CH 9 ABOUT FATHER

About Father explores religious arrogance that alienates us from people who need us. Arrogance is traced in Jacob, Jobs and the author’s life.  A comparison of Jacob and Job’s life reveal people who live different lifestyles share a common sin – a failure to love. The author compares her life with her father’s to reinforce this truth and discusses the unconditional nature of love.  

 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. Genesis 42:36, KJV

 More than ten years after Joseph disappeared, a seven-year famine began.  Joseph understood God’s plan and prepared Egypt for the famine.  The swine who rejected Joseph were not prepared.  When Jacob learned that grain could be purchased in Egypt, he sent his sons to buy food. His sons returned with grain, minus one brother and a troubling story.

The Egyptian Lord in charge of selling grain had accused them of being spies.  They told him about their starving family in Canaan, but he didn’t believe their story and threw them in jail for three days.  They were lucky the Egyptian Lord changed his mind, but he kept Simeon as surety.  There was only one way to buy more food and get Simeon out of jail – return to Egypt with Benjamin. 

The news devastated Jacob. God promised to make their family a vast multitude.  Instead of Jacob’s family multiplying into a multitude too numerous to count, his sons kept disappearing: first Joseph, believed to be torn apart by wild beast, and now Simeon languishing in an Egyptian prison. Jacob could not bear the thought of losing Benjamin as well.  He blamed his misfortune on his sons, but he was wrong.  

 HEDGE OF PROTECTION

Jacob had sown to his flesh and from his flesh sons reaped corruption.  As head of the family, Jacob was responsible to protect those under his authority by walking in God’s ways and obeying God’s commands.  Instead, Jacob walked contrary to God’s desires most of his life.  His failures did not justify the sins his sons committed.  Nevertheless, Jacob’s rebellion against the revealed will of God for his life removed God’s hedge of protection making it easier for his sons to stray and ruin their father’s life. Satan complained about this hedge in Job’s day. 

 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.  “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.  But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”  The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Job 1:9-12, NIV

 Job is the antithesis of Jacob.  Jacob rebelled, manipulated and relied on deceit. Job feared God, shunned evil, and lived a blameless life.  Job’s obedient life style erected a hedge of protection around not only his children, but also everything he owned.  It appears Job and Jacob had nothing in common, but they did.  They shared an arrogance that blinded their minds, alienated their children, and removed God’s hedge of protection. 

 We only know two things about Job’s children.  First, Job had seven sons and three daughters.  Second, they loved to party!  Job’s sons each took a turn hosting the festivities.  Their sisters, who had no right to an inheritance, did not have the financial means to host one of these family gatherings, but their brothers never failed to include them.  Job’s family appeared to be the picture perfect family, but appearances can be deceiving.  Father was conspicuously absent from these family gatherings.

 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them [Job’s sons and daughters] purified.  Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.  Job 1:5, NIV

 If Job had to “send” for his children, he wasn’t present at the party.  One Bible translation says that Job’s children were having birthday parties.[1] If that were true, Job’s absence is even more peculiar. 

After every party, Job insisted on purifying his children lest they sinned while they were celebrating.  Not less than seven times in one year, Job humiliated his children by reminding them they could never be pleasing to God without his help.  Job could keep his heart pure, but his children would never measure up to their father’s blameless upright example of a pure and holy life that shuns evil. 

Job desired his children would be acceptable to God, but deluded himself into thinking he could purify their hearts with religious ritual. Job thought he could do something only his God could do.  Keep his children pure so disaster would not befall them.  Unfortunately, Job lived many years before God declared, by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, that a holier than thou attitude is a stench in his nostrils.[2]  Is it any wonder Job’s sons invited their sisters and conveniently forgot to invite father?  No one likes being treated arrogantly. 

ARROGANCE

A humble pastor served one church I attended for many years.  We loved to be around him.  Two years after he came to the church, a vote of confidence was cast during a business meeting and he received one dissenting vote.  Tears fell like rain when he announced that God had called him to serve in another city.  The pastor who replaced him appeared to be a good choice.  He spoke of his love for God with passion, and he definitely loved to pray. 

