In going over these chapters, they underline the principle that parenting is some serious stuff. In fact, one person said that a parent is a partner with God in disciplining their children. Great way to look at it. A parent is a partner with God in disciplining their children. But what happens when parents are passive and non-involved with their children? What happens when they don't really get into their world and understand their world and take the time to learn their children and their temperaments, their likes, their dislikes? As is the Lord's style, as I was preparing for this study this week, I had a couple of episodes with my own son where he what would we would call "interrupted" me. And at times like that turn out to appointments rather than interruptions. And wouldn't you know, just when I'm studying and thinking about parenting, (knocks three times) on my office. And he just wanted a little companionship, a little bit of time. He just walked up to me and said, "Daddy, I have an owie."And then I kissed it and he said, "My owtie, owie go-ed away."He just wanted to talk, basically. And, I thought as I looked at him, I never want to be guilty of giving him everything he needs except the one thing he needs the most and that is my time. I never want to be guilty of being detached from him. So where he always thought, "Oh dad, yeah dad, he was busy. I know he loved me, he said that but, I never really saw it displayed." I don't want to be guilty of that. And what happens when parents are passive? Well, this chapter tells us. It shows the results of detached parents, especially in this case of Jacob, a detached father. And by the way, this story that we read today, and some of the principles we cover, it's a story that is repeated thousands of times every single generation.
There are two themes to the life of Joseph. The first theme, I know you've already been tracking with me since last week. It's the most obvious theme. And that is the life of Joseph himself. How he went from the pit to Egypt, the pinnacle, and how God sustained him. But there is another theme that runs throughout his life, in his family, and that is the theme of results and the focus is not so much on Joseph, cause he turned out great. The focus is upon his dad, Jacob, and some of the mistakes he made in parenting. Yes, Joseph's ten brothers were responsible to God for their own actions. You can't blame it all on mom and dad. However, there's some, some definite parental mistakes that were made on Jacob's part and it, it, it bears that we slow down a little bit, backtrack even a little bit and discover some of the those mistakes. If you are young this morning and you don't have any children or you're not even married, don't turn off this kind of a study, because your parents were in exactly the same place you are today at one time. If you are veteran parents, you've raised your children, bear with us this morning. In fact, you might have the tendency to look back and feel a little guilty as you discover some of the mistakes you've made yourself. Don't let that guilt settle it. Realize something. Let the life of Joseph reassure you that you can make a lot of mistakes and still have kids turn out great as Joseph did.
There is no one who has parenting down. You can read all of the books and you can be determined that you're going to have it all down, but there is no such thing on this earth as a perfect parent. We are all learning. None of us has it down pat. We're learning, we're making mistakes and we're getting tired along the way. It's like the kid who was talking to his other friend and said, "My dad's going to a PTA meeting. What is PTA?"And he goes, "Uhh, I don't know. I think it means, 'poor, tired, adults'. Something like that."Not too far from the truth, heh.
