Scripture: (Gen 37:3-4 NKJV)  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. {4} 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.

Observation: It is obvious that Jacob loved all his children.  In vs. 14 we read that Jacob sent Joseph to look for his brothers and see if they were well.  It is also clear that the brothers, although they “hated him,” did not want to murder him, and when Reuben found out Joseph was gone he tore his clothes as in mourning.  Nevertheless, Jacob treated Joseph in a more favorable way than any of his other children; he showed a favoritism that increased their jealousy.  Jacob already showed partiality toward Rachel, now he showed the same favoritism for her first child and later for Benjamin.  No wonder there was sibling rivalry which continued even after the settling in the Promised Land and the division of the Israel in two.

Application: It is not only not wise but not healthy to favor one child over another – it creates jealousy, competition, rivalry, and in some extreme cases it may even lead to death.  Jacob should have known the consequences of favoritism as his own father, Isaac, favored his brother Esau and wanted to give him the blessing for the first born even thought the promise/prophecy had been made to show the blessing belonged to Jacob.  The result of his own deceitfulness were his fleeing from home, living in exile for twenty years, and to never be able to see his mother alive again.  We must do all in our power, as parents, to treat all our children as individuals of value, without favoring one over the other or others, and showing favoritism for everyone equally.

A Prayer You May Use: Father, You give us all the same opportunities for salvation and You pour Your blessings richly to all – the sunshine, rain, air to breathe, water, food, etc.  And even when we misuse the resources You so plentifully give us, You continue to pour out Your richest blessings on us.  Thank You, Father.  May we be loving, patient, and kind to all our children, showing no favoritism to any one over the others but giving them all equally our love for them as You do for us.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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