Dysfunctional Chosen Ones

This was originally published on February 4, 2011 on A Beauty Glorious.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Genesis, though, and I’ve been struck by how dysfunctional these early chosen ones were! Let’s recap, shall we:

Abraham, the father of the Jewish people:
• told people that his hot wife Sarah was his sister so that no one would kill him to get to her. (Genesis 12:11-13)
• doubted God and so got his wife’s servant pregnant. (Genesis 16:1-4)
• played favorites with his kids (although that was kind of God’s idea)

Abraham’s son Isaac:
• told people that his hot wife Rebekah was his sister so that no one would kill him to get to her. (Genesis 26:7)
• played favorites with his kids. (Genesis 25:28)

Isaac’s son Jacob:
• manipulated his twin brother Esau out of his inheritance. (Genesis 25:29-34)
• manipulated Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing, because his mom told him to. (Genesis 27:1-29)
• fell in love with Rachel, and then was tricked into marrying her older sister Leah. (Genesis 29:9-25)
• went ahead and married Rachel too a few years later, and loved her more than Leah. (Genesis 19:26-30)
• manipulated his father-in-law out of the best sheep in the herd. (Genesis 30:25-43)
• ended up having kids by Leah, Rachel, AND both their servants! (Genesis 29:31-30:24)
• played favorites with his kids. (Genesis 37:3)

Of Jacob’s twelve sons:
• Reuben, the oldest, slept with one of his dad’s concubines and thus lost his inheritance. (Genesis 35:22, Genesis 49:3-4)
• Levi and Simeon tricked and then slaughtered all the men of the city because one guy raped their sister. (Genesis 34:1-31)
• The oldest ten sold their brother Joseph into slavery out of jealousy and then told their dad he died in a tragic accident. (Genesis 27:12-28)
• Judah broke a promise to his daughter-in-law and then was tricked into sleeping with her. (Genesis 38:1-26)
• Judah was also the one who suggested the slavery scheme in the first place. (Genesis 37:26-27)

This is one crazy family! And I didn’t even mention all the trouble that Jacob’s brother Esau got into, or all the drama between Rachel and Leah!

And yet this is the family that God chose to base his entire redemptive plan on.

• Abraham was the father of a great nation and was called the friend of God. (Genesis 15:5-7, James 2:23)
• Isaac also received this promise and became the father of a great nation. (Genesis 26:2-5)
• Jacob also received this promise, became the father of a great nation, and had his name changed to Israel. (Genesis 35:9-15)
• Jacob’s twelve sons became the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel.
• Joseph’s being sold into slavery became part of God’s plan to save all of Egypt, plus Joseph’s family, from starvation. (Genesis 45:4-8)
• Levi and Simeon were punished for their vengeful rampage by being scattered throughout the land, but God still chose the tribe of Levi for the honor of priesthood. (Genesis 49:5-7, Deuteronomy 10:8)
• Judah (the guy with the daughter-in-law issues) became the mightiest of all the tribes and in fact was the ancestor of Jesus. (Have you heard Jesus called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?) (Genesis 49:8-12, Luke 3:33, Revelation 5:5)

It blows my mind that God would use such a messed up family to accomplish his plans. These three, plus Jacob’s twelve sons, became the foundation of God’s chosen people. God proved that he could use even the messiest circumstances to tell the most miraculous story of all time.

If God can have such a huge destiny for such people, in spite of their dysfunctional behavior…might he also have a huge destiny for me?

Cheat sheet – Abraham’s family tree

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