In verse 12, we get some insight into Jacob's parenting on just these verses. "Then his brothers went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. And Israel, "who was Joseph, or excuse me, Jacob, "said to Joseph, 'Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come and I will send you to them.' So he said to them, 'Here I am.' And he said to him, 'Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks and bring back word to me.' So he sent him out of the valley of Hebron and he went to Shechem. And a certain man found him there. He was wandering in the field and the man asked him, saying, 'What are you seeking?' So he said, 'I am seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding the flocks.' And the man said, 'They have departed from here, for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.' So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. "Now right off the bat, we can make a keen observation into the kind of a parent that Jacob was. Jacob, as a father, in some respects, knew his children, but in many respects, he did not even know them at all. He knew that outwardly, they were corrupt, they were violent, because you'll read a few things this morning as we track this. He knew their outward activity but he failed to be in touch with their inward feelings. He failed to know that the ten sons feeding the flock had inwardly problems with Joseph; jealousy, anxiety and hatred. If Jacob knew that, he wouldn't dare send Joseph to go narc on his brothers again like he did last week. If he was in touch with the fact that his ten brothers hated Joseph's guts and were jealous, he wouldn't have said, "Hey, Joseph, put on that real nice robe and go tell me how your brothers are doing." Especially since Joseph was a favored son. So in many respects, this dad was out of touch with the inward feelings of his own children. And there's a couple reasons why. It seems to be a pattern, a habit all through his life. I want you to look at a couple Scriptures with me to give us insight into his parenting. Look back at Chapter 30 for just a moment. A couple of tragic events occur during the life of Jacob that we touched on last week and I want you to notice the reaction of this dad to these things. In Chapter 30, just as an introduction to this, in verse 43, it tells us that Jacob was pretty well off. It says, "Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, had large flocks, female and male servants, camels and donkeys." God blessed his life, prospered him financially, and he had a rather large business of raising and breeding animals. Later on, as Jacob goes back into the land of Canaan, after the whole Laban incident, as he's going back, he arrives at a place called Shechem, which we just read about in Chapter 37. He sent Joseph to Shechem. He liked Shechem and he bought a good chunk of land there to raise his flocks on and, in fact, they settled there temporarily. It seems that Jacob passed the business on to his ten sons. It became a very profitable business and his sons were kind of keeping the flocks and taking over the family business, and expanding the business while they were at Shechem. However, an incident happened while the family lived at Shechem before they went back to Hebron. And that is, Jacob's only daughter, Dinah, was forcibly raped by a young man by the name of Shechem. However, this young lad who raped Dinah, didn't want to dump her. It wasn't a "love him, leave him" relationship. He really wanted to establish a marriage relationship. And so the young man, Shechem, goes to his dad. He says, "Dad, I want you to go to Jacob and tell him that I want his daughter's hand in marriage. I want to work out this deal. I know what I've done is wrong. I want to work this out and I wanna marry her." We don't know exactly what Jacob's reaction was to this, but we do know what the ten brothers' reaction was. Look over at Chapter 34. Without going through the whole chapter, the brothers say, "Look, you did a bad thing and you are uncircumcised and we are circumcised so we want everyone in your camp, everyone in your family who is a male to be circumcised. They said, "Fair enough."And in verse 25 of Chapter 34, "It came to pass on the third day when they were in pain that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males." Mass murder. "And they killed Hamor and Shechem, his son with the edge of the sword and took Dinah from Shechem's house and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city because their sister had been defiled. They took their sheep, their oxen, their donkeys, and what was in the city, and what was in the field. And all of their wealth, all their little ones and their wives they took captive, and they plundered even all that was in the houses. "Now, what was dad's response to this whole thing? Verse 30, "Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "now listen to the wording here, "'You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites, the Perizzites, and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me and I shall be destroyed, 'and a little P.S., "'and my household and I.'" He uses "I" and "me" through most of his sentence. And notice their response to his reaction, That they said, "Should he treat our sister like a harlot?" The response of Jacob shows a selfish, preoccupied father who, at most, rebuked his sons. "You know you really shouldn't've killed him, sons. It made me look bad." And he was so concerned about his own status, he rebuked him a little bit, got hot under the collar, but he didn't do anything. There's no disciplinary action involved, he just rebukes them, says they shouldn't've done it, and he's concerned about his own status.
