Summary: This message talks about the hope we have in God’s Social Security Plan: families.
God’s Social Security Plan
Last month I received my annual SS statement. I never really read the outside. I always go to the inside to read how much money I will be getting at retirement. It tells you if you work until you’re 62, you’ll get this much. If you work until 67, you’ll get this much and as an inducement to work longer, they tell me how much I’ll receive if I decide to work to age 70. When I look at that amount, I realize that my retirement from the government is only 25% of what I’m making now. So who cares about food and clothing when you retire? That’s only part of the good news. If you go back and read on the front, there’s a letter from Joanne B. Barnhart. It’s kind of a pick me up letter. If you haven’t read it, here’s what she says, “Unless action is taken soon, in just 11 years Social Security will begin paying out more in benefits than we collect in taxes. By 2041, the Social Security Trust fund will be exhausted.” The upshot is there’s not a lot of hope to receive Social Security when I retire. Today we are going to talk about the hope we have in God’s Social Security Plan and it has a lot to do with families.
You hear preachers talk about the decay and decline of the modern family. And no doubt there is a lot of stress and challenges to families in our culture. But I’ve got to tell you that if you go back in Biblical times, it wasn’t so great either. There were a lot of pretty mixed up families in the Bible. In fact, it’s hard to find healthy families in the Bible. Take the first family in the Bible, Adam and Eve and their sons, Cain and Abel. Now what kind of family dynamic is that where one brother kills the other? Then there’s Noah. After the floodwaters had receded, Noah develops a drinking problem and quite literally, his kids had to cover up for him, covering his nakedness when he has passed out one night. Angry that they saw him naked and vulnerable, Noah puts a curse on his kids that they’re going to be slaves the rest of their lives.
Then there’s Abraham and Sarah who can’t have any children. So Sarah comes up with a plan to have her husband sleep with her maidservant and then Sarah will take that baby as her own. Abraham does and Hagar gives Abraham a boy and becomes Abraham’s common law wife and her child is Ishmael. Not long after that, Sarah conceives and gives birth to her first son, Isaac. Sarah grows increasingly unhappy having Hagar and Ishamel around and so she forces Abraham to get the first divorce in the Bible, sending both away with no child support.
Then Isaac marries Rebecca and Rebecca has twins named Jacob and Esau. You will remember that Isaac and Rebecca had favorites among them. Isaac loved Esau more and Rebecca loved Jacob more. Some of you grew up with the suspicion that mom loved your bother or sister more but in this family there was no confusion about the matter. Now when parents play favorites to their children, what does that do to a family? In the end when Isaac had gone blind in his old age, Rebecca dressed Jacob up in a smelly animal skin and told him to draw near to his dad, play like his brother and get the blessing of the father, which was a passing of all his belongings to the oldest son, effectively shutting out his older brother and forcing him to fend for himself for the rest of his life. Esau becomes so mad his inheritance has been stolen out from underneath him that he wants to kill his brother, Jacob runs away, never seeing his mother again.
Then Jacob goes out and works for a man and falls in love with his beautiful daughter but his new father-in-law had his oldest and ugliest daughter step in the wedding with a veil over her face, thus tricking Jacob. They consummate the marriage that night. Well, Jacob is so in love with Rachel that he bargains with his father-in-law to work for him 7 more years before he can marry Rachel. Can you imagine that family, where two sisters are married to the same man, one of whom he wanted and the other he did not? What does that family look like? Rachel started to have races to see who can have the most babies. As if that’s not enough, they take after Abraham and Sarah and bring in their maidservants to start having babies and they consider those babies a part of their team. In the end Jacob has 12 boys. Jacob does the same thing his father did to him and plays favorites. As a result the 11oldest boys who were jealous sell the favorite son Joseph into slavery and tell the father he was killed by wild animals.