Several months after this pastor accepted the pastorate of our church, my husband and I were invited to dinner at a friend’s house. When we arrived, I observed a curious thing. Everybody was in the kitchen laughing and talking. The pastor and his wife were sitting in the living room alone. 

As the years slipped by the reason this Pastor often sat alone became painfully obvious. I have never met a more arrogant, unreasonable man who knew that he was holy.  Rebelling against him was as easy as breathing. More than one person exploded with frustration and left the church.  This pastor was financially well off from previous business ventures before he entered the ministry, but nothing he set his hand to in ministry prospered.  The church had dwindled from a membership of four hundred to less than one hundred when my husband decided we needed to leave the church as well.

Dealing with that Pastor is among the top three most miserable experiences of my life, but it was an experience I needed.  God used this pastor to place me in a teaching ministry.  During this time, I received the understanding that I had sought for many years. However, the war zone our church had become marred the joy of sharing those insights.  I have never known greater joy or greater sorrow.  I blamed the pastor for my sorrow, but he wasn’t the problem. He was a mirror of who I was. 

About a year after my family left the church, one of my children showed signs of rebellion.  After a number of minor incidents, I sat him down and demanded an explanation for his behavior. I repeatedly pointed out how good I treated him, and how I had given him a far better life than I had. He repeatedly claimed he didn’t know why he wanted to dye his hair blue. Finally, exhausted by the long discussion, he whispered, “You treat me like I’m stupid.” 

The truth hit me squarely between the eyes. My son didn’t have a problem. I did. I was treating my son as arrogantly as my former pastor had treated me. I was as blind to my own arrogance, as the pastor who had made my life a misery was to his.  He thought he was a good pastor because he chose to be one.  I thought I was a good parent because I choose to be one.  We were wrong.  Our good deeds had only served to blind us.

When I humbled myself before my son, the little acts of rebellion stopped. No one could tell my arrogant Pastor he had a problem. No one could have told this arrogant mother she had a problem. If I had not suffered under that Pastor, I would not have understood what my son tried to tell me, and I would have driven him away. Suffering prepared my heart to receive the truth.

 SUFFERING

While Job’s children feasted without their father, four messengers came to Job’s door.  The first messenger said the Sabeans had taken Job’s oxen and donkeys.  The second messenger reported his sheep were dead.  The third announced the Chaldeans took all the camels.  In addition to that, all of Job’s servants were killed except the ones reporting the bad news.  While they are talking, a fourth messenger arrived with the worst news of all.  A great wind caused the house Job’s children were in to fall and all of Job’s children died.   

God allowed the hedge protecting Job to fall, and Job’s suffering brought the truth to light.  When Job heard his children were dead, he declared, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.[3] Is that all Job had to say?  The Lord gives, the Lord takes, praise the Lord! Could his attitude toward the loss of his children been any more callous?

Compare Job’s reaction to King David’s, another man who lost everything.  David’s son, Absalom, stole the kingdom and forced David into hiding. Yet, when a messenger brought David word that his son was dead, David cried, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son![4]

There is the sweet odor of love in David’s agony over the death of one of his son.  I don’t smell that sweet odor in Job’s perfection.  The Lord gives, the Lord takes, blessed be his name has a stench of relief in it.  Trying to keep the hearts of his children pure was wearing Job out.  Things would get worse before they got better because Job’s heart wasn’t pure either.

When God allowed Satan to afflict Job’s flesh, his wife came to her end.  She demanded Job to, “…curse God and die.[5] Job called his wife a fool.  Cursing God would be a foolish thing to do, but where was Job’s compassion? Was Job pregnant ten times? Did he suffer morning sickness, backaches, swollen feet, and unbearable pain bringing his children into this world?  His wife lost everything too and all she had left was a holier than thou husband calling her a fool! 

