Now Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than any other of his sons. Genesis 37:3
Showing favoritism to one child over another causes all kinds of trouble in families. Perhaps you have suffered under this. Your brother or sister seemed to have a hold on the heart of your father or mother, and nothing you said or did would ever change that.
This family line had a history of favoritism. Isaac loved Esau, and Rebecca loved Jacob. Jacob had grown up with this, and so it is easy to assume he was simply reproducing what he had learned in his childhood.
But there is more going on here, and it has to do with Jacob’s wives. Jacob had twelve sons, but only two of them were born through Rachel, who had always been his first love. One was Joseph, the other was Benjamin, the youngest of them all (35:24). They were, as the Bible describes it, the sons of his old age (37:3).
The older sons had grown up and taken a path that had broken their father’s heart. Maybe you know what this is like. You have a son or a daughter who has made choices with bitter results.
Put yourself in Jacob’s shoes. You have a large family and one after another you see your children take a destructive path. They are not walking in the ways of the Lord. Your children lie to you, and you discover that they are sexually promiscuous. You are cut to the heart by the life they have chosen, and however much you love them, there is a great sadness and disappointment that weighs on your soul. What is the future for this family? Where is God at work in all this?
But you have another son, much younger than the rest, and he is different. There is a godliness about him. And you think to yourself, Maybe there is hope. Perhaps he will have some influence on the others. Maybe God isn’t finished with this family yet.
Is there favoritism in your family? Where do you see God at work?