Summary: Our families are dysfunctional because we are not creative and do not consult the Lord in prayer. Isaac is weak, late, and materialistic. Rebekah is manipulative and anxious. God the Father of Jesus shows us how to love and give to our chidren.
We are bombarded daily with the phrase "family values." It has become the buzzword of the current political campaign. And as candidates parade their wives and children and grandchildren across the platform; as presidential hopefuls debate about which of them is the more family-oriented; as vice-presidents tilt with television shows; we wonder who is going to deal with reality. Who is going to address the problems that plague real families? Who is going to discover solutions to the harsh realities that demoralize parents and victimize children? Who is going to bless the family beyond simply offering rhetoric?
The truth is that family life is under a great deal of stress. The terrible truth is that a large number of children will not grow up in homes where there are two parents to care for them; and of those who do have two parents, many will find the tensions between those parents almost unbearable. The terrible and unhappy truth is that family life is in crisis.
It is in crisis for many reasons. One of these reasons is that we have not been creative in our homes. We have not been creative. We have just let things take their course; we have supposed that all we had to do was put a roof over our heads and food on the table. And when there was trouble, we really did not know what to do with it. We just have not been creative with our family life. We have not used our imaginations. And above all, we have not allowed in the creative Spirit of the living God.
I believe this morning that family life can be redeemed. Family life can be redeemed if we will seek the guidance of the Spirit of God and let Him lead us to be creative and imaginative in our homes.
They had once had a creative prayer life. The father had himself been the product of prayerful parents, who had thought they were too old to have children, but who so trusted God that a son was born even in their older years. He had often heard that family story, so he knew that he himself was the product of a prayerful home.
When he and his wife had been together for a number of years, but without children, he had prayed and the Lord had blessed them, doubly blessed them, with beautiful, healthy, strong twin boys. He knew what creative energies prayer could unleash.
And she knew as well. The mother of those twins had gone to the Lord in prayer while she was carrying them. Her pregnancy had not been an easy one, and she had looked to her God for help and for insight, and it had come. Her mind and heart were put at ease, and she, like her husband, had learned that with prayer you can get your imagination fired up. You can discern things you never knew before.
Both parents had been persons of prayer, experiencing the creative spirit of God, when their babies were on the way.
But now the boys are young men and the parents are old. The record is strangely silent about their prayer life. There is not a word about seeking the Lord’s continuing guidance.
There is nothing at all any longer about asking for the imaginative, creative energy of God’s spirit. No prayer, and no creativity; no creativity, and thus no integrity in their family.
We need to meet the members of this family and trace their mistakes. We need to discover the consequences of just letting family life happen rather than making it happen, intentionally and prayerfully.
Will you first of all meet a very weak man, a hapless and helpless father named Isaac? The problem with Isaac is that he has waited so long and has become so weak that it is too late for him to take charge of his family. It is too late in the day for Isaac to change the pattern he has long since set, the pattern of just waiting for things to happen.
Poor Isaac, lying in the bedroom, thinking that the end of his life is not far off, summons his son Esau, technically the older of the twins, in order to bless him. Isaac asks a small favor, that his son prepare a festive meal as a way to celebrate this rite of passage.
But Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, overhearing this conversation, runs for her other son, Jacob, and persuades him to deceive his father. Jacob is to disguise himself and is to substitute goat meat, which is readily available in the barnyard, for game meat, which Esau had to go out and hunt. Thus Jacob could be there first and could thus be the one to whom the blessing would be given instead of his brother Esau.