One of the wonderful things about the Bible is its brutal honesty. It is candid in its revelation and evaluation of both villains and heroes. Even the greatest servants of God are not spared; their faults are put on display for all to see. We can learn from them.
When you read Genesis 27 you get a picture of a dysfunctional family. Isaac favors Esau while Rebekah favors Jacob. In this favoritism there is competition, not the fun, light-hearted kind, but competition that leads to serious consequences. In the effort to secure the birth-right blessing, Jacob and his mother engage in subterfuge; they deceive Isaac and create strife. Esau was so angry he determined to kill Jacob. So, Rebekah had her son sent far away for his life’s sake. It is not until many years later that the brothers are reconciled.
Ever know a family like this? Does it sound like yours? It is heartbreaking and almost unbearable to be in a situation like this. Let us learn from their poor example and avoid such hostilities.
Yes, Jacob learned from his raising. He favored Joseph over all other sons (Gen. 37). Envy sprouted up among the ten brothers and they determined to get rid of Joseph. At first they thought to kill him, then decided to sell him into slavery. After having done this, to cover it up, they deceived their father into thinking a wild beast had eaten his favorite son. So it remained for 13 years.
Favoritism can cause deep-seated emotions in children. It can push them to hate the favored one. The parents bear the responsibility in this while the children are young. When they grow older they must learn to deal with their feelings and submit to God’s will, getting rid of all envy, bitterness, and hatred. Do not be a parent that puts this on your child.
David’s family was troubled from the moment he committed adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11, 12). He allowed his passion run away, sowing the seed of turmoil for years to come.
His son Amnon raped his daughter (Amnon’s half-sister), Tamar (2 Sam. 13:1-18). Do you suppose this was wholly disconnected to David’s transgression? Amnon paid for it with his life two years later (2 Sam. 13:21-29). This hit David hard, as it would any man (2 Sam. 13:30-33).
When Absalom returned from exile he attempted to overthrown his father (2 Sam. 15). David had to run for his life. Later, when David organized a counter attack, Absalom was killed (2 Sam. 18).
Grief, pain, tremendous heartache is what David received for his adultery.
Sin in your family can do the same thing. It can destroy your life, taking your children away from you and destroying their lives. You may survive, but they may not; a terrible burden to bear.
Hannah and Samuel
Hannah longed for a child and was finally blessed with Samuel (1 Sam. 1). She loved him and dedicated him to the Lord (1 Sam. 1:24-28). He was a godly man, going on to be perhaps the greatest judge Israel ever had. He served the Lord faithfully for years; doing great service in spite of the rebellious people (1 Sam. 8). He was privileged to anoint both Saul and David. He did not back down from Saul when he failed to obey God (1 Sam. 13, 15). A man among men; a true prophet of God.
Would to God that all of us had mothers like Hannah and sons like Samuel. Let us determine to dedicate our children to God, raising them in truth and righteousness for their soul’s sake.
Ahaz and Hezekiah
Ahaz was a wicked ruler in Judah (2 Kgs. 16:1-4). His influence lasted for 16 years in the land. Then his son, Hezekiah, took his place. He was a righteous man (2 Kgs. 18:1-7). Hezekiah goes down in Bible history as one of the greatest kings ever. He rid the land of idolatry, put his faith in God when the enemy threatened and when his life was at an end (2 Kgs. 18:17-37; 19:1-19, 35-37; 20:1-6). He overcame his father’s failures.
If we were raised in a home of iniquity, we too can get beyond it. It may be difficult, but we can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13). The way to do this is the way Hezekiah did it; putting our faith in God, not man. He will give us the strength to overcome and be a better person.
How Is Your Family?
Is your family more like the bad examples or the good ones? If we determine to do better, we can. Seek the Lord’s wisdom in His Word. It is right and will not lead you wrong. It will help you improve your family to have a more satisfying life.