The longer Abraham lived, the more he learned to take God literally, trust Him thoroughly, and obey Him eagerly. As the aging Patriarch approached the twilight of his life, he turned his attention to finding a lifelong companion for his son, Isaac.
Playing favourites is nothing new. In fact, the Old Testament story of Jacob and Esau describes a family torn apart by favouritism. Parents and teachers today can learn from this family story—favouritism causes division that continues for generations.
As Abraham neared the sunset of his life, he clearly didn’t waste his retirement years sitting around feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he lived his last years to their fullest. From his example, we can learn a lot about ending well and finishing strong.
Though a twin, he was quite the opposite of his younger brother and ultimately became the heartache of the family. Ripped off by his brother and rejected by his family, he couldn’t win, no matter how hard he tried. As we shall soon discover, the Bible pulls no punches. And you may find several places in this story where you can identify with Esau, “the son who couldn’t win.”
We know that we are all sinful and in need of salvation, but often, we fail to consider that we bear the specific “bents” of our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. When we think about it, all of us must admit the direct link between the people we have become and the lives of those who formed our heritage—for good and for ill.
While you and I may not have the sculpting skills of Michelangelo we are able to use something even more powerful, our words.
If you feel like you’re still in that waiting and wondering phase, I’d suggest that you think of yourself as already on the path of your calling. Think of what fires you up and how that can be used to minister.
The biography of Joseph is nothing short of remarkable, occupying as much or more space in Genesis than the biographies of Adam, Noah, Abraham, or even his father, Jacob. Joseph emerges from the pages of Scripture as a man with whom most of us can identify. Over his long life, Joseph responded to broken dreams and impossible circumstances with a faith that propelled him from the pit of slavery to the pinnacle of power.
It’s not the bait that constitutes sin; it’s the bite! Joseph understood this and refused to let his desire run wild when Potiphar’s wife enticed him to sin. We want to understand why and how Joseph said no when lust’s offer was pleading for him to answer yes.
When it comes to temptation, our culture offers very little motivation to resist it. More often than not, we hear the voices yelling, “Give in! You deserve to be happy!” Truly, yielding to temptation is much easier than resisting it. Joseph provides a sterling example of one who could have cuddled lust and enjoyed its warm embrace but instead chose to resist its persistent, alluring offer in favour of righteousness.