a dysfunctional family redeemed

A Dysfunctional Family Redeemed

Hebrews 11:20

Isaac is listed as a champion of faith in Hebrews 11. But when we first see him, he seems more like a failure of a father. 

The Backstory: Jacob and Esau

Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, had twins: “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:27b-28). Already we find trouble brewing, because of this favoritism.

“Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field…And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary’….But Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright as of this day.’ And Esau said, ‘Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?’” (Genesis 25:29-32).

The irony of this deal is that God had said the birthright already belonged to Jacob. (Read Genesis 25:21-23.) God had said to Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:18a). Abraham’s first descendant was Isaac. The next would be Jacob. 

How a Family Fails

In this story, we see four unspiritual individuals.

A Worldly Father

Isaac said, “Esau, kill some venison, so that I may eat, and then I will bless you.” (Read Genesis 27:1-3.) Here was a man given over to his appetite; what we would call sensual. He does not have his eyes on the things of God. 

A Scheming Mother

“So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying….Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food…Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death’” (Genesis 27:6,9-10).

The devil will try to get you to do a right thing the wrong way. 

A Deceptive Son

Jacob couldn’t trust God. He traded stew and deceived his father to get what was already his. Isaac could not see. (See Genesis 27:1.) His senses deceived him, and he blessed the wrong son. (Read Genesis 27:11-29.)

A Jealous Brother

“…Esau his brother came in from his hunting…Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, ‘….Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.’ …And Esau lifted up his voice and wept” (Genesis 27:30b-38, fragmented).

Esau is not weeping because he lost the birthright, but because he lost the influence and possessions that might go with it. His sorrow is remorse, not repentance.

When a Father Repents

When Isaac realized what had happened, he “trembled exceedingly.” He had tried to override the will of God, to bless the wrong son for his own selfish reasons. 

Isaac loved the Lord. He typified Christ. (Read Genesis 22, John 8:56.) In his old age, Isaac was getting away from God. But don’t mistake the moment for the man: God brought Isaac to repentance and faith. 

God disciplined this father, and God may be ready to discipline you

The Family’s Future

Were these people responsible for what they did? Absolutely! But Almighty God is over it all. Jacob got the blessing. Man may rule, but God will overrule. This is the sovereignty of God. (Read Proverbs 19:21, Psalm 33:10.)

God promised Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:18a). God gave the blessing to Abraham, then Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and later, David. This was the lineage of Christ—“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come” (Hebrews 11:20; emphasis added).

Five Lessons

  1. Dysfunctional families produce dysfunctional kids.
  2. A father’s priorities often determine the family’s function. 
  3. Parents have great power to bless or curse, so bless your children in prayer.
  4. God has given your children a will. You cannot take credit if your children serve God, and you cannot take blame if they don’t.
  5. Man’s failure cannot nullify God’s sovereignty.
Known for his evangelistic zeal and uncompromising commitment to the Word of God, Adrian Rogers was one of the greatest preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian...

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