Jacob, later called Israel, was one of the great Biblical fathers, who had twelve sons, whose descendants became the 12 Tribes of Israel.
The name Israel in Hebrew means “he struggles with God”, and Jacob had many struggles in his life. He took his birthright inheritance through subterfuge from his brother, Esau, and when he married sisters, Rachel and Leah, he showed preferential treatment to Rachel. His beloved Rachel gave him only two of his twelve sons, Benjamin and Joseph. Israel doted on Joseph so much that his remaining brothers grew jealous of him, which created family strife and division.
Joseph’s jealous brothers sold their brother into slavery and faked his death, causing their father deep sorrow.
Though Israel made many poor decisions, he doubtless made many good ones, and the Lord showed mercy on him. His son, Joseph, who had been sold into slavery in Egypt proved their salvation as he later became an Egyptian ruler and took them in during a devastating famine. The Lord was able to turn Israel’s family’s poor decisions and turn them around to something good.
Question: What can we learn as father’s from Jacob’s triumphs and mistakes? How can we prevent favoritism and the strife it causes in our families?