Summary: The story of Joseph stands out even more when you realize the kind of home he was raised in. He had a very passive father in Jacob.
INTRO: “I don’t get mad, I get even” isn’t merely a harmless bumper sticker that makes us all smile. It is a strong statement of painful reality among our culture. How else can we explain the abundance of lawsuits, the short fuses of drivers, or the explosive and sometimes deadly reactions of those who feel they’ve been wronged?
Then, when you consider the day and age in which we live, add to that rampant immorality from Hollywood to the church house. Think about the shameful lack of character and integrity in our world today. How many politicians have we seen rise to some of the highest offices in the land, all without possessing a shred of honesty and character?
I am asking you to think for a moment about all the things that are wrong with the world. From the unchurched and unsaved to the saved churchgoer – it leaves a lot to be desired. I am talking about the conditions of our society that make us sit on our front porch and wonder, “What is going on here?” There is no more character, integrity and common decency in the world. It’s enough to make you depressed!
Thankfully, there are exceptions. Every once in a while we stumble upon a life that boldly represents a contrast to the lowest common denominator of today’s majority opinion. And we are stunned that such a person exists.
We are going to take a detour from studying a book of the Bible and look at the life of a man in the book of Genesis. Joseph was a man of character and integrity. Listen to me, regardless of how he was treated, in spite of unfair and false accusations, even though he was rejected, abandoned, abused, and forgotten, he refused to become resentful or seek revenge or succumb to bitterness. In fact, nothing bad is ever reported about Joseph. He seems almost too good to be true. One-fourth of the book of Genesis is devoted to his story. And his story of patience, purity, and promotion will amaze you.
As with any story, there’s always the background information that is important to know as well. This makes the character of Joseph stand out even more – knowing the kind of home in which he was raised and his very passive father named Jacob.
I. Passive parenting leads to a dysfunctional family.
– Jacob’s name means “deceiver” and that was an appropriate name for him since that had been his nature from the time he was a young man. It is not surprising then how much deception was a part of the ongoing family problems later in life.
– Parents who are passive in their home are also deceived. They are deceived if they think that anyone else is going to raise their kids. It is not the job of the church, the pastor, the youth group, the school, the boy scouts, the daycare, or the after-school clubs to raise their kids. God gave them to you to be the parent.
– Don’t be deceived, don’t be passive, get involved or you’ll have a dysfunctional family.
– I don’t want to take it for granted that all of you remember the story of Jacob when it comes to him finding a wife. Here is a brief synopsis:
– As a young man, Jacob fell in love with Rachel, the beautiful daughter of a man named Laban. Jacob promised to work for 7 years for Laban if he could marry Rachel. So he did, but on his wedding day, Laban tricked the trickster himself and pulled a switch and Jacob ended up marrying Leah, Rachel’s older and less attractive sister.
– When Jacob realized what happened, he promised to work 7 more years for Rachel. Obviously, this was the woman he loved! So he married Rachel but the family was clearly not off to a good start.
– Leah bore children but Rachel was barren. Leah bore Jacob 7 children – 6 sons and 1 daughter. Because Rachel was barren, she told Jacob to lie with her handmaid so he could have children. Leah, who was temporarily barren, offered him her handmaid as well. So, as a result of Leah and Rachel’s competition for Jacob’s affection and for motherhood, he also bore 4 sons by his wives’ handmaids. Sounds like a bad soap opera, doesn’t it?
– During all this, Rachel pleaded with God to open her womb, to give her a child. Finally, God remembered her and gave them Joseph. By now, Jacob had worked 20 long years for his father-in-law and was eager to take his large family to Canaan.
– On the way to Canaan, they stopped in the city of Shechem and tragedy occurred. Dinah, Jacob’s daughter by Leah was raped. But she was surrounded by brothers who loved her so they devised a plan and deceived the Hivites into falling into their trap. They slaughtered all the men of the city and carried off the wealth, women, and children (Genesis 34).