Job’s wife didn’t understand why tragedy suddenly took everything they owned. She was suffering and did not have her husband’s strength to suck it up and take it like a man.  She needed someone to cry with her, but her husband was too busy praising God to care. 

Job’s love for perfection made him harsh and unfeeling toward his family. The same thing happened to the religious leaders in Jesus day.  Religion had made them experts at living a good life but novices at love.  When Jesus disturbed their standards of perfection by showing compassion toward people they counted as sinners, they hated Jesus and plotted to kill him.

Job did not sin against God in the things he said until he had an audience that refused to leave.  When three friends arrived to encourage Job, the intensity of his suffering stunned them into silence for seven days.  Job’s friends tried to convince him that his sin produced his suffering and a subtle tirade against God began.  The longer they spoke, the more adamant Job became that he had done nothing to deserve his suffering.  Job was right, but when you are perfect and know it, suffering is God’s last option to open your blind eyes. 

 CONDEMNED

God let everyone speak before he intervened with the last word.  He agreed with Job and chided Job’s friends.  Job was right.  God had not punished him.  Job did nothing to deserve the pain and tragedy that came upon him. Yet, God rebuked Job, and Job despised himself as he repented in dust and ashes. 

  “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.  “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Job 40:7-8, NIV

 God had one question for Job.  “Why did you condemn me to justify yourself?” Job’s behavior was blameless, but his heart was corrupt.  Job was right.  His sins did not bring suffering upon him, but he erred when he condemned God to prove it.  None of Job’s goodness could protect him or his possessions from Satan.  Only God’s goodness can protect us from evil, yet Job had the audacity to call God’s goodness into question. 

Job lived a good and blameless life, but no one is as good as God because no loves like God does.  When Job’s children died, he said praise the Lord.  When Adam sinned and brought death into the world, Jesus chose to die with us. When Job’s wife needed him, he called her a fool.  When we need help, Jesus is faithful to help us and cleanse us from all sin. When Job hurt, he berated God for his lack of justice. When Jesus hurt, he prayed “Father forgive them.”   

If Job had spent more time perfecting love and less time perfecting ritual, he might have lost his wealth but not his children.  If Jacob’s children had felt loved by their father, he would have been included at the family parties.  Since God forbade Satan to take Job’s life, Satan could not run the risk of blowing down the house Job’s children were in had Job been present.

Jesus left us one command.  Love one another.  He also left a warning to those who do not put his words into practice. 

  … everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:25-27, NIV

 Job’s goodness could not save his children from disastrous winds, but his presence could have.  The sacrifices Job made could not protect his children from the storms of life, but his presence could have.  Job perfected everything but love and when the winds beat against Job’s house it fell with a great crash. 

 GOD WORKS FOR GOOD

… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:28-32, NIV

 Job believed he would never see happiness again.[6]  Jacob knew he would go to his grave in mourning over the loss of Joseph.[7]  Jacob and Job were wrong.  After Job repented, he lived for 140 years.  During that time he grew twice as wealthy, fathered another ten children and this time he was welcome at family feasts.[8]  Jacob would go to Egypt and see Joseph and Joseph’s children before he died. 

Following God’s dealings with the Patriarchs, reveals that God never deviated from doing the things he promised Abraham.  When the Patriarchs varied from God’s purposes and brought disaster upon themselves, God turned their misdeeds into something good. 

God revealed to Abraham that his seed would serve a nation that would afflict them.  God would judge that nation and Abraham’s descendants would come out with great substance to live in the land of Canaan again.  God sent Joseph to Egypt to prepare the way for their arrival.  Now, God must bring the rest of Abraham’s descendants to Egypt, but there was a problem. 

 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6, NIV

 God had to do more than reunite Jacob’s family in Egypt. Festering wounds needed healing. Past sins needed to be forgiven and forgotten. Jacob’s heart must turn toward his children with love.  Jacob’s children must turn their hearts to love their father. The alternative to reconciliation is a curse.   

