Are you amazed at how often as you read the Old Testament and then the New, you see “types”? For example, Adam was a type and so was Moses, Joshua and David and many others. Each one was a “type” of Christ and each one was used by God in specific ways to point to Messiah who was to come.
As soon as we reach Genesis 12, God starts showing us His plan for the corrupt, depraved race that descended from Adam … and was affected by his fall into sin. Remember he was the substitute man. What he did he did for us!
God raises up Abram who becomes Abraham through whom He builds the nation of Israel. It would be through this nation that the Messiah comes to save … not just the people of Israel who believe, but anyone in the world of nations who believes on the Lord Jesus and His substitutionary death for pardon, cleansing and salvation.
I want us to look at one of the key figures God used to create the Nation of Israel. His name was Joseph. He was a “type” of Christ (Messiah). The story starts way back when Isaac, Abraham’s son fathered two sons, Jacob and Esau. Their sordid tale can be found in Genesis 25-28. Jacob flees to his mother’s brother, uncle Laban. Just as Jacob deceived Esau, so Laban deceived Jacob. Thinking he was marrying Rachel, he married Leah and later the love of his heart, Rachel. Together with each one’s helper (maid), Jacob fathered 12 sons and at least one daughter. Their family history stretches from chapter 29 to the end of Genesis. Our business is to consider Joseph as a type of Christ, so I’ll leave most of Jacob’s history for you to read yourself.
Joseph Was a Much Loved Son
His father Jacob, now known as Israel, demonstrated he loved Joseph more than the other sons
Ge 37:2 This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.
Favoritism in a family, especially when a parent loves one child more than the other or others and shows it publically can lead to relational conflict between the siblings. This was the case with Israel’s sons. Perhaps stepping back is important … Israel was in a polygamous union with two wives and two concubines. Where this might have been cultural practice amongst the pagans, it was never sanctioned by God who stated that a monogamous marriage in a faithful union (Gen 2:24) is what He required. It seems as though Joseph as a teenager saw things the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah did and reported it to daddy. (He most likely gossiped although what he said was likely true). To make matters worse was the fact that daddy loved Joseph more than the other sons … and never forget that the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah were not from the Laban blood stock. Their moms were slave girls! One almost gets the picture that they were “less valuable and important” because of their bloodline. Were they seen as children of pleasure? It seems as though Israel picked up the “favoritism” persuasion from his mother, Rebekah … and although he was deceived by Laban, he chose to marry Rachel too. Then with his wives we see bribery for sleeping rights and eventually offering the servants as sleeping partners with the intent of pregnancy. There was jealousy amongst the wives … one wonders what the relationship was like between the servant girls and the wives? And then … “Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons”. He demonstrated this by making “a richly ornamented robe” for Joseph. We will see Joseph rise up to become a great man and a savior for the offspring of Israel , but right now he as a teenager does not help family matters by becoming a tattle-tale-tit! Remember we are talking about Joseph being loved more than the other sons in the context of him being a “type”.
There is another story about a much loved son … When our Lord Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, we read:
Mat 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
See the “type” … see the “difference”? Joseph was loved “more than any of Israel’s other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age”. Although not Israel’s last born, Joseph was born when Israel was old and he was the first born of the wife he loved. Jesus however was loved by the Father because the Father was “well pleased” with Him! Both were loved dearly but for different reasons … the one because of his father’s old age and the other because His father was pleased with Him! Today, as Christian parents we are called to love our children equally without having a favorite! At times it might be difficult because of the way different children respond and behave … but it really starts with parenting. It is our duty as parents to raise our children equally, giving each one the same opportunities, love, discipline, protection, encouragement and spiritual nurture. We must groom our children to understand equal love and shared love. They need to see this in us as parents … as we love our spouse demonstratively and then as we love each child equally for whom they are. To choose to love one child more than the other is a sin. They are individuals in their own right and as they see equal love there won’t be competition, jealousy or fighting. Importantly, the world’s mold is not our mold. We as believers are different. For us God’s way is the right way. He loves each one born again equally irrespective of our performance and achievements, our skills and track record. You see, God love us … He hates our sin, but He loves us and that is the way we need to love our children … each one is special and each one deserves the same love from parent to child. In turn they will respond correctly.
Dear Lord, preserve us from loving our children differently. As You love us equally help us to love equally. Amen