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Contention in the Family

Words of Faith Final

Contention in the Family
Words of Faith 5-5-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Genesis 25
    [19] This is the account of Abraham's son Isaac.
    Abraham became the father of Isaac, [20] and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.
    [21] Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. [22] The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the Lord.
    [23] The Lord said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."
    [24] When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. [25] The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. [26] After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

        Isaac and Rebekah did not marry until Isaac was 40 years old. For another 20 years, they waited for the much-desired birth of a child. If a great nation were to come forth from the line of Abraham and Isaac, it would only be the result of a miracle of God. So Isaac prayed.
        Isaac prayed. These are two very powerful words! At this point, Isaac had had no direct communication from the Lord. Still, he came to the Lord in prayer with this important need in his life.   This is the first critical difference between Isaac and his father, Abraham. In many ways, Isaac struggled to trust God much as his father did. He struggled with fear and sin. But in this situation, Isaac did not repeat the mistake of using a concubine to produce the firstborn son. Perhaps he had seen in his own childhood the painful legacy of Ishmael! Whatever the reason, Isaac did not try to produce a child in his own strength and ingenuity. Instead, he went to God in prayer.  
        God answered! God blessed Rebekah with a miraculous pregnancy, but it was also uncomfortable! Rebekah, in fact, carried two babies jostling within her. When she inquired of the Lord about this discomfort, He responded to tell her that there were two nations within her and that the older would serve the younger. (Isn't it interesting that the Lord spoke directly to Rebekah before he ever did so to Isaac?)
        When the babies came, Esau was hairy and red. He had the rugged nature and look of an outdoorsman. The name Esau is related to the word for "red" and to the name "Edom." Jacob came out grabbing the heel of his older brother. "Jacob" means "May God protect" but is closely related in sound to the word "heel" and implies "heal-grabber" or "one who trips from behind."  
        Esau would become the simple outdoorsman more concerned with his stomach. Jacob would be the "trickster" looking for a way to achieve his end. Indeed the Israelites (Jacob's descendants) and the Edomites (Esau's descendants) fought continuously.
        Interestingly, in the second generation of God's called people, there developed another relationship of contention between brothers that would continue for generations. Psalm 133:1 declares: "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!"  But this is not always the case. We will see that the sinful nature was very much alive and well in these contentious brothers who would struggle with each other.  
        The truth is that there are no perfect families! Going back to the beginning, God's chosen people have been contentious and fraught with struggles. Truly, it is only in the redeeming grace of God that we will ever celebrate "how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity."
         Are you part of a "less than perfect" family? Do you sometimes wonder how it is that God can be at work among such difficult people and personalities? The church family can be contentious and challenging as well! What is marvelous is that God is still at work! He worked His plan and course of redemption among very human people and amid significant conflict. The point is never how perfect our families are, but how perfect our Savior is.

         Father, I thank You for the family of God. I thank You for the struggles of the Patriarchs and the knowledge that You were at work amid the human frailty of these families. Thank You for forgiving my sin and redeeming me for Your care and use. Thank You for working in my family. Thank You for working in my church. Give me the Fruit of Your Spirit in my encounters. Give me the peace of the Savior as I follow Him.  In Jesus' name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)        
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.