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The Story of Isaac as a study in dysfunctional families

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Joseph M. Smith, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith New Member

    Jan 27, 2006
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    As I am working with a group in my church on the Book of Genesis, and we are now treating the material on Genesis, it became apparent to us that Isaac's story offers a number of insights on family dysfunction. So, in order to pursue that thread, I worked up an outline and began to use it this past Wednesday. We will complete it this week. Here is an overview for you folks to comment on. Scripture references are not given, but I expect you know the story well enough without them:

    Factors in Family Failure – Twelve Tribal Terrors

    I. Only child/favorite child syndrome – Abraham after the “sacrifice”
    II. Dominating or over-achieving parent: choices are rebellion or passivity – Reacting to his parents’ choosing a wife
    III. Protected from competition – the sons of the other wife are sent away
    IV. Quasi-secrets – Ishmael kept out of sight until Abraham’s death
    V. Family systems: characteristics repeat themselves – lying about his wife’s status
    VI. Wealth becomes a prime consideration – water conflicts, land claims, accumulation
    VII. Conflict with son’s choice of mate(s) – Esau went out on his own
    VIII. Conditional love, even at the end of life – “If you will … I will bless”
    IX. Deception between husband and wife – Rebecca colluding with Jacob
    X. Favoritism – don’t we learn anything from generation to generation?
    XI. Captured in the culture – I cannot bless you because … it’s against custom!
    XII. A child’s thirst for love, unfulfilled – Esau gets another wife to try to please
  2. EdSutton

    EdSutton New Member

    Jan 9, 2006
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    Overall, I'd say a pretty good concise outline. Especially point four, although I might word this "until after the death of Sarah", since that seems to be where the conflict centered.

    One 'good point' one might wanna' consider, is that of the 'Three Patriarchs' of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Isaac seems to be the only one that was truly a "one-woman-man".

    #2 EdSutton, Feb 24, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2007
  3. Jarthur001

    Jarthur001 Active Member

    Jun 16, 2005
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    If you want to see an dysfunctional family, do a flow chart of Davids family. There is no "family tree". It was more like a wild weed.