NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passages: Genesis 37:3-8, 18-28
— What memories from your childhood evoke strong emotions? How do these memories and emotions affect you even today?
— How have you seen favoritism harm you or others at home, at work, or in some other setting?
— How might you be prone to exhibit the sin of favoritism at times toward some of God’s family, either in your heart or through your actions?
Food for Thought:
Read Genesis 37:1-11. Favoritism, hatred and strife plagued Abraham’s family for generations. Isaac favored Esau while Rebekah favored Jacob. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Jacob favored Joseph, the firstborn son God gave his beloved Rachel. Because of favoritism, Jacob struggled to have peace in his family.
You would think Jacob would have known better. He had seen how favoritism could tear apart a family. It was the story of his upbringing. And yet, the only thing Jacob seemed to learn from that was how to play favorites. He did it with his wife Rachel. He did it with his son Joseph. It is no surprise to see the results were the same: a family divided.
Joseph’s brothers were blinded by jealousy and hatred, and Jacob was blind to just how deep their jealousy went. Sending Joseph to report on them, the doting father had given his vengeful sons the opportunity they needed to dispense with their “beloved” brother, and they devised a plan to murder him. As King Solomon would later warn, “Fury is cruel, and anger a flood, but who can withstand jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4). Joseph and Jacob would soon see the wisdom of that proverb.
It is natural that we learn from Jacob’s mistakes and seek to put the sin of favoritism to death in our families. We should do this. We need to do this. The unity and harmony of our homes depends on it. But as important as that is, there is much more at stake here.
As we consider a father’s unequal love for his children, we should be drawn to delight in the Father’s equal and steadfast love for His children. God does not play favorites within His family. All of us who have trusted in Christ are invited to approach God as our loving Father. And as we do, we are to be drawn toward one another as well.
We are to seek to love all of our brothers and sisters in Christ as God does, with the love that He gives us. There is no place for partiality within the church.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject .
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.