Look at Chapter 35. "God said to Jacob, 'Arise, go to Bethel and dwell there and make an altar to God who appeared to you when you first fled from the face of Esau, your brother. And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, 'Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves and change your garments and let us arise and go to Bethel and I will make an altar there to God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.'" It is wonderful that God came to Jacob and commanded him to go build an altar that now Jacob turns to his sons and in effect, if it was in modern vernacular says, "Kids, we have to go to church." I'm bringing out this point because that is precisely the way many parents deal with wayward children. "You kids are getting outta hand, you're going to church. I can't raise you, I don't know what's going on but I'm going to take you and turn you over to the Sunday school department because that's their job." You see, there are great many parents who think that the, the job of raising children belongs to the church and Sunday school. Well parents, we have your kids if you come once a week, uh, fifty-two hours a year. That leaves about 8,708 hours that you have them. Don't think that we're going to affect their lives any more than you are affecting your lives during those 8,700 hours. It won't work. Their comes a point where, if you have not begun discipline and loving attention at an early age, that your kids grow up to a point, it's too late for church. It's too late to now impose the rules upon them. One author has an article called, The Biggest Mistakes Parents Make in Affecting Teenagers, and he says, "Parents make a big mistake when they don't start affecting their children in a favorable manner from day one. But they make a bigger, perhaps, the biggest mistake, when they discover their dilemma late and become overly zealous to make up for lost time." A classic example is of two parents who attend a family life conference. On the way home, they write twenty-five rules to post on their refrigerator with the corresponding punishment for any infraction of the new regime. Upon arrival, they proudly announce, "As of today, we're going to..." on and on and on. It's no wonder that the fourteen and sixteen-year-old teens raise an eyebrow, heave a sigh, and think, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" Suddenly plunging in with a lot of new rules can really upset the apple cart. While a zealous attitude for reform is commendable, how you deliver the new policies is directly related to how well they will be received by your teens. When teens aren't so keen on the new rules system, parents often get discouraged and give up all together, not realizing that it was their manner that turned their kids off.
There's another incident I want you to look at, also in Chapter 35. it's after Rachel's death. Look up at verse 19. Chapter 35, verse 19. "So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). And Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day. Then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder. And it happened, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben," that's his oldest, "went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel," or Jacob, "heard about it." No evidence that he did anything about it. He heard about it. And that seems to be his mode of operation throughout his life. Even in the previous incident, if you were to read the whole chapter, when Dinah was raped, he heard about it. And he got mad at his sons because they made him look bad after he, they killed all the Shechemites. Laid with his wife, he heard about it.
And now in Chapter 37, he sends Joseph to his ten sons in Shechem. Why? Well, now think about all we just read about. I mean, who knows what trouble they're getting into up there in Shechem. They killed a whole city before. I'm worried about my sons, it's not, "Oh, you know, I'm really worried about their health," "I'm really worried about what they're doing. Not only what they're doing, but how their behavior will affect my investment," for look down at verse 14 of Chapter 37. He tells Joseph, ""Please go and see if it is well with your brothers, and well with the flocks and bring back word to me,' and so he sent him off." A passive, preoccupied father was Jacob's mode of operation through his life; refusal to discipline, refusal to be involved.
Let's look at the son's response to Joseph. Verse 18, "Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him." They looked off in the horizon. The sun is just right, and they see a figure coming toward toward them. "Hey, who is that?" "I don't know, but the walk looks familiar." "Oh, I know who that is, look at that robe shining in the sun." "It's Joseph!" And all those memories came back. "You remember when he narced on us before?" "Yeah, I hated him for that and I don't forgive him, I never have." "Remember those stupid dreams he had, too? Uh, that we're going to bow down to him?" And right then and there when they see him walking, they start conspiring together. And verse 20, "Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams! But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, 'Let us not kill him.' And Reuben said to them, 'Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, do not lay a hand on him'—that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father. So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. They took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a coming a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. So Judah said to his brothers, 'What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother (light laughter) and our flesh.' And his brothers listened. Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver," the price of a slave. "And they took Joseph to Egypt." Now, at this point, we tend to look at Reuben's interruption of their brother's plot as heroic. "Oh, good ol' Reuben, the first-born, stepping in." It would seem that he's really concerned for Joseph, but I'm not so sure. Because Reuben quickly agrees in the cover-up plot of telling his dad the lie that it was a wild beast who ate him and there's no protest at all by Reuben when the Ishmaelites come. He doesn't say, "No! Don't do this, I wanna bring him back home." You gotta remember something about Reuben. Reuben was the first-born, which means the rite of inheritance was ripped off by Joseph. That's how Reuben would see it. Jacob gave Reuben's rite to Joseph, so Reuben hated him for that. Also, Reuben committed incest with one of his father's wives. Nothing is said about him doing anything about it, but he never forgot it either. And I'm sure at this point, he's thinking, "I've gotta figure out a way to recover myself and my position so that perhaps my position won't be permanently passed onto Joseph and I'm off the hook for the sin of incest with my father's wife," 'cause I want you to notice something in verse 29. "Reuben returned to the pit and indeed Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes. And he returned to his brothers and said, 'The lad is no more; and I, where shall I go?'" All of a sudden he's real concerned about himself. "Where shall I go? Perhaps he escaped. Maybe he's gonna go back and tell dad. I mean, it was my idea to throw him into the pit. I'm the first-born. I could be hung on this one. I'm already in trouble. Where am I gonna go?" He's very concerned about Number One, himself. Like father, like son. Concerned about himself. Then we get the plot of Judah, up in verse 26, who said to his brothers, "What profit is there if we kill him?" "It just doesn't make sense. Why kill him when we can make money off the deal?" Again, like father, like son. That's the story of Jacob. He was a deceiver, he was a conniver, he did things for only financial gain most of his life.
