Today’s Scripture Reading- Genesis 37
This week’s Memory Verse:
(18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.1 John 3:18
(3) Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.Genesis 37:3-4
(4) And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
There is so much in the story of Joseph that could be discussed. What struck me today about the story is the family dynamics creating all kinds of problems. If you recall Israel’s history (Jacob), you’ll remember the problems caused between Isaac and Rebecca, and between Jacob and Easau because of the favoritism shown by each parent. Daddy loved Esau, and Momma loved Jacob. As a result there was deceitfulness, betrayal, and ultimately distance put between the members of the family.
Now we see the same thing happening again in Israel’s family. Verse 3 tells us explicitly that Israel loved Joseph more. There was favoritism. Polygamy was certainly a contributing factor. Joseph was Rachel’s son, and that was Jacob’s first choice when he was wanting to get married. Remember that Laban, Rachel’s father, deceived Jacob and had him marry Leah instead. Jacob took Leah and Rachel, two sisters, as wives. This certainly must have had favoritism and preferrential treatment as a result that not only effected the marriage relationship, but also the parental relationships as well.
It didn’t stop there. Verse 4 tells us that the favoritism from father to son bled over into hostility between brothers. Jacob’s favoritism to Joseph was characterized by the “coat of many colours”, an item that would have been very costly and rare. The hostility that created is described in the verse. “…they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” Later in the chapter they contemplate killing him, and settle for selling him into slavery and convincing their father that he was dead. Talk about drama!
Just a couple of points of application that strike me:
- Some sins that we commit can become generational. Over and over again in these stories we see fathers, sons and grandsons making the same mistakes and suffering the consequences.
- Favoritism is unwise and sinful. It creates havock if it is unleashed on a family.
- God’s plan for marriage and family has always been one man and one woman being together for a lifetime. Some people point to the patriarchs in the Bible and say something like, “See the Bible has polygamy.” The narrative portions of scripture are not always prescriptive. They are descriptive. They are telling us what happened, not necessarily what should happen. Stories like this help us to understand the dangers and difficulty that come to a family that doesn’t follow God’s design.
God, please give me wisdom when it comes to dealing with my children and my wife. Help me not to live in unwise favoritism and thereby provoke my children to wrath. Help me to help them love You and love each other. Amen.