Family Favoritism – Genesis 37-40

Our church family is reading through the first five books of the Bible together in ninety days. We invite you to join us as we believe this will be a time that will change our lives. 

Read Genesis 37-40

If you remember Jacob married Rachel and they had two boys, Joseph and his younger brother, Benjamin. But there were 12 brothers in all, giving Jacob a total of 70 descendants. So, here is a family of shepherds – what could be more boring than a family of shepherds? At the beginning of the chapter, we witness everyone together. Yet as the story advances, this family continues to disintegrate. By the end of chapter 37, even the father, Jacob, refuses the comfort of his children. Here is a family that is fractured, backbiting, and backstabbing.

Jacob favored Joseph over his other eleven sons. He should have known better than to favor one child over the others – it was exactly what his father did to him. Favoritism was a generational sin in Jacob’s family. Jacob knew better than to show favoritism. Why? Because Jacob’s father, Isaac, loved his brother, Esau, more than Jacob. Jacob knew firsthand the sting of being passed over for the “favored one.” Jacob desperately wanted his father’s love. This neediness caused Jacob to be a deceptive manipulator. He manipulated people all of his life – he carefully crafted the outcome. The lifelong hurt inflicted by his father should have taught him otherwise.

3 Considerations Before Taking On Another’s Debt

Note: We are currently in a short sermon series starting Sunday, October 4 through Sunday, November 1 entitled Financially Fit. Join us at either North Richland Hills Baptist Church or Cross Church for this important series. You can also access important financial tools that accompany the series by clicking here.

Theo and Marla had been married for a little over three years. Theo had just graduated from Texas State University and was still looking for his career job. Until then, he was working as a dockworker for UPS. Marla was a receptionist during the week and worked at Waffle House part time on the weekends. Between credit cards, student loans, and department store credit, they were swimming in debt. They were discouraged when their friends were buying homes and they barely eked out enough money to pay rent. They wanted kids but felt they were financially stuck in life.

There are times in life when our compassion to assist someone struggling with debt moves us to action. Theo and Marla’s family wanted to help them financially. But should they?

We should note that God loves generosity. Again, God doesn’t like generosity but He loves it. The Bible describes a righteous person as someone who gives to others and lends to others (Psalm 37:21, 26). Further, God loves when generous people lend freely (Psalm 112:5). To be moved with compassion for another person in need is a wonderful thing. Yet, we must be careful that our compassion does not outpace past our wisdom.

1. Evaluate the Character of One in Need. Before Theo or Marla’s parents give to their children, they must ask a crucial question, “Will they have enough discipline not to borrow more? Will they exercise the discipline necessary to curb their spending?”

When you lend to a compulsive spender or a compulsive gambler, you are not being wise with your money. In fact, you are doing more damage to them and you are spending your money foolishly. Author Randy Alcorn has telling statement about this kind of lending: “Loaning money to bail out someone who is lacking financial discipline is like trying to put our fire with gasoline.” Before you lend money, you should ask yourself, “Is this what they really need?”

2. What Impact Will a Loan Have on the Relationship? Loaning to your children or friends will have an impact on your relationship. Many years ago, Traci and I were driving a 1992 Ford Explorer home to be with family for Christmas. We left Texas during an ice storm and noticed the engine was not “sounding right” as we drove through Oklahoma. When we arrived in Indiana to be with family, we discovered the transmission was compromised. I was depressed because transmissions were not cheap and I did not have the money to take care of the need. My father graciously secured someone to fix the transmission and paid the entire bill on our behalf. It was not loan but a gift.

Be aware that the relationship will change once the loan is made. Often, the relationship is greatly injured when money comes between friends or family members.

3. Do Not Cosign a Loan. The Bible, and Proverbs specifically, could not be more clear about this – do not assume responsibility for another person’s debts: “Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts” (Proverbs 22:26). Your compassion may move you to do this, but when you sign for someone else’s debt, you are effectively saying, “I will answer for all this person’s financial decisions.”

Rather than assuming responsibility for Theo or Marla’s debts, family members would be wise to help them build a budget. They could also generously give them a financial gift to assist them during their time of need.



An Evangelical Statement on Marriage: Here We Stand

The following statement is found at the Southern Baptist Conventions’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission website, where you can find other Christian resources in response to the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage. I fully affirm and joyfully signed this statement. Please consider the following my personal and official response to the SCOTUS ruling.

As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image. We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage represents what seems like the result of a half-century of witnessing marriage’s decline through divorce, cohabitation, and a worldview of almost limitless sexual freedom. The Supreme Court’s actions pose incalculable risks to an already volatile social fabric by alienating those whose beliefs about marriage are motivated by deep biblical convictions and concern for the common good.

The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman. From Genesis to Revelation, the authority of Scripture witnesses to the nature of biblical marriage as uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman. This truth is not negotiable. The Lord Jesus himself said that marriage is from the beginning (Matt. 19:4-6), so no human institution has the authority to redefine marriage any more than a human institution has the authority to redefine the gospel, which marriage mysteriously reflects (Eph. 5:32). The Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage demonstrates mistaken judgment by disregarding what history and countless civilizations have passed on to us, but it also represents an aftermath that evangelicals themselves, sadly, are not guiltless in contributing to. Too often, professing evangelicals have failed to model the ideals we so dearly cherish and believe are central to gospel proclamation.

Evangelical churches must be faithful to the biblical witness on marriage regardless of the cultural shift. Evangelical churches in America now find themselves in a new moral landscape that calls us to minister in a context growing more hostile to a biblical sexual ethic. This is not new in the history of the church. From its earliest beginnings, whether on the margins of society or in a place of influence, the church is defined by the gospel. We insist that the gospel brings good news to all people, regardless of whether the culture considers the news good or not.

The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:

• Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Romans 13:1-7);
• the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
• affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
• love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
• live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
• cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.

The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty. In the coming years, evangelical institutions could be pressed to sacrifice their sacred beliefs about marriage and sexuality in order to accommodate whatever demands the culture and law require. We do not have the option to meet those demands without violating our consciences and surrendering the gospel. We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage.

The gospel of Jesus Christ determines the shape and tone of our ministry. Christian theology considers its teachings about marriage both timeless and unchanging, and therefore we must stand firm in this belief. Outrage and panic are not the responses of those confident in the promises of a reigning Christ Jesus. While we believe the Supreme Court has erred in its ruling, we pledge to stand steadfastly, faithfully witnessing to the biblical teaching that marriage is the chief cornerstone of society, designed to unite men, women, and children. We promise to proclaim and live this truth at all costs, with convictions that are communicated with kindness and love