If you look at the life of Jacob, a man who lacked the intuition to know his children enough and be sensitive to his children, you see the same things patterned out in his own children. They have become just like dad- insensitive, not caring about feeling, not caring about relationship. And because of that, there are some principles that emerge out of what we have just read concerning parenting: things to avoid. Now, I have three little blanks on your worksheet that I want you to fill in. This is not complete; it is only what is implied in this text. What we learn from Jacob as a parent is what not to do. You see, heh, the kids that you and I have have been given to us by the Lord, period. You don't test drive 'em first. You don't get a chance to take it home for a couple weeks, try it out, see if you like it, and go, "No, I don't really like this model. Hair isn't quite right, whines little too much, doesn't sleep all night long, I'm gonna trade it in." They're yours. Because of that, there are pitfalls that all of us are faced with, we need to avoid.
The first thing we need to do that is implied from this text is we need to study our children. Study your kids. Your kids study you, mom and dad. That's why they're so good at manipulation. They know exactly what you do. They know that if you say, "Johnny, stop that," if you really mean that, if you're really gonna follow through with action cause they've watched you make idle threats and nothing works, so they know you, they've studied you. Study your children. It is so easy to get out of touch with our children. It's so easy to not understand what's going on in their world, especially in our culture. Now if that was a problem for Jacob, in ancient times, in an agrarian society where he was supposedly home most of the time, don't you think it is a real threat to us in our modern society? Where it is expected that dad be gone all day, if not all week and be married to his job and the job sucks all of the energy out of dad and all of the creativity so that by the time he comes home, dad is so worn out, he doesn't want to give time to anybody. And it's very easy to get out of touch. Very dangerous position to lose touch with them spiritually and emotionally. The Bible says that we are to train up a child in the way he should go. We are to train children. And that's different than teaching kids. You just don't sit a kid down and instruct him. To train is to mold a character and to be able to mold a character, it takes studying that character. Because every child is different, has a different temperament, has a different pain threshold, has different needs that present themselves at different times in different ways. No two kids are alike. And so the application must be tailored to the child. There are certain things that never change, but there are certain methods of application that should change. We need to study our children so that we might train them. And don't compare your children with other children. The old, "Well Johnny, why can't you be like Franky?" Ruins a child. Of course, the most intelligent answer usually comes from the kid himself. "Because I'm not Franky, that's why. I'm me." Avoid the comparison, study your child, let it be individual.
