Genesis 37 – Parental Failures


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If you have been around church for any length of time or even attended Vacation Bible School just once in your life, this story will be very familiar to you. Joseph, the treasured and favorite son of Israel (Jacob) is given a special coat by his father which creates some major family drama. As we will see over the next several chapters, Joseph was an honorable man with Godly character. In fact, commentators point out that there are more chapters written about Joseph than Isaac, Abraham, and anyone else. When studying the Bible, little cues such as this are always intriguing to note and ponder. So, what can we glean from Josephs’s story, character, trials, and faith?

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. (v. 3-4). 

If you are a sibling, you totally get the reaction of jealousy and hatred from Joseph’s brothers. Joseph was the baby and was treated as the obvious favorite. We only hear about the coat of many colors he received from his father, but can you imagine all the other little things along the way that led to his brother’s frustrations? Maybe he always got the biggest piece of goat for dinner, never had to take the trash out or fetch the bath water. Shoot, maybe he even got to take the first bath with the clean water.

We discussed family legacies last week and again, we see Israel (Jacob) making the mistake of playing favorites. He knew first hand, from growing up with his parents, how it felt to be dishonored, second best and not the “favorite” son.  Why would he want to put all his other sons in that position, by putting Joseph above them?

This portion of scripture came at the perfect time for me. Just yesterday, I was sitting with a dear friend discussing all the decisions we have to make as parents to give our children the best we have to offer. Sometimes, we make the wrong move and it doesn’t work out the way we intended or have to allow them to learn the hard way on their own. We just have to pray it offers learning lessons and not pain or setbacks. The truth is, we make mistakes as parents, and I think “favoritism” was one of Israel’s mistakes. Although, as we will see, God still accomplishes His great plan for Joseph’s life and his family. It brings me comfort to know that through my failures as a parent, God can work it together for the good of my children and can bring redemption, healing, and blessing through the mess.

Certainly, mistakes and failures are not our first choice, but when we keep praying for God to guide, protect, lead and light the path He desires for us to follow He will make a way.

I hope these verses were a great reminder that you are not alone out there. Parenting is hard, but you aren’t the only one who has tough days, says the wrong thing, or just gets it all wrong sometimes. The truth is, there is no perfect parent out there, just many trying to do the best they can. Is there a friend/parent that you can encourage this week? Do you need a little encouragement? Reach out to a friend and share your struggle or e-mail me. I’ll listen! You are loved!


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