September 02, 2014

Favoritism: an Old Infection

Genesis 25:19-28

Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
—Genesis 25:28


Here we see the beginning of a bad old infection. It’s called favoritism. It can occur for the most trivial of reasons.

Isaac, for example, loved the taste of wild game. Esau knew how to kill and cook it. So Isaac doted on Esau.

Jacob, though, was a quieter type. That suited Rebekah. As time went on, the rift between Esau and Jacob grew. It led to a secret intrigue as Rebekah coached Jacob into stealing the blessing that Isaac intended for Esau. Esau vowed to murder his brother for that, and Jacob fled. He and Esau did not meet again for more than 20 years.

Jacob ran away to live among Rebekah’s family. There he fell in love with a cousin, Rachel. He offered to work seven years for her father, Laban, in order to marry her. But Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, Rachel’s sister, before he could also marry Rachel. And favoritism showed up again: Jacob’s “love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah” (Genesis 29:30). Later it moved to the next generation: Rachel’s firstborn son was Joseph, and Jacob “loved Joseph more than any of his other sons” (37:3).

Favoritism and other infections, like deceit, lying, stealing, revenge, and much more, have wormed their way into everyone’s family at times. No wonder redemption comes hard. Yet God is always faithful. Thanks be to God!

Father in heaven, thank you for the great comfort that when sin runs from one generation to another, so do your love, grace, and faithfulness. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Kenneth D. Koeman

Rev. Ken Koeman is a pastor at Bellevue, Washington, Christian Reformed Church. He has written Today devotions in past years and has also authored numerous articles for The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Ken and his wife, Kay, live in Bellevue and have two children and five grandchildren.

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