Does your family play favorites? “Isaac loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:28). Jacob knew the sting of family favoritism, He was loved by his mom, but his father preferred his brother. Favoritism produces pain and division, yet when Jacob became a dad, he chose a son to favor as well. “Now Israel (Jacob) 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” (Genesis 37:3).
Joseph’s brother dealt with the favoritism by selling their younger brother into slavery and telling their dad he had been killed by a fierce animal. So Jacob mourned, then promoted another son, Benjamin, in his stead. The favorite’s chair continued to be filled.
The chain of favoritism would continue until, at last, it was broken by humility. Judah, one of Joseph’s brothers, chose to be last instead of first. When the life of the new fav write son, Benjamin, appeared to be in danger, Judah offered his own in exchange, “Please let me remain instead of Benjamin as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers” (Genesis 44:33). Judah offered his life for the sake of his brothers and his father.
Joseph, one of the favorites, appears to be the hero of the last dozen chapters of Genesis. The line of Jesus, however, tells a different story. God’s Son, the Servant King, would descend not through the favored line of Joseph, but through a different son, a servant. “Jesus…the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham” (Luke 3:33-34).
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). This was the way of Jesus, the way of Judah, the way of humility.
My God, what humility from the King of kings and Lord of lords. We don’t rule that way, but our Creator does. How pompous we are, the desire to be first reigns in our heart. Yet, the One who is truly First places Himself last, in the role of servant.
I have learned from Your Son, my Savior, that to be first I must be last, as well. That You shine through me when I love and serve others. May I be one who follows You downward, emptying my own pride, and replacing it with love and sacrifice.