Bad Dads, Good Dads

bad dads good dads 01

It is not easy being a parent!  We all wish we had the “perfect” child … always  quick to obey, doing things the way we want them done, never causing us a moment of unrest or worry.  Won’t happen!

The Bible gives instructions on how to be a good dad.  Unfortunately there are some men who are anything but.  Look at some of the examples in the Bible that I would call “BAD DAD’S” (or at least not the best dad’s!) …


He was a deceiver from the beginning.  Deceived his brother out of his birthright, tricked his dad into thinking he was someone else, had to leave home to save his life and tricked his father-in-law when he left the family business!

With his own children he favored (really spoiled!) the son of his favorite wife which caused all kinds of hard feelings from his other sons.

However, the instance that really troubles me is when his daughter, Dinah, was raped he didn’t defend her!  It was two of her brothers that took up her cause … now that’s another issue we won’t deal with here!

So as I look at Jacob he doesn’t win the “Father of the Year” award.

As a side bar though, at least he did something right in teaching Joseph about God because Joseph stayed true to God in his captivity!


We don’t know a whole lot about Eli as a priest.  We do know that he had difficulty discerning between a broken hearted woman and a drunk!  We don’t know why his priestly influence didn’t extend to his two sons but we do know that they were not good men!  They served as priests but I Samuel 2:12 calls them “sons of Belial (the devil); they knew not the Lord”.  These sons refused to obey the Lord, they took the flesh from the sacrificial offering for themselves, they committed adultery with women who came to the door of the tabernacle and they refused to obey truth and quit sinning even when found out.

You might be saying, “but this was the sons … not Eli”.  True, in reading I Samuel 3 we do see that he did talk to them about their behavior but verse 13, “he restrained them not

It IS a dad’s responsibility (and mom too!) to bring discipline and correction and teaching of God’s laws to their children … we cannot force them to believe but Eli should not have let them continue in their role as priests.

I have to hand it to Hannah who trusted God with her dear son to give him to a lousy dad to raise!


King David was called “a man after God’s own heart”.  He was a mighty warrior and blessed of God.  Again, however, in the parenting department he wasn’t so great!  Three of his children come to mind quickly … Tamar (II Samuel 13) who was raped by her brother and David did nothing.

It is also amazing the reaction of King David to his son Absalom.  Absalom was the one who took the responsibility of dealing with his brother Amnon (the one who raped Tamar) and killed him!  Absalom fled the country and II Samuel 13:37 says, “And David mourned for his son every day.”  No mourning over Tamar!

Going on in the story of Absalom we know that he betrayed his own father and tried to usurp the throne away from his dad.  In the ensuing war David told his men not to harm Absalom if they found him.  But his warning was dismissed and when Absalom was found with his hair caught in a tree, he was killed.

David’s reaction is found in chapter 18:33, “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 

David had another son, Adonijah, who was Absalom’s brother and he also tried to usurp the throne.  I Kings 1:6 says this of David, “And his father had not rebuked him at any time …”  Doesn’t speak well of being a dad!

Finally in the “Bad Dad” department we must mention the worst father of all … satan!  John 8:44, “… he is a liar, and the father of it.”

God is ALL truth … satan is a liar!!

We are not going to end there … I want to mention a couple “GOOD DAD’S”


Jairus was an important man in the Jewish community during the time of Jesus’ life on earth.  He was one of the rulers of the synagogue and most of them were not enthralled with Jesus!  But he threw his position to the wind when his only child, a daughter, lay dying.

Jairus went to seek out Jesus and “when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and besought Him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.” (Mark 5:22, 23)

He KNEW Jesus held the answer for his daughter … Jesus went with him and brought life back into the child.


This is a hard one because God was asking Abraham to offer his son as a sacrifice to Him.  Abraham had waited years and years for the birth of this boy and he LOVED him!  There are many lessons here but that is for another time!  What I want to show is that Abraham proved he loved God more than he loved his own flesh and blood.

The Bible does not give us Abraham’s reaction to God’s command but we do know he obeyed and God gave Abraham back his child.

The best Father of all …


John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God cannot look upon sin.  He will not allow disobedience to His Word to go unpunished.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, He drove them out of the garden.

But He did not leave them alone … in God’s great foreknowledge He already had a plan for deliverance, for salvation and a way for them to come back into fellowship with Him.  The cross was God’s plan!

From eternity God had a plan of redemption.  Jesus left heaven, came to earth born of a virgin, lived as God/man, sinless in perfection, was crucified, buried but ROSE AGAIN that we might have eternal life in Him.  Why?  Because of His great love for us … the Best Dad ever!`

I hope no one who reads this feels that you can’t measure up in the parenting department.  We ALL make mistakes and none of us are perfect! Maybe you feel “I’m a bad parent” …

A number of years ago we were ministering in Japan and at the close of the service Ronn was praying for some missionaries who were from Finland.  Ronn sensed a dark cloud over one of the ladies and spoke to her privately.  She told him that she didn’t feel worthy of serving as a missionary because one of her children was far from God, living with someone outside of marriage and had left the faith.  Ronn felt the Lord saying something to him which he passed on to her … “God was the only perfect parent and he had two children who went wrong!”

So don’t beat yourself up!  Keeping praying, keeping seeking God for His wisdom in the parenting department and He WILL help you.

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