Part 6 of the Present day Patriarch’s series.
Genesis 33:3 – And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
Genesis 33:6 – Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.
Genesis 33:7 – And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.
My father was in an accident in his pre-teen years that left him with a permanent limp. My youngest brother, Geoff, when learning how to walk, walked with a limp as well. He saw my father limp, and he emulated dad’s walk.
It was said of Adam’s children; they were all born in his likeness (Genesis 5:3). This set the permanent precedent for fathers and their following children. There is a great chance that your children will act just like you. They will take on your characteristics, both good and bad. Therefore, father’s, what kind of example are you living before your babies?
One of the curses of the Patriarch’s up to this point in scripture is the children had mainly inherited the character flaws of their parents. They lie, scheme, cheat, and disobey; just like their parents. Jacob is being called upon here to break this cycle.
We as parents can teach with our lips until we are blue in the face; but if we aren’t preaching wordless sermons with our life – then we are wasting our time. I believe the lifestyle lessons we teach our children are long lasting and are the stuff legacy is made of.
There are no words recorded between Jacob and his family. Jacob is out front taking the leading role. He bowed seven times before his actual physical encounter with his brother. This showed both Esau and his family his humility and honor. Actually, before Jacob met Esau he had sent gifts of grace first. These gifts were a wordless message to Esau that his swindling brother wanted to pursue a different path, called restitution and reconciliation. Jacob is leading by example.
It is awesome to see what his family did when they too encountered Esau. Every family member bowed, just like Jacob had. Without a word, through his example, Jacob had taught his family how to act. They encored their father’s example.
Your children are watching your actions. They are learning how to be Christians, godly, good employees, and the rest, all by what they see you doing. It is more important to live right than teach right.
The Israelites were commanded to live their lives teaching their children God’s commandments both with their lips and their lives. In particular, Deuteronomy 6:8 instructed the parent’s to place phylacteries on their persons. These were little boxes that contained the written instructions. Even though children couldn’t read what was in the box, they understood what the boxes represented. Children seeing their parents wearing these principles were preached the practices without proclamation, again and again. Wordless sermons are the best kind.
Preach wordless Sermons:
- Do your lips and your life line up?
- Without a bible, could your children learn how to be disciples who make Jesus famous – just by your lifestyle?
- How do you respond to crisis?
- Do you talk critically about others in front of your children?
- Are you a man of honor?
- How do you treat your wife?
- What adjustments do you need to make?
- Will your sons learn to be real men from you? Will your daughters see in you a man they should look to marry?
- Do you tell your children to submit, or show them how?
- What else do you need to quit telling and start living?