Number two, fight passivity. Fight being a passive parent. Be active and be involved and fight with everything you have, passivity. Passivity is one of the greatest enemies of parenting. If you are a passive parent, you are almost ensuring that your child will be insecure and angry. There are people who become parents and just sort of have a spiritual cloud around them. They plod through life in this hope that everything's gonna turn out alright. "Well, we'll just trust the Lord." And that's a cop out, many times, because in the New Testament, "trust" "faith" are pa-, are active, never passive. They demand action. Faith without works is dead. And parenting without involvement is dead. Fight passivity. And Jacob knew nothing at all about what his kids had planned concerning the killing of the Shechemites until it was all over and all he did was get mad a little bit. It was non-involved. I have a Gallup Poll called the National Gallup Youth Survey that says, "Of 1,000 teenagers, twenty-five percent do not discuss their days activities with their parents. Forty-two percent had not received parental words of praise during a twenty-four hour period that was tested. Half had not gotten a hug or a kiss. And fifty-four percent had not heard the words, "I love you". Seventy-nine percent said they had not been helped with homework by a parent." I love the story that is true of a, a man told when he was was kid, he said, "When I was about thirteen years old, my little brother was about ten, it was a Saturday and we were all around the table and dad says, 'I'm taking you to the circus today.' We were all excited. As the day went on, it was about twelve o'clock noon, we were going to go to the circus in the afternoon and about twelve o'clock, when we sat down for lunch, the phone rang and my dad picked it up and I knew trouble was brewing. There was something that came up at the office downtown that demanded his attention right there. And we were sure that our father was going to have to go down and we were bracing ourselves for the disappointment, until we heard our dad say, 'I know it's important, but it's gonna have to wait.' And he hung up the phone and he went back to the lunch table." And he said, "My mom turned over to my dad, put her arm lovingly upon or his, her hand on his arm and said, 'Honey, it's alright. The circus comes, keeps coming back to town. The circus keeps coming back.' He said, 'I know it does, but childhood doesn't.' My father made that decision to cancel something that was very important for us. Can you imagine how that makes a child feel? That I am the most important thing to my father. Be active, be involved.
And finally, discipline. Avoid lack of discipline. Be a disciplined parents, and discipline your children. And I want to explain that. Remember that little quote at the very beginning of this message that that man said? That, "A parent is a partner with God in disciplining his children." Do you know that discipline and disciple have the same root word? A disciple is well-disciplined, and it starts young. And that means that we have to take in a little spank-a-roo every now and then. Kids are different, we said. They have different temperaments, they have different personalities, but they have one thing in common, all of them: a self-assertive nature that must be broken. That's the one thing every child has in common and if you are a parent that refuses to discipline, you will ruin your child. You will absolutely ruin your child. Our society has taught us to be scared of spanking your kids. It's a hand-off. "Don't spank them, you might, you might damage their psyche (light laughter). And so little Junior throws a rock through a plate-glass window, dare not touch him, or you might hinder his genius of throwing rocks. Don't spank him. And there are parents that are petrified that if they spank their child, the child will not love them. And that if you love your child, you never have to spank them. There's nothing that could be farther from the truth. Listen to the word of God on this matter. "He who spares his rod, hates his son," Proverbs 13:24, "but he who loves him, disciplines him promptly." Which means early, at the onset of the the crime that is committed. Listen to Proverbs 19, "Chasten your son while there's hope (light laughter) and do not set your heart on his destruction." What that means is in the Old Testament, if there was a wayward youth that refused reform as he was getting older and he was totally out of hand, he was publicly stoned. So he is saying, "Dad, discipline your kid early so that that won't happen. Chasten your son while there's hope and don't set your heart on his destruction." They would actually publicly stone them. Don't get any ideas parents, by the way, on that one. Doesn't work today. Proverbs 22, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him." And you have here the problem and the solution. Foolishness, that's the problem. It's bound up in the heart of every child, every human being. But, the rod of correction will drive it far from him. Now, most of us agree with the first part of that, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child." Not a lot of us are willing to consistently carry out number two, using the rod to drive it far from him. By the way, heh, now now hang with me on this one, the word, "rod" literally means "club". Hang with me. I am so glad my dad never knew this passage of Scripture, folks (laughter). In the Hebrew, the obvious meaning is using something other than a part of your body, like a hand. It never says, "Spank with the hand," although when they're young children, I can see the validity of that. But if God meant that we outta use our hands or our fists, He would've written that. He said, "a rod". It also means a stick. Something that is not associated with your body. Let your hands be for loving and affirmation and correction, but the rod, or the stick, or the paddle or whatever you want to use that won't permanently damage the child, but that will get his attention, use that as a method of discipline. I wanna note something here, by the way. We're not talking about crushing a child's spirit. We're talking about breaking self-will. There is some form of discipline that parents use that is horrible and it's not discipline at all, it's brutality. They take their hands and they slap a child across the face. That's not discipline and it's certainly not biblical. That's brutality and it's wrong. In fact, you should never ever strike anyone on the face. But using the rod is helpful. A paddle, a stick, or whatever.
