Genesis 27:30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing (hi younger son) Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of his father Isaac, his (older) brother Esau came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepared savory food, and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that you may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac (blind from age) said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your firstborn son, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him?—yes, and blessed he shall be!” 34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, me also, father!” 35 But (Isaac) said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.”
You think you’ve got a weird family? Isaac and his wife Rebekah played favorites with their two sons. Isaac, who favored his older son Esau, attempted to deny his younger son Jacob of any blessing. Rebekah, scheming with the younger son Jacob, tricked her dying husband into blessing the younger son instead of the older son. Esau was so angry with his brother Jacob that he threatened to kill him. Jacob fled his homeland to avoid danger – and would later be deceived himself. What goes around, comes around.
We tend to idolize the characters of the bible as if they were superhuman or something. But the truth is they were mostly ordinary people like you and me. That means, morally and ethically, they were a mixed bag. Jacob may have been a schemer and deceiver, but God blessed him anyway. Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, would give birth to twelve sons who would become the twelve tribes of Israel.
Like some of you, I’ve got a bit of a strange family history. When I try to draw out my family tree it gets complicated very quickly. There are marriages and divorces. There are children had out of wedlock. There are people who simply disappeared. There are second families we knew nothing about until a particular family member died – and people we’d never met attended the funeral. I could go on. Weird? Yep. I’m guessing you might have some interesting family stories yourself. What’s my point?
God can take a family with a sordid history and redeem it for his purposes.
Despite the foibles in my own family tree, I have seen God bless us over and over again. I have seen forgiveness heal old wounds. I have seen estranged family members reconciled. I have seen the hand of God hold families together that were breaking apart. And I have seen the Father use my family members to bring glory to the Kingdom of God.
Some of you reading this blog post have struggles in your family right now. Whatever the situation, however deep the wounds, never stop asking the Lord to bring healing and wholeness. God is in the family restoration business. And don’t be surprised when God uses your weird family to bless others. Happens all the time.
Heavenly Father, families are difficult things. They can bring such love and joy – and such pain and loss. Give us grace to pray diligently for our families, that we may see your mercies abound. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.