The Bible encourages us to have brotherly love for one another. However, sometimes we see strife and sibling rivalry rather than love and kindness. The scriptures give us insight into one of the reasons for this issue.
Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian. 21 Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
23 And the Lord said to her:
“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.”
24 So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. 25 And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27 So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Genesis 25: 20-28
Isaac married Rebekah and they found out that she was not able to get pregnant. After Isaac prayed and pleaded with the Lord, God granted him his request.
And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Genesis 15:4-5
God had promised Isaac’s father, Abraham, that his descendants were going to be as numerous as the stars in the skies. In the midst of waiting for God’s promise, people can tend to lose the hope and the vision that God has given them.
Abraham and Sarah became impatient, and Ishmael was born who was not God’s promised child. Praise God that Isaac and Rebekah didn’t take the matters in their own hands, and the Lord allowed Rebekah to become pregnant with twins.
There was a battle in Rebekah’s womb, and the Lord told her that two nations were in her womb. The two sons were going to be very different from each other in their looks, strength, personalities, and interests. More importantly, the older was going to serve the younger.
The two parents each had their favorites. Isaac enjoyed Esau who was a hunter and brought him game to eat. Rebekah enjoyed Jacob who he stayed in the tent possibly spending time with his mom and bonding with her.
Sometimes, the siblings are so different that it is difficult for them to get along. However, in my opinion, much of sibling rivalry comes from parents having their favorites and/or giving more privileges to one child over the other. When parents focus on one child because of their own needs, longings, or dreams to the exclusion of the other ones, it creates imbalance, disorder, and hurt in the household.
This was going to be the beginning of a difficult journey for Isaac and Rebekah’s family as the sibling rivalry became intensified due to Rebekah’s schemes.
If you find yourself responsible for sibling rivalry in your household, it is a good time to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Also pray for the Lord to show you how to make things right, so the God can bring, healing, restoration, order, and peace in your household.
I will continue with this subject in the next devotional.