  The brothers’ hatred for Joseph began long before he told his dreams.  Their father openly favored Joseph above them with a coat of many colors.  When Joseph walked out of father’s tent wearing his fine new coat, his brothers saw that their father’s heart was not with them, and they turned their hearts away from their father.    

Jacob’s sons hurt him as well.  They ruined his business while they were living at Shechem.  One of them committed adultery with Jacob’s wife.  Another son, unknowingly but no less shamefully, fathered a baby with his daughter-in-law.  Jacob had not been the ideal father, but they had not been the ideal sons either.  If they cannot forgive each other, God would not be able to bring them out of the land with great substance because the land they lived in would be cursed. 

 HONOR YOUR FATHER

 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  Ephesians 6:1-2, KJV

 Paul made a distinction between “parents in the Lord” and a “father and mother.”  It is right to obey “parents in the Lord.”  Parents that are not in the Lord may require their children to do things that would be a sin against God.  In such circumstances, a child should yield to the one who gave his or her parents their authority – God the Father! Nevertheless, the command to honor is not conditional.  We may not be able to obey our mother and father, but if we honor them God promised us a long good life. 

One of the most appealing aspects of Christianity to me was the good news that God would be my father, because I did not like my Dad.  Daddy died more than ten years ago, so I can tell you a little about him without embarrassing him.  He was an alcoholic womanizer who was impossible to please.  When I ran wild on drugs, he was not happy.  When I became a Christian, he wished I were back on drugs.  Addiction he understood, this Jesus stuff was more than he could handle.  The extent of his conversation with me was, “fix me a drink” and “get me an ashtray.” Occasionally, he shouted, “Shut up, I can’t hear the TV.” His fatherly advice for the future was twofold.  “You will always be in debt,” he said, “and have sex with your boyfriend before you marry him to be sure you are compatible.”

Shortly after I became a Christian, I pleaded with Daddy to accept Jesus.  He warned me, “Shut your mouth or I’ll slap it shut.”  When I did not heed the warning, he kept his word.  Instead of offering him the other cheek, I went to my room and turned my heart away from him.[9]  Excluding Daddy from my life seemed a reasonable thing to do because I didn’t think he was a very good father, but I was wrong. 

Ultimately, I became as angry with God as I was with Daddy.  No matter what my father in heaven or on earth did, I couldn’t be pleased.  The arrogance that I was a better person than my father blinded me to compassion for him.  When I turned my heart away from Daddy, I erected a wall that took God many years to penetrate as he slowly and patiently revealed the truth. 

Late one night, I overheard my parents discussing my sister.  She had made their lives hell on earth for years before a judge sentenced her to a youth detention center.  My Dad’s voice was filled with anguish and pain as he told my mother, “I don’t care what she has done to me.  She is my daughter and I can’t leave her in that place.  I have to help her.”  That night I realized that I didn’t know my Dad as well as I thought I did.  I was the good Christian, yet he had greater compassion than I did. 

After my Dad consented to group therapy in an effort to help my sister, she told me about his childhood.  I never knew his family because he was in the Army, and we always lived far away from them.  When we did visit, they spoke Cajun French and I couldn’t understand a thing they said.  My father was an alcoholic, but he went to work everyday.  We always had food on the table and he even insisted that his children eat first.  My Dad’s father was an alcoholic who had raised his family in poverty.  The only meat they had was bologna, and his father refused to share.  My Dad had one simple desire that was never fulfilled. He wanted his Father to give him a piece of bologna.  With shame, I recalled the many times my Dad had come home from working all day to find his children had already eaten and left him nothing. 

I was on my way to work one morning when I saw my Dad standing in the front yard staring at the ground.  I stopped to inquire why. He raised his head and with tears in his eyes, he whispered, “Life is so hard” then quickly walked to his car before I could respond. To this day, I don’t know if I was more astounded by the tears or his statement.  As I watched him drive away, I realized how selfish I was to think that I was the only one who hurt.  

