3. Treat all people the same

As we have learned last week, Joseph was born into a house filled with jealousy. His aunt was jealous of his mom due to his father's devotion to her and his mom was jealous that her sister had six sons and a daughter and she had only Joseph. But love Joseph she did and his father also. He was Jacob's favorite son by far. We don't know much about Joseph's early childhood, for when he is introduced in chapter 37 of Genesis he is already seventeen years old.

Now when he is introduced he is feeding the flock with his brothers. Upon returning home he brought a bad report about his brothers to his father. Whether they deserved that bad report we don't know, but judging by their character that we read about in the Bible, I bet that it was true. On the other hand it made him very unpopular with his brothers. Joseph was still very immature and didn't think through the consequences that his actions might have.

We are often in situations like that too. Often people disappoint us, do things that hurt us or simply do things that are not right. We then need to sit still, assess the situation, pray about it and ask God for guidance and even sleep on it. Most of the time we will take much better action, than when we rush head on into a situation and simply make matters much worse. I have experienced this several times in my life, where I was so sorry that I didn't just wait before reacting. If I had waited I would have been calmer and I would have handled the whole situation differently. Joseph's actions didn't win him any favors and if he was more mature I am sure he would have handled it differently.

Now Jacob on the other hand was mature, but he also didn't act correctly. The Bible tells us:

"Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son in his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors." Genesis 37:3

This was not right of Jacob. Yes, I understand that personality wise you might get along with one of your children more than the other, but you love and treat them the same. You should never differentiate between them.

Jacob didn't just secretly love Joseph more than the others; he also blessed him with a tunic of many colors. Such a beautiful tunic was unheard of in those days. His other sons being shepherds probably had dull robes with which they can look after the flock. But Joseph was special and received the best of the best. And this made his brothers mad:

"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." Genesis 37:4

Jacob's love for Joseph was no secret and it made life more difficult for Joseph. No doubt he liked the love and attention from his father, but it made his day to day life difficult with brothers who hated him and who couldn't speak well or positively to him.

Sometimes we do the same. Maybe as a parent we subconsciously treat the one child better than the other, or as a teacher you give the student you like a better mark than the others, or as a boss you want one of your employees to succeed more than the others even though they are not the best candidate for the job and so I can go on. We need to be careful not to give special privileges to one and not the others in the same position. At the end of the day we are not truly helping that person as the others will see it and treat them with disdain and maybe even make life difficult for them. Of course we cannot like all people the same, but we need to treat them the same when we are in a position of authority over them. Rather leave the promotion to God. He will lead the right person upward based on His divine plan for their lives. In HIs hands they are safe.

Father, please help us to behave in a correct and godly way. We don't want to react too quickly to people's actions towards us and we want to treat all people that we have authority over in the same way. Please help us with that. In our flesh we are weak and we cannot do it, but with You by our side all things are possible. Amen

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