1. JACOB’S PARENTAL MISTAKE
a. Where did Jacob go wrong in rearing his children? Genesis 37:2, 3.
“Parents should show no partiality, but should treat all their children with tenderness, remembering that they are the purchase of Christ’s blood. Children imitate their parents; hence great care should be taken to give them correct models.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 319.
b. How did this mistake affect the rest of the brothers? Genesis 37:4.
“[Joseph’s] mother being dead, his affections clung the more closely to the father, and Jacob’s heart was bound up in this child of his old age. He ‘loved Joseph more than all his children’ (Genesis 37:3).
“But even this affection was to become a cause of trouble and sorrow. Jacob unwisely manifested his preference for Joseph, and this excited the jealousy of his other sons.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 209.
“Fathers and mothers should carefully and prayerfully study the characters of their children. They should seek to repress and restrain those traits that are too prominent, and to encourage others which may be deficient, thus securing harmonious development. . . . The ill-balanced mind, the hasty temper, the fretfulness, envy, or jealousy, bear witness to parental neglect. These evil traits of character bring great unhappiness to their possessors.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 66, 67.
2. FROM CAUSE TO EFFECT
a. In what way did Jacob’s wives foster a wrong spirit in their children? Genesis 29:30–32; 30:1–8, 20.
“The sin of Jacob . . . revealed its bitter fruit in the character and life of his sons. As these sons arrived at manhood they developed serious faults. The results of polygamy were manifest in the household. This terrible evil tends to dry up the very springs of love, and its influence weakens the most sacred ties. The jealousy of the several mothers had embittered the family relation, the children had grown up contentious and impatient of control, and the father’s life was darkened with anxiety and grief.”—Conflict and Courage, p. 72.
“Rachel was ever the one best loved; but [Jacob’s] preference for her excited envy and jealousy, and his life was embittered by the rivalry between the sister-wives.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 189, 190.
b. How can a wrong spirit manifested by the parents affect the character development of the children? Ephesians 6:4; Ezekiel 16:44; Romans 2:21. How can we set the right example? 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Peter 2:21–23.
“When fathers and mothers realize how their children copy them, they will watch carefully every word and gesture.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1118.
“How earnestly and perseveringly the artist labors to transfer to canvas a perfect likeness of his model; and how diligently the sculptor hews and chisels out the stone into a counterpart of the copy he is following. So the parents should labor to shape, polish, and refine their children after the pattern given them in Christ Jesus. As the patient artist studies, and works, and forms plans to make the results of his labors more perfect, so should the parent consider time well spent that is occupied in training the children for useful lives and fitting them for the immortal kingdom.”—Child Guidance, pp. 476, 477.
“When I have felt roiled and was tempted to speak words that I would be ashamed of, I would keep silent and pass right out of the room and ask God to give me patience to teach these children. Then I could go back and talk with them, and tell them they must not do this wrong again. We can take such a position in this matter that we shall not provoke the children to wrath. We should speak kindly and patiently, remembering all the time how wayward we are and how we want to be treated by our heavenly Father.”—Ibid., pp. 254, 255.
3. THE BROTHERS’ DECEPTION
a. When is the temptation to tell a lie the strongest? Genesis 37:27– 32; 3:11–13; 4:9, 10.
“How true it is that one sin leads to another; and how forcibly is this truth illustrated in the case of Cain! He seemed surprised at the question, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’ (Genesis 4:9). He had gone so far in sin, had so far yielded himself to the influence of Satan, that he had lost a sense of the presence of God, and of His greatness and knowledge. So he lied to the Lord to cover up his guilt.”—The Signs of the Times, December 16, 1886.
“While Satan can employ fraud and sophistry to accomplish his objects, God cannot lie; while Lucifer, like the serpent, can choose a tortuous course, turning, twisting, gliding, to conceal himself, God moves only in a direct, straightforward line.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 319.
b. How did the brothers’ deceptive trickery bring upon themselves trouble and heartache? Genesis 37:34, 35; 42:36–38.
