Devotional & Reflection

Week 3, Jul 2003

GE 26, 27 - Problem Parents, Problem Children – Part II
By Pang Hee Hung, Katartizo, New Zealand

GE 27:5ff. Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau ... Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.’ Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”

The devotional on Gen 26 examined how Isaac patterns after their father, Abraham (Gen 26). Who else will the children resemble in Gen 27? To begin with, parental influence is not restricted to the male domain . In Gen 27, we read how Rebekah taught Jacob to usurp Esau’s birthright through trickery and deceit.

Did deceitfulness and trickery stopped with Jacob? Unfortunately not. It perpetuated to Jacob’s descendents. Gen 37:12-30 records the deceit and trickery of Jacob’s other sons who sold Joseph, Jacob’s favorite to the Midianites and fabricated lies to cover their sin.

If we were to read Gen 27 carefully, we would see familial problems. The major problem was a lack of oneness between the parents and it was manifested in favoritism that led to sibling rivalry. The stark truth is this: when husband and wife have not learned to cleave and become one, they present to their children an impoverished example of dissociation with life and relationships. The child will experience firsthand in life’s most basic and supposedly secured relationship, a fundamental dissonance. How could we expect our children to live any differently?

Truly the best gift you can give your child is: husbands love your wives; wives submit, respect and love your husbands (Eph 5:21-25). Then they will live as one (Eph 5:31) and be able to “Train a child in the way he should go” (Prov 22:6).

Scripture also tells us that love must be tough when training our children to walk in the way. Love demands discipline. When my wife and I had our first child, our daughter was very precious to us. I tended not to spank her because of love, a form of permissiveness that is misguided. Even God our Father, the perfect model of love disciplined Israel and exiled them under the cruel hands of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. All these happened because “the Lord disciplines those he loves” (Heb 12:6). I had learnt to use the rod of discipline and our children would know when we mean business. Many Christian parents who follow this principle can testify that it works.

1. How “in oneness” are we to live with our spouse and in bringing up our children?
2. As a mother, how can we help our husband to train our children in the way they should go i.e. godliness?
3. As a parent or as a child, what have caused factions in your family?
4. How has parental discipline helped us to be better people?

Parenting Thoughts Instruct Before our families Self- Destruct.

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