Summary: Identifying the problems within a family and the church family will enable them both to survive.
TROUBLE IN THE TRIBE
Sunday, right after the Super Bowl, over 25 million households tuned in to see the premier of Survivor II. Thursday night 29 million saw the second episode. Now, last summer I watched the very last episode of the original Survivor, and I made a comment that it was not true survival. Real survival has nothing to do with backstabbing, lying, or manipulation. Yet this is what this show is all about. My friends, this is not reality TV. This is not real survival. When human beings are trying to survive they band together. They don’t stab each other in the back. As World magazine put it, "One man is no match for an elephant, but a group of men will rule the jungle." Cooperation has always been man’s way to survive.
In our text, Jacob’s family is in a hostile environment. They are strangers in this land. They do not possess this land…yet. They are covenant people in covenant with God, and one day they will possess it. So you’d think they would band together in order to survive. Instead, they are at each others throats. There is trouble in the tribe.
Today, our families are in a hostile environment. 50% of marriages are ending in divorce. That’s just the ones that go down to the court house and make it legal. Many more are divorced even though they live in the same house, drive the same car, and eat at the same table. They just haven’t made it official yet. There’s much fighting and many broken homes. There is an enemy out there, called satan, who wants to destroy your family and mine. And yet we, like Jacob’s family, can’t see the bigger picture. There’s trouble in the tribe.
So the question is how does a family survive today? With our text before us I think we can answer that question by asking another question. What is destroying our families? If we will learn what’s destroying our families then we can make the necessary changes. We’ve got to know what the problem is in order to produce the solution. Several basic problems we need to identify.
1. CARNALITY (worldliness) 37:1
Note, Jacob "dwelt" in the land, and his father Isaac was a "stranger" in the land-i.e.- a sojourner, a temporary resident. Now it’s true one day they will dwell in the land, and it’s true that God told him to go to Bethel. But the implication, here, is that Jacob settled down and become part of the culture. In fact carnality already has a foothold on his life for his 12 children are born to four wives. God never condoned polygamy, but it was the "in" thing to do. Listen, this world system we live in is enemy territory. Worldliness is anything that makes sin look attractive and righteousness look strange and silly. We are in the world but not to be of the world. We have to live in this old world but we’re not to let the world live in us. John said, "Do not love the world or the things in the world." I John 2:15. We must guard against its influence. Are you? Or are you caught up in this world. [EX]-On March 10 we’re having our "Missions Extravaganza" at Pineora. Now you can take your child to that or to a PG-13 movie. Are you caught up in this world? Parents, are you selfishly caught up in your own world that you neglect your children? I think Jacob was. Look what Judah did in 38:1-2. Married a Canaanite of the world. Carnality will destroy your family.
2. GOSSIP (the tongue) 37:2
Joseph brought back a bad report on his half-brothers. A 3 inch tongue can knock down a 6 foot man. Did you know that the snail has teeth on its tongue? A well known scientist examined a snails
tongue under a microscope and counted 30,000 teeth. [Seeds From the Sower, 10/4/99] Many people have teeth on their tongues. Bodies have been broken, lives destroyed, reputations have been ripped and souls have been slain by the tongue. James says we can tame wild animals, but we can’t tame the tongue. We can tame Flipper, Trigger, Shamu, and Lassie, but we can’t tame the tongue. But God can. If you give Him your tongue? No. If you give Him your heart. "For out of the
abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.", says Jesus. The tongue will destroy your family.
3. FAVORITISM 37:3
The coat of many colors was more than just a pretty garment. It was a long sleeved robe that was worn by authority. Worn by one who would be a future leader. It was an honor normally given to the first born. And of course the dream backs that up. One day Joseph would be over his family.