Favouritism and prejudice
Genesis 31, Psalm 35, Matthew 20
One characteristic of human nature that God does not like, which was evident in our readings today in Genesis, is the effect of favouritism and its resulting unfairness and potential to create prejudice. We see God’s reaction to Jacob’s favouritism toward Rachel and dislike of Leah. Rachel was party to this as is evident from Leah’s comment to her,
“You have taken away my husband” (30:15)
and Leah’s approach to Jacob,
“I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes” (verse 16).
We must be thankful that from the time of Christ, the principle of one man one wife that God established at the beginning was restored. There is no indication that the descendents of Seth had more than one wife and Noah certainly didn’t.
Prejudice is also evident among the sons of Laban, for while they acknowledged the blessings that came during the first fourteen years that Jacob was with them, they resent Jacob providing for his own household (31:1) and even Rachel and Leah came to be regarded by him as “foreigners” (verse 15).
This is a lesson for those who benefit from situations not of their making to act wisely and without prejudice when those blessings cease.
We will have another lesson of the curse of favouritism when we read of the prejudice that occurs between the sons of Jacob because of his favouritism toward Joseph. Yet the remarkable thing in several of these situations is that God makes use of human prejudices and jealousies, for he gives us freewill and sometimes weaves his foreknowledge of human action to fit in with his ordained end.
“For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We must realize this is for the good of his purpose; it might not necessarily seem to be for ours at the time, such as when Joseph was put into the pit by his brothers! Paul’s words to the Philippians are instructive; he says that some people do things (in this case preaching)
“from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love …” (1:15,16).
But whatever the motive, says Paul,
“Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (verse 18).
Let love motivate us in all that we do – remember how Jesus said his followers should follow God’s example and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) illustrating this by how God did not show favouritism in the provision of the sun and the rain.
- Through the Bible in one year 2018; 16th January
- Genesis 29-31
- Genesis 31
- Genesis 31 (BBT Translation)
- Genesis 31:1-48
- Genesis 31-33
- Day 11 Genesis 31-34
- Genesis 31, Jacob flees from Laban, Rachel’s theft of idols, the Mizpa
- #Fearless 365 | Genesis 31:42
- A Walk Through The Bible – Genesis 31- Remember and Trust
- God Sees All…
- Do not sit on stolen idols
- “The Fearsome God of Isaac”
- Mizpah — it’s not what you think [Genesis 31:43-55]
- Vayetze Genesis 31 Adults’ and children’s versions
- The Champion
- Deliver Me From The Hand Of My Brother – A Sermon On Genesis 32:3-31
- Favouritism, a path to discouragement
- A Dangerous Church? The Elephant in the Balliol College Freshers Fair