Read Genesis 27:41-46
41 From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.”
42 But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you.43 So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. 44 Stay there with him until your brother cools off.45 When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m sick and tired of these local Hittite women! I would rather die than see Jacob marry one of them.” (NLT)
It always interested me that in the very old traditional Anglican wedding order of service, Isaac and Rebekah were specifically named as an example of biblical marriage. As our text indicates, their family wasn’t exactly a model family. Rebekah was a schemer, Esau a bumbling boofhead, Jacob a cunning manipulator. If God wanted to show us what a happy family looked like, this family was not a good choice.
But God had no intention of using his written revelation to show us ideal families, or ideal anything for that matter. The Bible describes the messiness of life, the fallibility of even the best individuals, and the fractured nature of much family life. The families of Adam and Eve, Noah, David, Isaac, Jacob and even Jesus were not picture-postcard examples of family life.
As such, it is a reminder to us that as we negotiate the various challenges of family life that these challenges are normal. There are no perfect families because there are no perfect individuals who comprise those families. We do ourselves and others a great disservice if we put forward some idealised concept of family life. We do our best to make family life the best we can, but it will never be ideal.
We get on in families not because of any goodness we might possess but because of the grace given to us by our gracious God.