My Dad and I were as different as night and day. I didn’t drink and smoke. My Dad did. I went to church every Sunday. My Dad didn’t. I fasted, prayed, and diligently read the Bible. My Dad ate his fill, prayed to no one, and watched TV. I did good things, but I wasn’t a good person. My Dad and I were guilty of the same sin. We failed to love. He wasn’t a very good father, but I wasn’t a very good daughter either. True repentance runs much deeper than changing “bad” behavior. I couldn’t obey everything my Dad taught me, but I could have loved and honored him for the things he did right.

 TRUE REPENTANCE

For many years, I wondered why Joseph gave his brothers such a run around when they came to Egypt to buy grain.  When Joseph saw his brothers bowing before him, he could have revealed himself and gloated.  He didn’t.  Instead, Joseph accused his brothers of being spies and refused to let them leave until their youngest brother came to verify their story.  Next, he compounded their anxiety by putting them all in jail, making it impossible to send word to Benjamin.  For all his brothers knew, they would be in jail for the rest of their lives.  Three days later, Joseph released them from prison.  Then he sent one of them back to prison.  The rest could bring food to the family, but they must return with Benjamin.  The last thing they wanted to do was come back to Egypt.  The person in charge had not been easy to deal with. 

 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother.  We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come upon us.”  Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.  He turned away from them and began to weep, but then turned back and spoke to them again.  He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.  Genesis 42:21-24, NIV

 The sin Joseph’s brothers committed against him bothered them for a very long time.  Twenty years had elapsed since they sold him to Ishmaelites.  Joseph heard his brothers admit their guilt.  Why didn’t Joseph end the charade? Joseph turned away from his brothers to weep, but he did not reveal himself.  What was Joseph looking for? What must his brothers do for Joseph to say, “It’s enough?  All is forgiven.  Go get our brother and father!  Go get your families!  Come to Egypt and live like kings.” To the contrary, Joseph bound Simeon before their eyes and sent the rest of them home. 

By the time Joseph’s brothers arrived home, they were troubled and afraid.  On the way home, they discovered that the money they paid for the corn was in one of their sacks.  When Jacob heard Benjamin must return to Egypt if he wanted to see Simeon again, it was evident that Jacob had not changed.  The favoritism that created so much animosity in his family was now transferred from Joseph to his brother Benjamin. 

Jacob obviously valued Benjamin more than he valued Simeon.  Jacob wouldn’t risk losing Benjamin to save Simeon. Simeon and Levi ruined his business at Shechem. Reuben promised to sacrifice two of his sons if he did not bring Benjamin back, but Rueben couldn’t be trusted.  Reuben defiled Bilhah. If the famine had ended before Jacob’s food ran out, Jacob might have let Simeon rot in jail.  

When the supply of grain diminished, Jacob told his sons to go buy some more.  But they couldn’t buy more grain unless Benjamin came with them.  This put all of them in a precarious situation.  They could starve or take Benjamin contrary to Jacob’s desire.  Taking Benjamin without their father’s consent might have killed him, and they knew it.  Finally, Judah spoke up reminding his father of the conditions for returning to Egypt and made a promise to his father. 

 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die.  I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him.  If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life.  Genesis 43:8-9, NIV

 Jacob relented at Judah’s plea and the brothers returned to Egypt with presents, double the money, and Benjamin.  Surely, Joseph should be satisfied and expose the truth this time, but all he did was drop clues.  When they tried to return the money, the brothers were told that the God of their father had given them treasure.  Joseph showed an unusual interest in their father and abruptly left the room when he saw Benjamin. He returned with red, swollen eyes. Joseph seated his brothers according to their birthright honoring the youngest brother above the elder brothers by giving Benjamin five times more than the rest of them.  Joseph did everything but blurt out who he was.  What prevent Joseph from revealing the truth?

