Trouble in the Household-Part 2

Trouble In the Household 2




1.  Isaac and Rebekah and their two sons, Jacob and Esau are primary characters in the Book of Genesis.

2.  Like us, their family was troubled with sin.  Jacob was a deceiver who took advantage of his father’s vulnerability in his old age.  Rebekah had encouraged him aiding him in his deception.  Jacob also took advantage of Esau’s vulnerability when he was hungry.  

3.  Jacob’s parents show favoritism to the son they preferred.  Rebekah preferred Jacob.  Isaac preferred Esau.  There was anger, grief, grudge bearing, and even a plan for murder that resulted.

4.  They were influenced by their culture to marry multiple wives.  They formed marriage alliances for military, economic and social benefit.

5.  As we study about their trouble, we need to realize that Genesis was written by Moses many generations after these people lived.  We may have much more insight into the moral and ethical system of God than they did.  Nevertheless, the biblical text indicates that they were not ignorant of what was right and wrong.  Like us, they just did not always do right, thus there was “trouble in their household.”

6.  The soap opera like story continues as Jacob marries Leah and Rachel (Gen. 29:15-20).




I.  Polygamy was never God’s intent (Gen. 29:21-30).


   A.  Evidenced from the creation account (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:18-24; Matt. 19:5—“the 

        two . . .”). 

   B.  The culture of Laban’s world influenced the situation.  Note 29:26:  “It is not the 

         practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn.”  Do you see

         the irony in the younger/older role reversal here?

   C.  Esau had two Hittite wives and one Ishmaelite wife (Gen 26:34; 27:46; 28:8-9).

   D.  So, the practice of polygamy was OK’d in Laban’s family and in Jacob’s family.

   E.  But there is more . . .

        1.  Rachael was jealous of Leah for having children and so gives Bilhah, her hand 

             maiden, as a surrogate to produce children for her (30:1-8).

        2.  Leah, then gives Zilpah, her handmaiden as surrogate to produce children.

        3.  I wonder what it was like to be a secondary wife?  Is that my individualist

             culture wondering or in a culture where everyone benefited by being part of 

              the clan do they consider it an honor?


II.  Obviously their culture is different than ours.


    A.  We have observed that these ancient cultures married for alliances that

          produced military, financial, and social advantages.  Our society says, “You get

          married for love.”

    B.  But maybe we need to modify our observations a bit.  Maybe Jacob’s values are

         like our own.

         1.  The text says that Jacob loved Rachael (29:17-20).  What is this love?  It 

              appears that he has only known her for a month (29:14) when he agrees to 

              serve 7 years for her.  Is his “love” merely emotional?  (Ladies, how would you 

              like it if your father sold you for 7 years work?)

         2.  Sounds like Jacob was emotionally motivated to me.  And the text notes:  

              “Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachael was beautiful in form and face.”   

               Hmmmmm!  Leah has a diminishing quality while Rachael is “beautiful in 

               form and face?”  Sounds like they are valued or devalued based on 

               looks and any physical weakness is considered devaluing.


III.  While Jacob and Laban and their culture interact in this household, jealousy (30:1), anger (30:2), competitiveness (30:8), an unloved wife (29:31), greed, and family division are just some of the results.  But God blessed the unloved wife AND He blessed the loved wife.  He responded to their prayers and was gracious to them.  He blessed them with wealth.


      A.  Their prayers were formulated out of jealousy, competitiveness and attempts to 

           get “one up” on the other (30:6, 17).

      B.  But God was at work to accomplish His plan.  He had promised Jacob land, 

           descendants and to be a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 28:10-


      C.  Jacob, the deceiver, had been deceived by Laban(29:21ff).

      D.  Both Laban and Jacob, in materialistic pursuit, have manipulated

           circumstances to gain financial advantage over the other.

           1.  Laban had a good herd manager in Jacob, but Laban had changed his 

                wages many times (30:25; 31:7).

           2.  Jacob bred his flock to gain financial advantage over Laban (30:37ff).

           3.  Rachael and Leah felt taken advantage of by their father (31:14-16).

      E.  In all this, God blessed both Jacob and Laban with wealth.


IV.  Jacob and his clan leave Laban under tense circumstances.  Materialism, deception, fear, anger, a sense of injustice, accusation, and theft characterized the separation.  But a covenant was reached, and the separation finalized (Gen. 31:22-55).


     A.  Jacob left Laban secretly and Laban pursued him (22-32).

          1.  There is a recognition of God by Laban (v. 29).

          2.  However, Rachael has stolen the idols from Laban’s house (33ff).  It is hard

               to make a complete break with the culture of your family.  They 

               acknowledged God, but Rachael carried these household idols.  She carried

               them secretly; Jacob did not know.  What kind of secrets result in tension in

               your household?

     B.  Jacob was angry and contended with Laban (36ff).

     C.  A covenant was reached.  God was called on as witness and they parted

          company (43ff).


V.  What does all this have to do with us?


    A.  First, I would have you realize that the culture in which we live influences us.  It is

         not always negative, but sometimes it is.  Worldly culture influences our ethics, 

         our perspective on our lives, our behaviors, our perceptions about marriage, 

         about wealth, and so many other things.  We must be careful to control these

         influences if we expect to minimize the “trouble in our household.”  The Bible 

         reveals a culture that involves allegiance to God.  What He has revealed for us is 

         for our good and by disciplining ourselves by His instruction trouble can be 

         avoided and joy can result.

   B.  Second, materialism and greed lead to tension in families.  Some live for this 

        purpose.  It is characteristic of the world.  But the people of God have a higher       

        calling (Matt. 6:19-33; 1 Pet. 4:1-6).

   C.  Third, God has a plan, and He will accomplish His plan, in spite of the world’s 

         culture, despite our sin, all the deceptions, false religions, injustices, 

         manipulations, and tensions that characterize our lives.  The question is, “Will we

         be faithful?  Will we trust in Him?”  He is working things for our good (Rom. 

         8:28).  Will we believe it?  God will bring about a blessing on all nations through

        Jacob and his descendants.  It is not because Jacob and his descendants are so

        good, but because God is so great!




1.  Is there trouble in your family?

2.  Is your life and purpose conformed to the world?  Would you be transformed and align yourself and your household with the purpose of God?


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