February 2012

I recently watched a video where Floyd McClung answered the question, “What was the highlight of your life this past year?” After admitting that many would seem it strange, he said it was the funeral of his father.

His answer struck a responsive chord with me. I also had a part in an end-of-life service this past year. My mother”s home going last April was the climax of an humble and unselfish life. Being a participant as we watched a mother lead her extended family to the crossing, and then, without fear or complaining showed us, “This is how it’s done;” was fantastic beyond bounds.

If you care to comment; I would be interested to hear what was the highlight of your recent past.

Yea a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:35

In my reading this morning, I once again came across the concept about how unfairly Jacob treated young Joseph by presenting him with favor and a special coat. The author seemed to fault Jacob for “Promoting Joseph prematurely”. The writer was certainly not alone in the opinion expressed, and while this lesson may have value when raising children, (a concept, which I also sometimes question,) faulting Jacob seems to me to be short-sighted and ignores what I suspect may be an element of wisdom in Jacob’s dealing with his sons.

The basis of my suppositions is the activities which I see from my Heavenly Father, himself. As I study the scriptures I come up with a whole variety of examples where God seems to choose, and, rather arbitrarily, sets the stage for conflict among his children. The first of those examples is none other than with the first set of his children. Two young men bring an offering to him. How nice! He accepts one and rejects the other. How unfair! And it just goes on from there.

He gives Abraham and Sarah the promise of a special son and then holds out on fulfilling that promise until, driven to the point of desperation; Abraham takes matters into another woman’s bed and sets the stage for the Arab conflict that lasts to this day. Next, Abraham’s Daughter-in-law is told, “I reject your first child for the birthright blessing and instead pick the younger.” In case you miss the point, let me ramp it to the next level.

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Duet. 7:6-8 KJV

So tell me mister! Why should a band of scruffy nomads get plunked down into a strategic area in the middle of the Middle East – and with a special promise like that?

It certainly doesn’t stop there:

God somehow gets a virgin pregnant, and puts her under the threat of being stoned. Next he claims that her offspring should be “His Only Begotten Son” He announces that son with a special star and an angel choir. This action trips a pagan king into mass executions; (Rachel, Abraham’s daughter-in-law, still weeps for her children.) and makes that special son a fugitive in Egypt. When the Heavenly Father next declares that son before the world, it is with the proclamation of a prophet, the descent of a dove, and a thundering voice from heaven, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED. Jesus wore his own version of the many colored coat; walked a path of specialness; and followed a course that had no options short of leading straight to a Roman cross. Once again, God demonstrated that “His ways” and “His thoughts” are certainly not ours.

Somehow I suspect that Jacob knew; he was doing more than just spoiling a son.