2006-01-27 - A Devotional for You
Over the next five weeks, we will learn more about the lives of Jacob and his twelve sons. Although theirs was a large family, the men didn't escape abandonment and grief. We will discuss what role Joseph, Jacob, and his ten sons played in leaving Joseph in a pit and then selling him for a profit. By reviewing the exploits of Jacob's clan found in Genesis, we will learn how to avoid the same pitfalls of envy, jealousy, boastfulness, and favoritism this family faced, and what helped them become a family of love, dedication, and forgiveness. This week we will focus on Jacob, the patriarch.
Even Godly Fathers Make Mistakes
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. Genesis 37:3-4 (NKJ)
Jacob probably pictured himself as a good father, but he put his sons on a pedestal. Not on the same one however. Jacob kept his older sons at bay, thinking the men didn't need an emotional connection to him. Seventeen-year-old Joseph was put on a high pedestal, where the teen reigned supreme. The only time Jacob reprimands Joseph is when he tells of a dream where the father would bow down to the son. (Which in fact turns out to be true years later.)
Jacob was not afraid to show love, for he greatly loved Rachel and their two sons Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob had a difficult time showing affection to his other family members. Perhaps it was a sign of his devotion to Rachel, his one true love.
While he loved all his children, Jacob showed this love outwardly to Joseph, by giving him a colorful coat (verse 3). He and Joseph had a trusting and loving relationship. Joseph would tell Jacob what his older brothers were up to. Jacob didn't reprimand him for being a tattletale. In fact, Jacob sent Joseph to check on his older brothers (verses 13-14). This ironically was the last straw for the ten men who decided it was time to get rid of Joseph.
Their hate for the teen wasn't solely a hate for Joseph, but a cry for attention from their father. The brothers threw Joseph into an empty pit and later sold him. In essence, they were throwing Joseph away, as they felt their father had done to them. With Joseph gone, maybe Jacob would turn his attention to them instead. Jacob was not malicious in not showing his older sons affection; he was under the wrong assumption. He was not aware they needed a close father-son relationship.
God, I want to learn from Jacob's mistakes. Allow me not to show favoritism, but to remember that no one is above receiving admiration and love, no matter how strong the person appears. Break any bondage to biasness I may have. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.