:: CHALLENGE POINT ::
Early in the narrative of Joseph, the salient point is introduced--his brothers despised him. They would not speak peaceably with him as their attitude towards Joseph was one of hatred, and they were hostile toward him. Their hostility was rooted and grounded not so much because of what Joseph did, but initially in what Joseph's father did.
They despised Joseph because of the special affection that he received from their father. (Isn't it interesting how hostile the people of the church of Israel were toward Jesus when Jesus was seen to be the beloved of the Father?) There is a message for us in this initial part of the narrative history of Joseph. Particularly for those of us who are parents. Not all of us are parents, but all of us have been children. We don't necessarily all have brothers or sisters or siblings to have to deal with, but we can see how much destruction can come to a family and into a home when jealousy destroys the mutual love and affection among children, and in the relationship with their parents.
I think we have to see that the showing of favoritism is a very foolish thing and can have extraordinarily negative consequences in a home. I think perhaps the way we should remedy this is to try and manifest the love we have for our children as clearly as we possibly can. This sometimes includes and demands the giving of punishment because the Scriptures tell us that those who do not punish their children are hurting their children. What we want more than anything else is for our children to love us, although our obligation should be to love them first.