E100: 009 | Dysfunctional Family

"A permissive father, a controlling mother, an errant older son and a deceptive younger son. Today’s passage sounds like a reality TV show. But Isaac’s family is one of the most important in the Bible because God used it to build the nation of Israel. Despite intense family tension, we encounter God’s grace through his continued promise to build the nation which was to become his treasured possession." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read Genesis 27:1-28:22 | (ESV)

Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 'Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die. 'Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies."

Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing." (Genesis 27:5-12)
Overt favoritism among their children. Scheming. Calculated deception. Threats. Trickery. Cheating. What a dysfunctional family Isaac and Rebekah had created.

Through his question to his mother we can tell Jacob knew this was wrong and went along with it anyway. I am sure he did not count this as his highest moment in life. I can't imagine he shared this with to many people. I am sure he was ashamed of what he did.

Actually, it makes me ask the question why would God include in his Word, in Scripture, these embarrassing and completely dysfunctional moments in the life of a family. Not to mention the central family of his master plan. Why is this part of the master plan of salvation?

A messy, embarrassing, and even completely dysfunctional family life does not disqualify us for a deep and solid relationship with God. Squarely facing our failures, our embarrassing moments, our dysfunctional behavior, then turning away from them and turning towards God through Christ changes everything.

Now it doesn't mean our failures and dysfunctional behavior don't bring consequences and difficulties.

I like what Brenda Quinn writes about this passage.
"Jacob and Rebekah, by scheming, won the birthright and blessing for Jacob. But in doing so, they won for themselves something God would have given Jacob anyway, and lost much in the process. Now as a consequence of Jacob's deception, he must flee his home to avoid his brother's wrath. Jacob will have difficult years ahead, and Rebekah will never see him again."
On the run after deceiving his father Jacob heard from God.
He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Genesis 28:12-15)
After this dream Jacob turns to God. God doesn't abandon us even if we have been a jerk.

Learn more about the E100 Bible Reading Challenge and please feel free to stop back soon to read another passage. If you are interested in staying up to date with these posts via email go ahead and sign up here. Also don't forget to share your thoughts on this passage below.


  1. What's so encouraging about Scripture is that God tells it like it is, and uses the most dysfunctional and 'messed up' people to accomplish His purposes. There is no sin, no past, no personal character issues that are bigger than God. He and His Grace are greater than all of that. So I take heart! :)

  2. I always enjoy your posts, Brad, and this one hit home. I am personally thankful that the Bible is full of examples of the imperfection of humanity and God's ability and desire to use us despite our lack.

    This post came to me in God's timing. With the current changes in our family I have found myself wondering why it is God would choose us. We are completely dysfunctional, and he uses us anyway. I REALLY needed to be reminded that I am never broken enough to be unusable.

    Thanks for providing the reminder.

  3. So very true Steve and thank you Tina.


Popular Posts