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Experiencing the Blessing of Family – Lesson from the Family of Jacob

(Genesis 28:1-5; 29:15-31)

Experiencing the blessing of family does not happen automatically. There is a price that we must pay, and there are certain things that we have to do if we want to experience the blessing of having a family or belonging to a family.

In the past two weeks, we have considered the lessons that we can learn from the families of Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebecca. This morning, we want to consider the lessons that we can learn from the family of Jacob. The family of Jacob is perhaps the most important family among the Jews and has more chapters devoted to it than any other biblical family.

In the first place, we must know and uphold God’s standard for family life, even in the face of unforeseen circumstances like deception and disappointment. When Jacob was leaving home, his father instructed him concerning God’s standard for marriage—one man and one woman for life (Gen. 28:2). Unfortunately, Jacob was deceived by his uncle, Laban, who thrust his older daughter, Leah, upon Jacob as wife. Jacob was bitterly disappointed.


The challenge was: Would Jacob settle for the woman he did not have natural affection for? He was unwilling to do that; he, therefore allowed Laban to talk him into marrying Rachel as well, thereby becoming a polygamist. But the questions we have to reflect upon are these: Can God help us to love and live with someone we do not have natural affection for? Could God have accomplished His purpose for Jacob if he had married only Leah? I believe the answer to these questions is “Yes.” If we are walking in His will, God can use what we consider to be bad to our advantage (Rom. 8:28).

Jacob’s venturing into polygamy had a great and lasting impact on his life. He ended up with four wives, having been put under pressure by his wives to take their maids as wives as well so that they could have children through them. The spirit that operates in a polygamous home is that of competition and not cooperation (Gen. 30:8).

Second, parents, in general, and fathers, in particular, must accept the responsibility of providing for their family, even in the face of all kinds of difficulties. To experience the blessing of family, every member of the family must be provided for. Children that are not well brought up and adequately provided for will not be able to achieve their full potential, and will ultimately become a problem for any family.

Jacob acknowledged God as the One who gave him all the children that he had (Genesis 33:5) “5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. “Who are these with you?” he asked. Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.”. He, therefore, took very seriously the responsibility of providing for his family. After 14 years of service to Laban as payment or bride price for his wives, Jacob decided to return home to his own country so that he could provide for his own household (Genesis 30:25) “25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland, (Genesis 30:29–30) 29 Jacob said to him, “You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under my care. 30 The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my household?”). When Laban persuaded him to stay on and work for him, Jacob renegotiated his wages with Laban (Gen. 30:31–34). But in working for Laban, Jacob experienced great difficulties (Gen. 31:40-42) but God saw him through.


Third, family members must be consulted and carried along when important decisions are to be taken to get everyone’s cooperation (Gen. 31:1-16). After receiving the marching order from God to return to his own country, Jacob sent for his wives, Rachel and Leah, and discussed the situation with them.

Fourth, family members must be content with the safety and security that God provides for them and shun the worship of idols (Genesis 31:14–16). 14 Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? 15 Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. 16 Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you.” (Genesis 31:19) “19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods). It appears that Laban and his household were not wholly devoted to the One true God that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob worshipped. Though they acknowledged the One True God, they still owed allegiance to and worshipped household gods. Household deities were usually worshipped not in temples but in the home, where they would be represented by small idols, amulets, paintings, or reliefs. In Greek mythology, Hestia is the goddess of home life, and family. She received the first offering at every sacrifice in the home but had no public worship. In Roman mythology, the equivalent goddess is Vesta, whose worship bound the Romans in the form of an extended family. Rachel wanted to continue to enjoy the protection that the household gods offered even after leaving her father’s home. It could also be that the custodian of the household gods would inherit the property of a parent, so stealing them would make Rachel inherit her father, Laban’s property.

Fifth, authority figures in the family, particularly fathers, must be careful of what they say and not place curses on their wives and children, deliberately or inadvertently. Jacob did not know anything about what Rachel had done and when Laban accused him of stealing his household gods, he pronounced a curse on the thief not knowing that the culprit was his favourite wife, Rachel (Genesis 31:32) 32 But if you find anyone who has your gods, he shall not live. In the presence of our relatives, see for yourself whether there is anything of yours here with me; and if so, take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods; Genesis 35:16-19: “16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last–for she was dying–she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin. 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

Sixth, family members must obey all of God’s commands and keep their vows to God. Disobedience to God’s commands and instructions has dire consequences for families. God’s command to Jacob when he was leaving Paddan Aram was to “return to the land of your birth” (Gen. 31:13), where he had vowed to build an altar in Bethel (Gen. 28). However, because of his fear of Esau, in


spite of the peace that he had made with him, Jacob pitched his tent and settled down in Shechem (Gen. 33:12-20). It was while he was there that Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, was raped by Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land (Gen. 34:1). What happened to their sister angered Simeon and Levi and the two of them killed all the males of Shechem (Gen. 34:25). This exposed Jacob’s family to the risk of retaliation by the Shechemites, and their possible destruction (Gen. 34:30-31). God’s solution to their predicament was for the entire family to go to Bethel (Gen. 35:1-4).

Seventh, avoid favouritism. We have considered the negative effect of favouritism in the family of Isaac and Rebecca, but it reared its ugly head in the family of Jacob who should have learned from the example of his parents’ family. The effect of favouritism on the family of Jacob was even worse (Gen. 33:1-3; 37:1-4).

Eighth, the father must take seriously his responsibility as the priest of the family and be very prayerful. Jacob was a prayerful man who sought the help of God from time to time on behalf of himself and his family. When he was leaving home for the first time, he prayed and made a vow to God, in response to the promise of God to him (Gen. 28:20-22). When he heard that Esau was coming to meet him with an army of four hundred men, he spent the whole night in prayer to God (Gen. 32:3-6).

Your eternal salvation and spiritual well-being are our concerns. If you wish to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour, you can pray the following prayer to God: “Dear God, I thank you for sending Jesus into the world to die for my sins. I repent of my sins right now and invite Him into my life to be my Lord and Saviour. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name. Amen. If you offered this prayer to God, please write to let us know through the address below. You are also invited to join us in worshipping the Lord every Sunday in Yoruba language at 7.20 a.m. and in English language at 9.00 a.m.


Good News Baptist Church,
47/49, Olufemi Road,
Off Ogunlana Drive,
P. O. Box 3781,
Surulere, Lagos.

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