Consequences of Many Wives (Gen 35:16-27)
Speaker: Pr Joshua Yong
Date: 12 Jul 2020

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Sermon notes taken by:

Tina Wong

There is a big difference between the penalty of sin and the consequences of sin. The former was borne by Jesus on the cross. As for the latter, even though we have been forgiven of our sins (past, present and future sins), we may have to suffer the consequences of our sins.

Jacob had two wives and two concubines. The Lord did not strike him dead immediately for committing the sin of adultery, but he had to face the following consequences of taking more than one wife:

1.  Bitterness in the home (Gen 35:16-20)

Before Rachel died, she named her newborn son Benoni (meaning: son of sorrow), thus expressing the intense sorrow in her heart. In Genesis 30:1, Rachel had experienced comparison, competition and jealousy with her sister Leah as she was barren. When we do not follow God’s pattern for marriage, there will be consequences: jealousy leading to bitterness.

2.   Sons’ competition without any regard for father’s authority (Gen 35:21-23)

Reuben (Leah’s firstborn son) laid with Bilhah (Rachel’s handmaid, Jacob’s concubine), thus usurping his father’s authority. Similar examples are: Absalom (David’s son), and Adonijah (Solomon’s son). The first three sons of Jacob (Reuben, Simeon and Levi) did not respect the authority of their father Jacob. A curse was pronounced on Reuben (“shalt not excel” in Genesis 49:3-4). The father’s conduct can impact the sons. It is the father’s responsibility to set a good example. If parents do not obey God’s Word, they would have lost their moral authority over their children.

3.   God’s mercy despite the consequences (Gen 35:24-29)

Why is there a shift to the list of Jacob’s sons in Genesis 35:24-29? This is God’s mercy despite the consequences Jacob had to bear. His twelve sons would become the nation of Israel. This list reminds us of God’s promise to Abraham that He would make him a great nation. We must not take the consequences of sins lightly. We are to stay far away from sin. Remember that God is merciful to forgive if we repent of our sins. He is patient and merciful to us. We must turn to Him.

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