Summary: Showing favoritism in our parenting is a mistake we will want to avoid.
A. I hope you are enjoying our series on Avoiding Life’s Biggest Mistakes; I sure am!
B. This Sunday and next Sunday, I want to address the subject – “Avoiding the Mistakes of Parenting.”
1. Today we are going to address the mistake of favoritism.
2. And, Lord willing, next week we will address the mistake of not disciplining our children.
C. Let me say, right up front, there are no perfect parents, other than God himself, and look at the trouble that he has with some of His kids.
1. Seriously, none of us are perfect.
2. I don’t stand before you today claiming to be the perfect parent who knows it all.
3. I’m just a humble servant of God trying to understand God’s will and do the best I can with that understanding.
D. I have a cartoon that shows a woman getting help from the Reference Librarian at her local library.
1. The Reference Librarian is pointing and telling the woman, “You want the book How to Have Perfect Children? It’s in the fiction section.”
2. Anyone who thinks that they can raise perfect children is living in a fictional world!
E. Nevertheless, there are principles and pitfalls in parenting that we should be aware of.
1. We can do our best to learn God’s principles and instructions and try to follow them.
2. And we can learn about the mistakes of parenting and try to avoid them. Right?
F. I believe we will discover today that showing favoritism in our parenting is a disaster that we will want to avoid.
1. Our good/bad example for today is Jacob, and his story is found in the book of Genesis.
I. The Story
A. It’s a little hard to know the best way to tell this story, because there really is a lot to the story.
B. Perhaps the best place to start the story is way back before Jacob was even born.
1. As you probably recall, God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation, and that God would give him the land of Canaan.
2. That promise came to Abraham when he was 75 years old.
3. The problem was - Abraham and Sarah had no children.
4. 25 years later, the Lord was gracious to Sarah, and she became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age. She was 90 and he was 100 years old!
5. They named the boy Isaac and brought him up in the Lord.
C. When Isaac was of marrying age, they sent a servant back to Abraham’s original homeland to find a wife for Isaac from among the people of God, rather than from among the Canaanites where they were living.
1. The servant was guided by God to the home of Bethuel, son of Nahor.
2. Nahor was Abraham’s grandfather.
3. Bethuel had a daughter named Rebekah and a brother named Laban.
4. Rebekah agreed to go with the servant of Abraham and become the wife of Abraham’s son Isaac.
D. Isaac was 40 years old when he and Rebekah were married.
1. Unfortunately, just like his father and mother, this couple was having trouble getting pregnant.
2. So, Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, and the Lord answered his prayer.
3. 20 years later, Rebekah became pregnant, and she was carrying not one son, but two!
4. The baby boys seemed to wrestle within her to the point that she asked the Lord what this meant.
5. God replied, “Two nations are in your womb, and two people from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23)
E. When the two boys were born, they couldn’t have been any more different from each other.
1. The first born had red skin and a hairy body, so they named him Esau, which means “hairy.”
2. The second born came out with his hand grasping Esau’s heel, so they named him Jacob, which literally means “he grasps the heel,” and figuratively means, “he deceives.”
3. The Bible tells us that the boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country.
4. Jacob was a quiet man, who stayed among the tents.
F. But here is where the real trouble began for the family – the Bible tells us in Gen. 25:28, “Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”
1. This is a terrible pitfall in parenting.
2. This divided affection produced an unhealthy atmosphere of competition, mistrust, disrespect, and lingering resentment.
3. The two sons of Isaac and Rebekah were the unwitting victims, and unfortunately, Jacob would repeat the same mistake in his own family many years later.