Daily Devotional

Published: August 20, 2018


The Challenges of Blended Families

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Scripture: (Gen 21:9-11 NKJV)  And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. {10} Therefore she said to Abraham, "Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac." {11} And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham's sight because of his son.

Observation: In Genesis 16 we read about the problems between Sarai and her servant Hagar after the latter became pregnant by Abram and eventually gave birth to their son Ishmael.  Hagar fled, but God told her to go back.  Year later, after the birth of Isaac, the problems evidently continued and when both Ishmael and Issac were older they had problems, maybe childhood sibling rivalry, which made Sarah upset enough to insist that Ishmael and Hagar should be thrown out of the house.  While God had promise Abraham and Sarah they would have their own son, Issac, even while Sarah skirted God’s promised and pushed Abraham to have a son with Hagar, God still blessed Ishmael as a son of Abraham’s.  But the problems resulting from this decisions were felt not only during the childhood years of Ishmael and Issac, but for many years to come between their descendants for generations to come and even to this day.

Application: In the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, and their sons Ishmael and Issac, we can see illustrated several dynamics that can be problematic to healthy family relationships and which come when we don’t follow God’s established plan for us.
1. Sibling Rivalry.  While every family where there is more than one child will experience a certain amount of sibling rivalry, this problem can be much more pronounced in blended families and in families where adultery and divorce occurs.  Stories abound after the death of a father and his two or three families fight among themselves for the possessions, money, and whatever belonged to the father and which everyone claims should now belong to them.
2. Blended Families.  While some blended families enjoy a certain degree of normality, many experience great turmoil, internally and outside.  The picture of the “Brady Bunch”, where peace, joy, love, and harmony reign most of the time, is mostly an illusion created for entertainment purposes rather than the tense reality many blended families experience on a daily basis.
3. Birth Order.  Everyone is affected in a positive or negative way by their families and by the chronological order in which they were born.  Once that order is established and then disrupted by the blending of families, it creates a chaotic situation in the families and in the lives of each child as they may be “unseated” from their birth order and must adapt to their new birth position or challenge the one who usurped it.
Whenever we violate God’s plan for our life and our marriage, we bring on ourselves painful and lasting consequences for us, our spouse, our children, our families, and beyond.

A Prayer You May Say: Our Loving Father, thank you for our families.  Please help us to protect the unity and integrity of our marriage and family so that none of may ever experience downfalls and their painful consequences.  Keep us together and in love for a lifetime.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

Previous | Today | Next