One school assembly I was called upon to do happened to be the baptism of Jesus. Hmmm. Remember I was a teacher of kids with severe learning difficulties. How to make that relevant to them? I found a baby doll, a toy piano and a toy till. I told them about my three kids. One was a mum, one was a musician, and one worked in a shop at that time. So I had three of the pupils hold the items, representing each of my kids. I told them about each of them, and said, “I love … and I’m so proud of him/her.” Then I showed them how God said of Jesus, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Which of course in their speak was, “Jesus is my son; I love him to bits and I’m dead proud of him!”
Jacob would have so loved to have said that about Reuben (Genesis 49:1-4). As his firstborn, there was much to be proud of in him. But he had sooooo muffed it. He had slept with Bilhah, one of Jacob’s concubines – the mother of Dan and Naphtali. To me the word disappointment leaps of the page. How must have Jacob felt, having to deny him the honour normally due to this firstborn son! Personally I tend to think that better parenting skills might have brought better fruit from all these boys, but Jacob would never have seen that, and certainly not now, here, on his deathbed. So as he looks back on Reuben’s life, the moment that should have been a very special occasion and blessing for both of them, becomes an embarrassment, recalling his wrongdoing, and revoking his firstborn entitlements.
God was so pleased and proud at the loving obedience and faithfulness of his firstborn son. But what about the rest of his kids? What about you…and me? Of course he forgives us when we ask, and he loves us whatever we do or don’t do. I don’t know about you, but the thought of disappointing him sort of disappoints me. I want to be proud of myself, not disappointed in myself, and I want my heavenly Father to be proud of me. That does something in me to stir me up. What about you?