It’s almost Father’s Day! To pay tribute to the occasion, we’re focusing on five fabulous fathers of the Bible, and what we can learn from them. (And because it only seemed fair, as we made a list for Mother’s Day.
1. Noah, the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth
His Story: The Bible called Noah righteous, blameless, and faithful to God. The other people of his time? Not so much. When God decided to flood the earth, he chose Noah and his family to repopulate the earth.
Why Should We Remember Noah?
Noah was given clear and detailed directions to build a massive Biblical cruise-liner—something that took dedication, skill, inventiveness (there weren’t exactly examples for him to emulate anywhere), and trusting God. Then he successfully survived in enclosed quarters with his family and a boatload of animals for a little over a year (which sounds like a terrifying reality TV show.) Oh, and this all happened when he was 600 years old.
2. Job, the father of Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-Happuch (+ their 17 unnamed siblings)
His Story: Job is referred to as “the greatest man among the people of the East.” No big deal. He cared for his family and made a point to regularly pray for his children. His righteousness and dedication to the Lord caused Satan to take an interest—which meant he wanted to totally ruin Job’s life and make him curse God. In 24 hours: fire fell from heaven, his servants were murdered, his livestock stolen, and his children all killed by a collapsing building. As if this wasn’t enough, Satan returns to cover Job in painful sores.
Why Should We Remember Job?
In all this, Job refused the terrible advice of his wife, who suggests cursing God and committing suicide (sweet woman, isn’t she?), and he rejects the advice of his friends, who blame Job’s hardships on his sins. He allows himself to be humbled by God, and is strengthened and blessed for it. God ends up giving him twice as much as he had before.
3. Jethro, father of Zipporah, father-in-law of Moses
His Story: Jethro’s seven daughters went out to draw water for their father’s sheep. Other rude (I picture “smarmy”) shepherds came over to water their own flocks, and attempted to drive the women away. Moses saw this happening and came to the daughters’ rescue. When their father learned of this, he invited Moses for dinner, and Moses left as his son-in-law…40 years later.
Why Should We Remember Jethro?
Like any good father-in-law, Jethro liked to give advice. Luckily, he was a wise, insightful priest who feared the Lord. He recognized the potential in Moses, first as a son-in-law, and later as the leader of the nation of Israel. He saw the burden of Moses work—acting as their judge, their teacher, and their mediator—and he knew it would wear him out. So Jethro advised Moses to hire some godly help that he might take better care of himself, and in turn, the people. And Moses obliged.
4. Boaz, father of Jesse
His Story: Boaz was a guardian-redeemer, a legal term that basically meant he was obligated to redeem any relative in distress. When Ruth followed her widowed mother-in-law to Bethlehem, she goes to Boaz’s fields and begins to harvest the grain behind his workers. When Boaz learns of this, he lets her stay, feeds her, protects her, and eventually marries her, providing a widow with a new hope and future.
Why Should We Remember Boaz?
Boaz was truly faithful to his familial duty. But he never acted as if it was simply a fulfillment of his job—he was truly caring towards his wife, impressed with her dedication and character. Some of those traits were passed on, because Ruth gave birth to Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David.
5. Joseph, the (adoptive) father of Jesus
His Story: Joseph was a carpenter, pledged to marry a nice young lady, when he found out his fiancé was pregnant—and not by his doing. But when an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “…what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins,” Joseph believed. The two were married and raised the most famous Jew in history.
Why Should We Remember Joseph?
It was a huge scandal to be pregnant out of wedlock in Joseph’s day—after all, it was against their law. Joseph was both an adherent to the law and a total mensch. He knew he couldn’t marry her, but also didn’t want to publicly disgrace her—so he planned on a quiet divorce. But when he found out the miraculous truth, he didn’t even blink. He believed God and married the pregnant virgin whom Isaiah foretold.
There are many more men discussed throughout the Scriptures—one thing they all have in common? They’re flawed. They make devastating mistakes, embarrassing missteps, have moments of victory and times of defeat. They, just as the mothers of the Bible, serve as examples—not perfect, but relatable.
Yet in the midst of their brokenness, we see God working—His strength made evident in their weakness. So even as we remember these imperfect patriarchs of the past and celebrate those in our own lives, we can appreciate the fact that we always have a perfect Father.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16