does not first see God in his father.”
It is Godly fathers who, as spiritual leaders for their families, set the best examples for their children.
Biblical fathers, however, like earthly fathers got it right sometimes, and at other times … not so much.
Take David, for instance.
Even being God’s special anointed one didn’t keep him from spoiling his son Adonijah rotten. The boy grew up undisciplined, challenged his father’s wishes for successor, and came to a bad end. Same with his son Absalom who betrayed him. Yet, David’s deep love and anguish is apparent as he mourns his death:“Absalom my son; my son Absalom; oh that I had died for thee, Absalom, my son, my son.” His third and fourth sons are testaments to what David did wrong, but his last words to Solomn, his youngest son show he left him a legacy of wisdom:
“I am going the way of all the earth. So be strong. Show yourself to be a man. Do what the Lord your God tells you. Walk in His ways. Keep all His Laws and His Word … Then you will do well in all that you do and in every place you go.”
Good advice from a man who had learned the hard way about sin, suffering, and salvation.
And wanted to spare his son the bitter lessons of the father’s mistakes.
What could be more intimidating than being appointed father of an entire nation? Abraham’s unwavering faith led him through one of the most difficult tests God ever gave a man. Abraham made mistakes when he relied on himself instead of God; still, he got it right in the end.
His son Isaac had big footsteps to follow since dad was such a great leader. (And, there’s also that sacrificing- him- on- the- altar thing.) Yet Isaac himself became great by watching Abraham’s unquestioning obedience to God.
Isaac’s son Jacob was a bit of a rascal and a control freak, who unwisely favored Joseph and Benjamin over his other sons. Jacob struggled with God his entire life, but as he matured in faith, he depended on Him more and more. An interesting turning point in his life came after a wrestling match with God, which, of course, he lost. Jacob, though a broken man, became Israel, a new man, father of 12 mighty tribes. For the rest of his life he walked with a limp, but had finally learned to give up control to God and be a wiser father to his family.
Not mentioned often enough is Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus and a righteous man according to the Bible. Showing great devotion and love in protecting Mary and their baby, he saw to Jesus' education and upbringing while teaching Jesus the carpentry trade. Remembering Joseph’s example from the cross, He spoke a carpentry term when He cried out “It is finished!” indicating a work has been perfected or a debt has been paid in full.
Happy Father’s Day to the men who teach their children to complete a good work.
Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident.