A dysfunctional family

There are 5 key things in Genesis Chapter 25

The death of Abraham

The establishment of Ishmael

The birth of Esau and Jacob

The favouritism of Isaac and Rebekah

Esau’s despising of his birthweight

This morning I will make a brief comment on each and draw some lessons for today.

Abraham dies at a good old age 175 years having  fathered a number of sons in addition to Isaac, the child of promise. With such offspring the promise of him being the Father of many nations is already being fulfilled. V.1-4.

As we read these verses and wonder about the apparent (by modern standards) unfairness of the distribution of the inheritance we need to remember that God’s ways are not our ways and accept that God is sovereign and in Abraham’s words back in chapter 18 ‘will do right’.

This is  particularly so in the account of Ishmael bearing 12 sons which again confirms that what God has said he will do. Again we have to remember that we can only see a small part of God’s eternal plans and purposes as it was from Ishmael’s line that Islam grew with the birth of Mohammed.

As so often happens in the pages of Scripture God’s promises to Abraham seem to be held up by the inability of couples to bear children and this is the case with Isaac and Rebekah. So v.21 Isaac prays and Rebekah finds herself pregnant with very active twins!  She is puzzled and enquires of the LORD and the answer she receives v.23 gave her, and gives us, the key to understanding  the messy family relationships which follow. This was part of God’s plan!

Part of the key to what follows is the fact that Isaac and Rebekah had favourites. Esau and Jacob are not treated equally which leads to internal family strife which in many ways can be seen all through the pages of Scripture that follow.

Esau despising his birthright as the first born even though by only a few seconds and as a twin shows up the disharmony in this family. Jacob is quite frankly, at this stage a nasty piece of work and Esau does not value that which is given to him.  However,  as we shall see as the account plays out, in spite of the dysfunctional family God uses a changed Jacob for his purposes which ultimately bring blessing to you and me in Jesus.

If we believe that God is Sovereign and that his Word is true and authoritative then we can take great comfort in the fact that as has been so often said ‘failure is not final for

‘the blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son purifies us from all sin’.

1 John 1 v.7

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