37 1 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhahand the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
As a child I read this story and was more irritated with the brothers, especially as the story progresses. I blamed the evil treatment of Jospeh on his brothers. Hopefully to this point you have realized who their father is. He is Jacob the deceiver! He has swindled his own blood brother out of his birth right, his blessings, and likely many other things that we don’t read about. So now, imagine yourself as a child of this selfish, untrustworthy man. Though he was righteous due to his faith in God, he was still majorly flawed. (P.s. that’s all of us) The older brothers were likely loved by Israel (Jacob), until Joseph was born. These boys were overlooked and could SEE their father loving on Joseph more than them. As with any human, especially male, and even more for children, we are prone to jealousy and selfishness. I cannot imagine the destruction Jacob has caused in the minds of these boys. I couldn’t, at this stage in life, blame these kids. Though they are men now, they are products of their father’s poor guidance.
Let this be a testament to poor fathering and showing favoritism: “his brothers saw that their father loved [Joseph] more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Poor parenting breeds disgusting behavior. The one to blame here is Jacob, the deceiver, who was ultimately chosen to be the head of the Israelite nation. Israel (Jacob) has been a terrible parent, at least in this regard, and it has cause his children to be terribly misled. With that, these same boys were grown men who could perpetuate great evils. Israel, a man who has not learned to be fully adherent to God’s Word, has caused generations of misbehavior. Yet God sees him as righteous.
As I said in yesterday’s devotion: God makes us righteous based on Him, not us. Though Israel has made many mistakes, and even now displays poor character, God overlooks that. This makes no sense in my human brain, and likely you feel the same. Israel has been chosen to be a great nation yet he has no character attributes that I would want to display… That’s definitely reassuring for me though. God is willing to put up with the worst, perhaps even toxic, behavior. Why? Because He (God) is so much more powerful than our behavior. God can easily move through, and around, our poor choices. God chooses people to be vessels while knowing they will fail along the way. We don’t have to look at ourselves and be discouraged, afraid, or concerned. God knows we are failures! Lol The great news is He is so successful it will outshine our failures. Saul was hideously terrible, yet God chose him to write most of the New Testament. God is in the business of transformation, and often chooses the worst vessels to bring Him the most glory. Our Bible is filled with terrible people being transformed by God and used even in their weakness. This is (many think) so that there’s no question in our minds if God could use us, or could truly care for us. If He could love Saul, Jacob, Abraham, Matthew, Judas, then He could love you and me. 🙂
Oh Lord, help me to be broken over my sin and failures, but be drawn to reconciliation rather than discouragement. Keep me from being content in failure, but help me be drawn to You as a result of my failures. I know I am not perfect, and I know that You are. Motivate me to strive towards being conformed to Your image but not down cast when I fall short, as I always will.
Look around you, see the broken people, and know their poor choices are usually caused by a deeper event. Most people are doing the things they are doing without even realizing they are hurting others, or what they are doing is wrong. Adults are just large children who have grown deceived over their brokenness and now hide all their hurt while simultaneously displaying the side effects of it on a day to day basis. Do not jump to conclusions about someone based upon their reactions. They are just responding from their brokenness, and they often don’t even know it.