Have you ever wondered why some families seem to have it all together and why other families never can? No family is perfect, believe me, but some families have it much harder than others.
Today, I want to focus on a few biblical examples of dysfunctional families, as a result of one person’s depravity, that I came across in my reading of the Bible, recently.
I want to focus on two examples from the book of Genesis: Noah’s son, Ham, and Abraham’s son, Ishmael.
Beginning in Genesis 9:18-27, is the account describing Noah being disgraced by his son, Ham, and as a result, Noah curses him and his descendants.
Many of Ham’s descendants became enemies of the later formed nation of Israel, God’s chosen people.
Genesis 10:6-20 lists Ham’s descendants, and from that list are some you may find familiar:
Egypt, Canaan, Cush (some of his sons); Cush’s son, Nimrod (a might warrior), founded Babylon (among others), Assyria, where he built Nineveh – the nation Jonah was sent to proclaim God’s judgment, and was destroyed 400 yrs. later, in the book of Nahum.
From other notable grandchildren/descendants, came the Philistines, the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites (among others); and “later the Canaanite clans scattered…”encompassing cities such as Sodom and Gomorrah, who were obliterated during the time of Abraham and Lot, his nephew, (Genesis 13-14).
If that wasn’t enough, the people of Babylon messed up, by building the Tower of Babel, and disobeying God’s commandment to spread out over the world and populate it.
At that point, God confused their languages and they were scattered around the world anyway (Genesis 11:1-9). So Ham’s sin not only ruined things for his family and the Israelites, but affected everyone worldwide.
If that isn’t scary, it should be. One person’s sin can have a global impact.
Secondly, is the example of Abraham and his son, Ishmael. Now, this is after God has made a covenant with Abram (Abraham), and instead of waiting on God’s timing for a son, his wife Sarai (Sarah) steps in to fix the situation.
Sarai is so grieved and embarrassed she has not given Abram any kids, she convinces Abram to sleep with her servant, Hagar the Egyptian, so he can have the heir they thought God was talking about (Genesis 16).
They were so wrong!
This manipulative, impatient disobedience to God caused enmity between Hagar and Sarai, to the point Sarai mistreated her and Hagar ran away. God calls Hagar back, but once Sarah weans her promised son, Isaac, Sarah convinces Abraham to send Hagar and teenage Ishmael away.
This was hard for Abraham, to send his son away, but God promises to take care of him and turn him into a great nation, as well (Genesis 21:8-21).
What unnecessary pain this family experienced because of one bad decision! How naive we are about our sin in our own families.
No sin is little, it affects everyone in your family, whether you realize it or not.
In addition, if you didn’t notice, Hagar was Egyptian, and so was Ishmael’s future wife (Genesis 16:3, 21:21) – so they were descendants of Ham, too! His sin was already affecting God’s people, even in Abraham’s own family (since Abram had been living in Canaan, the nations of Ham’s descendants, for ten years) (Genesis 16:3).
So what am I getting at, with all this biblical family drama? Sin matters and has huge impacts on families, mine included.
Ever gossiped about a family member?
Told a monstrous secret, you weren’t supposed to?
Not forgiven a family member for something they said or did?
Don’t let your family carry the consequences of your and your family’s sins. Be the family that breaks the cycle – forgive, show unconditional love, show mercy and compassion, and don’t forget to pray for one another.
Only God can truly heal your family.