I also gotta mention this before we come to a close with this and that is, there's two kind of discipline, moms and dads. There is corrective discipline and preventative discipline. Just like a doctor, who is a good doctor, practices both corrective medicine and preventative medicine. Unfortunately, most of us are only familiar with corrective discipline. It's like the kid who was asked, "Does your mom ever spank you or did your mom ever spank you?" "Did my mom ever spank me? Now she had a paddle that hung up in the kitchen underneath a motto that read, 'I need thee every hour.' (Laughter) Boy was I spanked." Now that's corrective. But if you want corrective discipline in your home to work well, it must be meshed and reinforced. Preventative discipline, example: do you spend time with your kids? Do you read to them? Do you love them? Do you sing with them? Do you play with them? If you don't, perhaps you have no right to spank them. "Well I'm their parent, I have any right to do whatever I want to." Yep, you do. But you don't guarantee the results that way. You prevent it by spending time with them. Loving them, giving them attention. Then you have the right to reinforce that with corrective discipline.
Now a few tips on discipline. And I'm learning them all myself. Don't use idle threats, or bribes. "Now Johnny, eat your broccoli." Time passes, Johnny doesn't eat his broccoli. "Uh, Johnny, would you please eat your broccoli for mommy?" Johnny doesn't pay any attention to it. "(Yelling) JOHNNY, EAT YOUR BROCCOLI." Johnny doesn't pay any attention to it. "Johnny, if you don't eat your broccoli, you're not gonna get any cake." Johnny doesn't eat his broccoli. Sure enough, twenty minutes later, the unused broccoli is taken away and a brand new piece of cake is on his plate. Johnny learns quick, mommy makes idle threats, doesn't follow through. Never bribe your child, never threaten your child, promise him, and then follow through. "Johnny, if you do that, and I told you not to, I'm going to spank you. Don't do that." "Johnny, I told you not to do that aghhhhhh." You don't need to do that. Say it once, if they don't do it, follow through. Don't threaten them, promise them. So they know when mom says it, it will happen.
Number two, admit when you're wrong. Admit when you're wrong to you kids. Say "I'm sorry," a lot to them when you are wrong. They don't expect perfection, but they do expect honesty. And, uh, finally. Think of the long range affect of discipline, not the short range. Hey, you can not evaluate, parents, your discipline to your children by the immature way they are thinking about you now. It's no concern what they think about you now, but what they think about you twenty years from now. When they can turn back and say, "Thank you, I love you, it worked." So don't gage your effectiveness by their evaluation of you now. "Well my parents, my child said he doesn't like me when I spank him." Well, figure it out. (Laughter) Heh. No one would. But they will one day.
The story ends by saying, "They took Joseph’s tunic," verse 31, "killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. They sent the tunic of many colors, and brought it to their father and said, 'We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?' And he recognized it and said, 'It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.' Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, 'I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.' Thus his father wept for him." Sad, sad day for Jacob. And yet, his own ten sons turned out just like he did. Very very much like he did, and all he has now is mourning the memory of his son. If Jacob were to write a song, and he were around in the 1960s, it would've been this song:
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you, Dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home, Dad
I don't know when, but we'll get together then, son
You know we'll have a good time then
My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play
can you teach me to throw", I said "Not today
I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home, Dad
I don't know when, but we'll get together then, son
You know we'll have a good time then
Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while"
He shook his head and said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please"
When you comin' home son
I don't know when, but we'll get together then, Dad
You know we'll have a good time then
I've long since retired, and my son moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job's a hassle the kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
It's sure nice talking to you"
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My son was just like me
That's Jacob's song. It doesn't have to be ours. Let's pray that God would make these principles real throughout our lives.
Father, take home these things we have heard today, these things we have seen in Jacob's life. Help us, Lord, to study our children. To be involved with them and to discipline them early as a gesture of our love lest we have to sing a song such as this.