Summary: Lessons about honoring our Fathers
When Honoring Your Father Has an Impact
Genesis 50 - Father’s Day 2016
Turn with me this morning to the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, chapter 49. Today is Father’s Day, and it is a day that we think about honoring fathers. I think for the most part we do a pretty good job of honoring our fathers when we are young. We draw pictures for dad’s office - we make hand-painted ties with little hand prints on them - we make cardboard pencil holders - or if your child is creative like Joy - you get little giraffe swimming pools. But as we become adults and have our own families, it can become harder to honor our fathers, especially when they age. Often our aging parents frustrate us or they do things to irritate us.
Today, as we look at the scriptures, we want to see a beautiful picture of honoring an aging parent in the example of Joseph here in the end of the book of Genesis. I’ll be reading today from the NIV, and I’ll begin at 49:29. Read 49:29 - 50:14 PRAY.
How far will you go to honor your father? In Joseph’s case, it was about 1,000 miles and a couple months of his life just for the funeral! In our culture we often take 5 minutes once a year on Father’s Day to call up dad, wish him a happy Father’s Day, and think we have done justice to the command of God to honor our father. But that 5 minute phonecall falls FAR short of what we should be doing.
Father’s Day is really a day to remind ourselves of what we should be doing 365 days a year. God calls us to live a life of honoring our fathers. The fifth of the 10 commandments tells us “Honor your father and mother”-- and Paul elaborates on it in Ephesians where he says --which is the first commandment with a promise--“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Of the 10 commandments, this is the only one that has a promise - if you honor your father, God will bless you! If you wonder why things aren’t going as well for you as you would like - you might want to pause and reflect on the question, “How well am I doing at honoring my father?”
So, to learn about honoring our fathers, we want to look at the example of Joseph. A few of these ideas I’ve shared before in the past - but then we’re going to add a few more layers to our understanding. First, on the basic level, the ground level of the story, when we simply look at Joseph’s actions, what does he teach us? First,
I. He Honors His Father In Life - Turn back to chapter 46 if you would. Here we find the account when Joseph brings Jacob his father down to Egypt in the second year of the famine. Joseph is 39 at the time; his father Jacob is 130. How does Joseph honor his father?
* Joseph provides Comfortable Care -
- he provides good housing - 46:31 - Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ you should answer, ‘Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.”
47:5 - Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen.
Joseph sees to it that his father is given the best part of the land for his home.
- he provides for his father’s transportation - 46:5 - Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. Joseph and his brothers make sure their father is transported safely.
- he provides for his father’s surroundings - 46:6 - They also took with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan, and Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt. As Jacob is relocated, Joseph makes sure his father is able to bring along the things that are precious and meaningful to him.