“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Genesis 37:3-4
It damages self-esteem, divides families, ends relationships, affects motivation, causes resentment, encourages conflicts and creates an environment of jealousy and toxicity. Favoritism has long lingering effects, which is seen in the life of Jacob’s (given the name Israel in Genesis 32:28) sons perpetuating hatred for their brother Joseph. Yes, he was Jacob’s son however there were ten older brothers’ that didn’t think so kindly of him. This sense of favoritism may have begun with his father. Joseph’s father had two wives the first wife Leah (whom he had been deceived into marrying by his father-in-law Laban) and a second wife one he sincerely loved named Rachel. All that aside, it was Rachel he loved yet she was barren and unable to bear a child for quite some time. It was later that she would give birth to two sons, Joseph and Benjamin (the youngest of 12 children). When assessing the life of Joseph we may ask the question “Does God have favorites”?
Joseph’s life is one of favor, jealousy, hatred, hard times, imprisonment, and in the end, esteem. Joseph’s life did turn out well but his bitterness lasted several years yet in time he came to realize that everything he went through was to fulfill the plan of God. Through it he gained understanding and became the person God had always purposed him to be.
When you consider the life of those who seem to have gained favor from God you will find that their lives weren’t necessarily easy. Some were persecuted, enslaved, fugitives, ridiculed, isolated, punished, imprisoned, and crucified (e.g. the Joseph, Moses, Israelites, Elijah, David, Paul, Jesus). Apparently God’s favoritism is not the same as viewed in human terms. Being God’s favorite can be costly but are you willing to pay the price?
“… the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you (Psalm 84:11b-12).”