JACOB WAS A GREAT FAMILY MAN
Then Israel said, “It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die” (Genesis 45:28 NKJV).
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Though, it’s an occasion to celebrate and honour the fathers in our lives; it’s also a reminder of the roles fathers play in the lives of their families. Fathers are often recognized as the heads of their families. This responsibility makes them providers, protectors, counsellors, role models, bridge builders etc for their homes.
Jacob’s life was an intricate one. At a younger age, he ran away from his brother Esau for stealing his blessings from their father Isaac (Genesis 27). He also served fourteen years to marry Rachel the woman he loved (Genesis 29:15-30). He had twelve sons and a daughter named Dinah (30:21). One could only conjecture how crowded his home was in raising his children as he took care of his wives and himself. His family life is summed up in how he reacted to the invite he received from his son Joseph when he said; “It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die” (Genesis 45:28).
From all indications, Jacob was a family man who exemplifies three important qualities which every father should emulate. 1. He loved his family. 2. He provided for his family. And 3. He was a forgiver and unifier in his family
LOVE FOR HIS FAMILY
Jacob loved his wife Rachel. He also loved his sons including Joseph and Benjamin. He demonstrated his love for them in tangible ways. First, he gave a coat with many colours to his son Joseph (Genesis 37:3). Secondly, he sent food through Joseph to his older brothers who were taking care of their father’s sheep; and to bring news about their wellbeing to him (Genesis 37:12-14). Jacob also blessed his grandchildren and prophesied over them. On his death bed, he blessed all his sons (Genesis 49). All this speaks to his deep love for his family.
On this Father’s Day, may those of us who are fathers be motivated by the actions of Jacob to demonstrate our love in tangible ways for our families. It doesn’t take much to show our love to them. Even just saying “I love you!” speaks volumes about how much we care. Writing to the Corinthian church about love, Paul said; And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
PROVIDER FOR HIS FAMILY
Jacob was hard worker. The Bible says that, he worked fourteen years to marry Rachel the woman he loved (Genesis 29:15-30). His hard work paid off as he was blessed abundantly, he had enough to take care of his family. He showed leadership when famine struck in the land. With that much concern, he sent his children to Egypt to buy grain for the family (Genesis 42).
As fathers, our families are always looking up to us to show leadership by providing them their needs. These could be physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological or financial. We all know that we’re living in hard times. The question then is; how can we stretch our monies to cater to the needs of our families and others? I suggest we do what Jesus did to feed over five thousand people in Bethsaida. He was given only five loaves of bread and two fishes. After blessing them, he gave them to the disciples to feed the multitude (Luke 9:10-17). The lesson here is that, we have to pray over the little that we have; and trust God to “multiply” it. We need more of such miracles in our lives today than ever. Our God is a miracle working God. As he was in time past, he is same today and forever.
FORGIVER AND UNIFIER OF HIS FAMILY
Families are expected to be united because they’re bonded by blood. However, that’s not often the case. Jacob’s family had their own squabbles. The Bible talks about the feud that existed among his sons. The children of Leah did not see eye to eye with the children of Rachel. All because, they thought their father loved them (Joseph and Benjamin) more than them. They also felt threatened by Joseph’s dreams; and resented the idea of becoming their ruler in future. This acrimony escalated to the point where they eventually sold Joseph to Egypt and covered it up.
As it turned out, there was severe famine in the whole land including where Jacob and his family lived. Upon hearing that, there was grain in Egypt, he sent his sons to go and buy some for their use. Unbeknown to them, their brother Joseph was the one in charge of selling the grains. Though, he recognized them; but they did not. Eventually, he revealed himself to them; and sent an invite to his father Jacob and the rest of the family to come and live with him in Egypt.
After Jacob had met Joseph in Egypt, I believe he heard of the circumstances that sent him (Joseph) to Egypt. Though, he would be disappointed in his children’s behaviour, he forgave them; and brought the whole family together. Here’s the message his brothers sent him; 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may [a]actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” 16 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him (Genesis 50:15-17).
In every family, there might be some members who would think and act differently. Their actions might offend others; and when that happens, it’s the father’s responsibility to settle the issue; and forgive those who are in the wrong. This will help heal the family and bring everybody together. May the good Lord help us to play our part as good fathers; as we endeavor to build our families.
On behalf of all of us at Disciples Revival Church I wish all the fathers in our church, our friends and love ones around the world.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!
My second book titled: Understanding Love: Biblical & Cultural Perspectives has just been released. You may order your copy from Amazon.com or through the Publisher @ www.shidaanikei.com.
My first book; African Spirituality: Did Africans know God before the Arrival of the Missionaries? You purchase a copy at Amazon.com or www.shidaanikei.com
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Rev. Dr. & Rev. (Mrs.) Charles & Faustina Mantey
Disciples Revival Church
30 Gordon Mackay Road
Toronto, Ontario M9N 2V6. Canada
1. Charles Mantey, June 2015, A Father's Love Newsletter
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