When Family Mess Is Handed Down (Genesis 12:10-20)

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Synopsis of the Sermon
In the Family Mess series we are going to look at the family of the patriarchs and how family mess was handed down generation to generation. When generational sin is handed down in our families, it forms patterns for us. However, we can break the chain of generational sin when we acknowledge our need to change and ask God to give us the courage to choose a different way.

Getting the Conversation Started
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.

1. Have you ever caught yourself using a saying that you often heard your father or mother use? Or maybe you use the same gestures?
2. If you have children, have you seen your son or daughter imitate things that they’ve seen you do? How did that make you feel?
3. Can you think of an instance when you have learned from the mistakes made by earlier generations of your family? Or instances where you have repeated those mistakes?

Interacting with the Sermon
In 5 minutes or less. Briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.

Read 2 Kings 22:1-19:

1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. 3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the LORD. He said: 4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the LORD, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. 5 Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the LORD– 6 the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the temple. 7 But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.” 8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. 9 Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the LORD and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king. 11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. 12 He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: 13 “Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” 14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter. 15 She said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people–that they would become a curse and be laid waste–and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD.

· Discuss the context of this passage. (2 Kings 21) What was the family mess handed down to Josiah? How did Josiah’s reign differ from previous kings? (v. 2) Can you think of family mess that has been handed down in your own life? Discuss and share.
· We know that Josiah “did what was right in they eyes of the Lord.” (v. 2) What was the attitude and character of the temple workers just before the discovery of the Book of the Law? (vv. 3-7) How do you think our character and our present response to God can impact our ability to see the need for change in our lives? Discuss and share.
· Josiah became a king when he was eight years old, but the Book of the Law was found when he was eighteen. Are there things that you accepted as “normal” when you were a child, but you later discovered were actually family mess? How did that feel? How did you respond to this new knowledge? Discuss and share.
· What was Josiah’s response when he heard the reading of the Book of the Law? (vv. 11-13) What did he instruct the priest to do? What might this tell us about how we can respond when we recognize our need to change generational patterns in our lives? Discuss and share.
· What was God’s response to Josiah’s repentance and humility? (vv. 18- 19) How does God respond to us when we recognize our need to change and repent? How does knowing this affect your feelings about personal change? Discuss.
· In 2 Kings 23:1-3, we find a detailed description of the ways that king Josiah turned from the disobedience of previous leaders and renewed the people’s covenant with the Lord. Can you think of ways that you can actively change some of the sin patterns that have been passed down in your family? How can you establish new patterns? Discuss and share.

In his sermon, Rich said that we can’t change until we become aware of our need to change. Spend some time praying about areas where God may be asking you to change. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you as a group.

· Ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas of your individual lives that are being negatively impacted by generational patterns. As a small group, ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas where these patterns may be hurting you as a group.
· If you’ve identified a sinful pattern or behavior that has been handed down from your family, consider asking a member of your small group to support you as you choose a different path.

Please encourage your small group to participate in the follow up events and seminars being offered in conjunction with the Family Mess series.