When the feast ended, Joseph didn’t hinder his brothers from leaving.  Before they left, Joseph instructed his steward to a put a valuable cup in Benjamin’s sack.  The brothers were barely out of the city and no doubt thinking, “that went well,” when a man on horseback overtook them. The man asked a strange question.  “Why have you repaid good with evil?”[10]  The brothers judged that the one who had rewarded evil for good should die, and the rest become servants.  Their words justified God for exalting Joseph above them.  They were the men that had treated Joseph evil when all he had done was good. 

The brother’s judgment was too harsh for this Egyptian servant. He knew Benjamin was innocent, but according to their words, he would take a servant.  The brother in possession of the cup would be the servant and the rest would be blameless.  When the Egyptian found the cup in Benjamin’s sack, they rent their clothes and all of the brothers returned to Egypt. 

Joseph’s brothers had changed.  They could have abandoned Judah to deal with this problem alone. They were free to leave but none of them did.  The brothers were ushered into Joseph’s presence and Judah spoke for all of them when he said, “we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.”[11] 

The brothers only had Benjamin’s word that he did not steal the cup.  For all the brothers knew, the little brat that received all of their father’s love after they got rid of Joseph might have brought this on himself.  However, the brothers refused to return without Benjamin.  Why would they be willing to make this sacrifice?  They were men with wives and children at home, yet they would rather be servants in a strange land than return home without the brother their father loved. 

Joseph declined their noble offer.  The one who took the cup would be his servant.  The rest were free to return home in peace.  But Judah wasn’t willing to return home without Benjamin.  As you read Judah’s plea, count how many times Judah said “father” and you’ll understand why. 

 Then Judah went up to him and said: “Please, my lord, let your servant speak a word to my lord.  Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself.   My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’  And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age.  His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’  “Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’  And we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’  But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’  When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.   “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’  But we said, ‘We cannot go down.  Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go.  We cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’  “Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons.   One of them went away from me, and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” And I have not seen him since.   If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.’  “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life,  sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die.  Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow.  Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father.  I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’  “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.  How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come upon my father.” Genesis 44:18-34, NIV

 Fifteen times Judah referred to their father.  This plea was not about Benjamin.  This plea was not about his brothers.  This plea was not about their wives and children.  This plea was not about the price Judah would pay.  This plea was about their father.  It’s about loving your father, even if he never becomes the father you want him to be.  Judah made this strong plea and Jacob hadn’t even changed – yet! Jacob was still partial to one son.  The brothers were the ones who changed.  When they returned home without Joseph and saw their father suffer, they learned the value of unconditional love. 

When Joseph heard Judah plead for the sake of their father, he could not contain his emotions any longer.  Joseph finally saw true repentance for the evil they had committed against him at Dothan.  It was not Joseph’s fault that their father favored him.  The brother’s hatred for Joseph was a symptom of the contempt they held for their father.  Joseph did not reveal himself the first time his brothers bowed before him, because he knew the truth.  There would never be peace between Joseph and his brothers until his brothers forgave their father.  

 LOVE

For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  1 John 4:20, NIV

 It does not matter if you have a father like Job, who alienates you with his perfection.  It does not matter if you have a father like Isaac, who failed to love you when you couldn’t give him what he wanted.  It does not matter if you have a father like Jacob, who valued your sibling more than you. It does not matter if you have a father like I did, who doesn’t live up to your expectations of a good father.  It does not matter if your father ever becomes the father you want him to be.  It only matters that you love him.  If you don’t love the father you can see, how will you love the father you cannot see?


[1] Job 1:4, The Living Bible

[2] Isaiah 65:7, NIV

[3] Job 1:21, NIV

[4] 2 Samuel 18:33, KJV

[5] Job 2:9, NIV

[6] Job 7:7

[7] Genesis 37:35

[8] Job 42:11

[9] Matthew 6:29, KJV

[10] Genesis 44:4, NIV

[11] Genesis 44:16, KJV

About Teena Myers

Teena is the Vice Chairman of the Southern Christian Writers Guild, author of three books and a freelance writer.
This entry was posted in Epiphanies of Patriarchs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to CH 9 ABOUT FATHER

  1. Pingback: Resources for Genesis 42:21 - 24

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