Choosing your favorites

The story of Joseph in the Old Testament book of Genesis is one that has always fascinated me. Jacob - whose name is later changed to Israel and is the father of that nation - had 12 sons, his favorite of which was Joseph. Joseph's oldest brothers resented him and secretly sold him into slavery, leaving Jacob to believe that his son was dead.

Through an incredible series of God's providences, Joseph eventually winds up second in command in Egypt after he rightfully predicts a coming famine. Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy food for his family and while they are there Joseph recognizes them but doesn't reveal his own identity. As part of his plan to reunite with his family, Joseph accuses his brothers of being spies against Egypt and told them that their brother Simeon would be imprisoned until they brought their youngest brother, Benjamin, back with them. This was all a ploy by Joseph to see his family again.

The brothers returned home and told their father what had happened. Jacob adamantly refused to allow them to return with Benjamin, for he had replaced Joseph as his father's favorite. This is where the story gets interesting to me. A year passes before Jacob's family is in need of food and they are forced to return to Egypt to buy more. All this time Simeon has been sitting in a jail cell. Joseph is probably wondering when his brothers will return and Simeon is wasting away assuming that his brothers have turned on him just like they did Joseph.

Imagine if you can choosing one family member over another. Jacob chose Benjamin over Simeon and left him in a jail cell in a foreign country. Eventually Jacob relented, sent Benjamin with his other sons, and the story has a happy ending, but what was Simeon thinking all this time? To be chosen against would be a hard proposition to grasp. Imagine how our Lord feels when we choose favorites over Him as well.

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