THE FORMATION OF A CHILD’S CHARACTER

Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:1-11

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.” (Genesis 37:3,4)

For the next several weeks, we will be turning our attention to the last major section in the Book of Genesis, which primarily deals with the life of Joseph. James Boice wrote these words about Joseph — “Joseph’s life spanned the social spectrum of the ancient world. Raised as the future heir of the wealthy Jewish patriarch, he fell into slavery in a far-off Gentile land but later rose to a position of prominence as second in command only to Pharaoh. He was loved and hated, favored and abused, tempted and trusted, exalted and based. Yet at no point in the 110 year life of Joseph did he ever seem to get his eyes off God or cease to trust Him. Adversity did not harden his character. Prosperity did not ruin him. He was the same in private as in public. He was truly a great man” (James M. Boice, “Commentary on Genesis”).

Joseph was the first son of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. Rachel was the love of Jacob’s life. He worked 14 years to get her as his wife. Joseph was the child of Jacob’s later life. This is very significant because Jacob, the deceiver, went through a major change in his life after he wrestled with the angel of the Lord (Genesis 32: 22-32). God changed his name from Jacob to Israel. Israel’s life changed dramatically. He became a godly man. Joseph was influenced by his changed father. The other sons were most impacted by the deceiver Jacob. They all had bad reputations. They did some very bad things and obviously lacked the character, faith and integrity of Joseph.

We can immediately see a problem that existed between Joseph and his brothers. We are told that Israel loved Joseph more than an other of his sons. Israel showed favoritism to Joseph. The result was that “his brothers were jealous of Joseph,” and they hated him. Obviously Israel made a major mistake in showing favoritism to Joseph as it created problems for the family for many years.

The foundation of a child’s character is greatly influenced by the environment of the home. In the earlier days, the tents of Jacob were filled with strife and jealousy. It is sad to see homes that are filled with strife, deceitfulness, jealousy, and bitterness. Our homes should be a safe-haven for our children, not a war zone. Jacob experienced a major spiritual renewal in his latter years. Surely Joseph experienced a great love from his father and he was influenced by Israel’s faith. I’m convinced that Joseph’s character formation was greatly influenced by his father’s spiritual renewal.

Parents must be aware of the importance of creating a healthy atmosphere in the home. Our homes must be places where our children can be nurtured, loved, and encouraged. We see also how important it is for parents to live out their faith before their children. They must set a godly example to their children, and be open and honest about their faith. Being a grandparent, I also see the influence I have on my grandchildren. We must seek to live out the gospel before our children and grandchildren. Doing so will greatly influence the development of their character.

Lord Jesus, grant me grace to live out my faith before my children and grandchildren. Let them see You in me. Enable me to have a godly influence upon them and give me wisdom as I seek to love and nurture them. Let me live out the gospel before my children and grandchildren. Let them see my love for You.

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One thought on “THE FORMATION OF A CHILD’S CHARACTER

  1. Sharon Lesslie Goodman says:

    Thank you for this new refreshing insight to a passage I’ve read many times. Another example of proof of the living power of God’s word. It’s as relevant today as it was many years ago.
    Thank you for your continued commitment to studying His word and sharing what God lays on your heart.

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