An Unhappy Family


When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”

In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Genesis 29:31, 30:1-2, 14-15a ESV

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth. Psalm 127:3-4 ESV


Sarah’s parents were divorced. Her mother had married again, and she had two younger stepbrothers. Sometimes Sarah felt like her mom cared more about her stepbrothers than about her. She always looked forward to spending the weekend with her dad. But sometimes her father was busy, and didn’t come to get her. That made Sarah angry and upset.

Jacob’s home also wasn’t a happy one. He had two wives who were often angry and jealous of each other. God’s best plan for marriage is for one man to marry one woman. God intends for married people to stay together all their lives. When we don’t follow God’s plans, there is often a lot of unhappiness.

But even in this unhappy home, God gave Jacob great blessings. God gave him 12 sons, and at least one daughter. Children are always meant to be a blessing from God in any family. Jacob’s big family was the beginning of the tribes of Israel, and from these tribes God would some day send the promised Savior. God worked through all the sin and unhappiness in Jacob’s family to bring great things to all families on the earth, just as he had promised.

Jesus, the promised Savior, came to forgive us all our sins, including our sins of not following his ways in our family lives. Because of Jesus, our Heavenly Father will help us and bless us in our families. His Holy Spirit helps us to love and forgive family members who hurt us, even as God forgives us for hurting the people in our families with our own sins.


Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive us for the times we don’t follow your ways in our families, and help us to love and forgive our families. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.