Family Feuds and Attitudes

“Now I will praise the Lord!” (Genesis 29:35)

Back in the ‘70s, a TV game show aired featuring two families facing off in competition for a posh prize. The program (which still runs today) quickly gained popularity, promoting family ties and teamwork as contestants fought the adversary, not their own

Blood is the tie that binds family. But when love is not the pulse of that bond, healthy ambition can quickly turn to harmful obsession. For instance, look at Rachel and Leah – sisters fighting over a man, when there really was no competition. Jacob loved Rachel, period. But that didn’t stop Leah from trying to win his affection. Leah, the older and first married of the two (albeit by deception), conceived first, hoping a son would secure her husband’s favor. It did not. Still clinging to that hope, she bore two more boys but, sadly, her growing family did not breed this longed-for love. Although Leah recognized the Lord’s blessing on her womb with the first three babies, her hope rested in her husband. By the time she gave birth to her fourth son, her focus had changed. That baby’s name means “praise” and reveals a new Source of satisfaction: “Now I will praise the Lord.” (Genesis 29:35) Leah finally found fulfillment, and it was God alone

Unfortunately, Leah was pulled right back into the muddy fight with her sister. Rachel’s envy introduced her maid to this tag-team match as a surrogate, resulting in two more sons whose names reflect this “wrestling”. Leah then offered her maid, adding two more sons named for the “troops” in this battle. Through the envy and bribery of these desperate sisters, another son was born to Leah, followed by another (and a daughter, but who’s counting girls?). Score, Leah 8, Rachel 2. Finally, after all the back and forth, Rachel conceived for the first time, bearing Joseph (Jacob’s favorite), and eventually Benjamin, who’s birth took her life. And there we have the twelve tribes of Israel. 

What a messed-up family! But amidst the chaos and conflict of these lives shines a beautiful truth (hold onto this nugget). Jesus came through the line of Leah’s fourth son, Judah. Not Rachel. Not Joseph. Not even Leah’s own strength, striving or conniving, but where God was embraced as Everything. I used to feel bad for Leah, yet her story (along with many others in the bloodline of Jesus) proves that purpose trumps placement. No matter where we are in life, favored or underdog, we can praise because God’s design is for our good and His glory. Laying down weapons of war becomes possible when we acknowledge and praise the Source of this power to love, forgive and keep on living joyfully, wherever He’s placed us.

When family ties, whether biological or by-a-love-that’s-full (marriage, adoption, friends), offer more stress than support, remember the One relative who holds all things together – Jesus is the tie that binds! Through His blood we belong to The Father. As family, we must stop slugging, suit up in God’s armor and stand side by side while our King fights the enemy. After all, hearts ruled by Christ are on the winning team together, awaiting a palatial prize. We know this because we know the endgame is… “and the survey says” …heaven!

SHINE, always