Joseph was still a child when his family position became undeniably obvious. As his father (Jacob) prepared for a reunion with his angry brother (Esau), he divided his family. The ranking he exercised would fuel rivalries for decades. Clearly, dad’s favorite was established.
Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two maidservants. He put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. (Genesis 33:1-2, NIV)
From the very beginning, God was developing leadership within Joseph. To rule with wisdom and honor, one must clearly understand jealousy, envy, and manipulation. A ruler must be able to delegate responsibilities. The ability to rapidly spot character flaws is paramount. These were very advanced lessons for a child.
Beloved, let go of petty jealousy. Will family ranking matter in eternity? Instead, let us learn from these things. Maturity demands that we move beyond these weaknesses.
Although God may have His favorites, I have never been neglected or felt unloved. He always has time for me. Further, His relationship with another is not my business. In other words, the Father’s interaction with each of His children is individually crafted with perfection. With the Lord, there is no shortage of love.
Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 36:5-7, NIV)
Rev. Mark Baumgartner was the lead pastor at Hope Assembly of God (HAOG) Church, 3008 Cleveland Avenue, Aliquippa, PA (3 blocks from Hopewell Shopping Center) until his death in 2012. His wife of 30 years, Rev. Dr. Judy Baumgartner is the associate pastor at HAOG and executive secretary for Christians United in Beaver County (CUBC), which is a non-profit organization that sponsors Chaplaincy Programs at the Beaver County Jail, Friendship Ridge Nursing Facility, HVHS Beaver & Sewickley campuses, and Behavioral Wing of HVHS, Beaver campus, as well as many other community service projects/events and youth organizations.