“‘Know now,’ [Joseph’s brothers] said, ‘whether it be thy son’s coat or no’ (Genesis 37:32). They had looked forward to this scene with dread, but they were not prepared for the heart-rending anguish, the utter abandonment of grief, which they were compelled to witness. ‘It is my son’s coat,’ said Jacob; ‘an evil beast hath devoured him. Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces’ (Verse 33). Vainly his sons and daughters attempted to comfort him. . . . Time seemed to bring no alleviation of his grief. ‘I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning’ (Verse 35), was his despairing cry. The young men, terrified at what they had done, yet dreading their father’s reproaches, still hid in their own hearts the knowledge of their guilt, which even to themselves seemed very great.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 212.
c. Explain why the deceptive deeds under which Jacob was now suffering due to his children’s deceit can be linked to his own misleading ways of the past. Genesis 27:8–38; Galatians 6:7.
“Every seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. So it is in human life.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 84.
4. THE FRUITS OF SIN
a. What were the sinful passions which Jacob’s sons cherished towards Joseph? Genesis 37:3–5, 11, 23, 24.
“The favor with which Jacob regarded Joseph could not be concealed, and the gorgeous colored coat which he had given him was a clear evidence to his sons of his partiality. This they thought gave them sufficient reason for harboring jealousy, hatred, and revenge in their hearts.”—The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1879.
“The law of God takes note of the jealousy, envy, hatred, malignity, revenge, lust, and ambition that surge through the soul, but have not found expression in outward action because the opportunity, not the will, has been wanting.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 526.
b. When you harbor these sinful passions, where can they lead—and who leads us there? Proverbs 27:4; James 1:13–15.
“Envy and jealousy are like two sisters who blend together in their workings. Envy will lead a man to desire some good which another possesses, and will urge him to use every means in his power to bring down and injure the character and reputation of one in whose place he desires to be.”—The Signs of the Times, November 2, 1888.
“The love of Jesus in the soul never leads to malice and envy.”—Our High Calling, p. 234.
c. When these sinful passions are cherished in the heart, what are humans capable of doing? Genesis 37:18–20; Proverbs 6:34, 35; 1 John 3:11–15.
“[Joseph’s siblings] had observed their father’s strong love for Joseph and were envious at him. Their envy grew into hatred and finally to murder.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 127.
“Envy is the offspring of pride, and if it is entertained in the heart, it will lead to hatred, and eventually to revenge and murder.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 651.
“Murder first exists in the mind. He who gives hatred a place in his heart is setting his feet in the path of the murderer, and his offerings are abhorrent to God.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 310.
5. THE CHRISTIAN HOME
a. Name some important guidelines for speech within a Christian home. Ephesians 4:21–27, 31, 32; Revelation 14:5.
“There is a sacred circle around every family which should be preserved. No other one has any right in that sacred circle. The husband and wife should be all to each other. The wife should have no secrets to keep from her husband and let others know, and the husband should have no secrets to keep from his wife to relate to others.”—The Adventist Home, p. 177.
“If, in their early childhood, children are not perseveringly and patiently trained in the right way, they will form wrong habits. These habits will develop in their future life and will corrupt others. Those whose minds have received a low cast, who have been cheapened by wrong home influences, by deceptive practices, carry their wrong habits with them through life. If they make a profession of religion, these habits will be revealed in their religious life.”—Child Guidance, pp. 200, 201.
b. Why is it important that we take warning from the sin of deception manifested in the lives of Jacob and his children? John 8:44; 1 Peter 2:1–3; Revelation 21:27.
“Truth is of God; deception in all its myriad forms is of Satan, and whoever in any way departs from the straight line of truth is betraying himself into the power of the wicked one. Those who have learned of Christ will ‘have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness’ (Ephesians 5:11).”—Prophets and Kings, p. 252.
“The Lord hates all deception, secrecy, and guile. This is Satan’s work; the work of God is open and frank.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 274.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why is it vital to love all our children equally?
2. What should parents be mindful of when rearing their children?
3. Is there any safety in telling lies, even so-called white lies?
4. How can we commit murder in our heart?
5. How can lies and deceit destroy a Christian home?