Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sibling Rivalry

Today, Matt Sanders, our Family pastor at Journey Christian Church, began a series about the family. The series is called "Picture Perfect." Todays sermon was thought provoking. It took us through the family dynamics of Jacob's 12 sons.

When reading or studying scripture I like to find the place where my life intersects with God's word. The story of Joseph has always given me some insight into God, His plan, and lessons for me. Today was no exception. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper truth to me. That is always a blessing, though not always easy!

When we first see Joseph in the Bible, he is a favored child of Jacob. He gets a special coat to wear and has the attention and the love of his father. I could hear the Holy Spirit tell me that I have always wanted to be a favorite as well. I am the second oldest child of a brood of seven. I was not the coddled youngest, nor the relied upon oldest. I was just second and always wanting to be first in line and in the hearts of my parents. O, yes, they loved me, but the love was different than the love of the firstborn and the last! In my eyes they had a special place. So, I was always wanting something I didn't have or be someone I wasn't.

I wondered if there might be another family for which I would be best suited back then, but Matt confirmed that God has determined our families. He has put us in the place that He wants us. Yes, He even placed me as a second child in a group of seven. He has a plan and He gave me a job. As Matt said: "Do what only You can do." Hm, what is it that only I can do in my family? I'll be giving that more thought. But on to the story.

Because Joseph was favored by his Father, he became hated by his brothers. Joseph didn't help matters. He shared his grand dreams of ruling over the family with his already jealous siblings. Again, I could put myself in the place of Joseph. I had dreams. I wanted to be first, didn't I? I may have even spoken out about my dreams to my sisters and brothers. Today I thought about how my arrogance and pride may have caused those rifts between family members that are so hard to mend. Oh my, The Holy Spirit can step on my toes sometimes!

Josephs brothers made a terrible decision to kill Joseph, but ended up selling him into slavery. They had no idea that their plan was also part of God's plan. God would use their ruthless deed against Joseph to set up the preservation of the entire family. I have been in the sandals of the brothers too. I sometimes wanted to kill or at least do something mean to those who seemed to command the better position in the family. Oh my, I am in need of a Savior!

Circumstances can cause families to fall apart or come back together. It took some doing to make that happen for Jacob's children. A severe drought, Joseph forgiving the wrongs against him, and repentant hearts of the brothers all came together to bring a group of related people back into being a family. I want to be the forgiving person, the repentant sinner who offers kindness to others in my family. I sometimes am that person, but sometimes I am not. I need to work on this.

The lesson learned? God put me into the family I belong to and He expects me to do what only I can do in that family! It may not be a perfect family but by God's grace it is the perfect family for me!

Father God, You designed and ordained the family unit. In wisdom You joined each person to others so that Your plan could be fulfilled for each of them and for the world around them. Forgive us, Father, for not trusting You and for taking out our misunderstandings on those who are closest to us. Thank You for each of our family members, in our earthly families and in our church family. Thank You for giving us grace to forgive and giving us all more than enough chances for making it right when we have hurt each other. Bring us to the place where we are united in love and offer forgiveness and grace to all our brothers and sisters. We have received Your forgiveness and grace through our older brother, Jesus. Let us be more like Him!
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