Family Chemistry
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Lesson Four: Chain Reaction – Love Righteousness
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12

A chain reactionis a series of events in which each induces or influences the next (  

I love watching Tiger baseball. I wish they were better, but I still enjoy watching them (I hope when you read this book they are amazing because I will still be watching). In his second start of the 2018 season, Jordan Zimmerman was pitching for the Tigers. He threw a 92 mile per hour fastball to the plate. Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians swung and hit the ball right back at the pitcher. The ball traveled 105.6 mph before striking Jordan in the face. Zimmerman ended up being okay but watching the replay in slow motion is a crazy event. The amazing part is that Jordan almost got out of the way. His reaction was just milliseconds too slow.  

Have you had something happen in your life where you just did not have time to react?  

We are constantly reacting to things in life. Sometimes we have good reactions, and sometimes we do not. When it comes to our family, having bad reactions can be costly. The way we react to our children, parents, or spouse has consequences. Sometimes it is good, and sometimes it is not.

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12

What is the consequence for being righteous? What does it mean to be righteous?

What do you think it means “for the eyes of the Lord” to be upon us? In contrast, what does it mean for His face to be against those who do evil?

Daniel chapter 3 is probably my favorite story of the entire Old Testament. King Nebuchadnezzar is a crazy king who tended to explode in anger. The king built a large golden statue and then threw a party so that everyone in the kingdom would bow down to it. Three godly men (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were placed in a very difficult situation. They had to decide how they would react to the king’s demands.

Daniel 3:13-15 says, “Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, ‘Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?’”

What type of justified responses could they have given to the king?

Daniel 3:16-18 adds, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’”

Why do you think they said, “O king” multiple times? 

Why do you think they said we do not need to give you an answer?

What is so bold about their answer in verse 18?

As I examine their response, I find three specific details. First, I find that they responded respectfully to the king. Second, they responded in truth. Lastly, they responded in obedience to their King. Having godly reactions is so important in our family. If we can learn to respond with respect, truth, and obedience, I believe the chain reaction from those encounters can be so much better.

In your family, how do you struggle to respond in respect? Why do you think this is so important?

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

What are ways that you can grow in truth to help you better react to your family?

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

Why is obedience to Christ so important when it comes to dealing with our family?

“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3

What is the chain reaction that was started by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? 

Sometimes the chain reaction is not what we would like. I think this is why Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said, “If this be so.” They knew the outcome might not be what they would like, but that did not change their reaction. They knew whatever would follow would be in God’s hands. In our family, we may not always get the results we want or deserve, but that does not change what our reactions must be. If we can learn to respond with respect, truth, and obedience, let the chips fall where they may. We know that God is watching over those who are righteous.

Volcano Experiment

Name of Scientists:

Materials Needed
•   Balloon
•   Small bottle (cleaned glass pop bottle works best)
•   Small funnel
•   Baking soda (2 tablespoons)
•   Vinegar (4 ounces)

What are the goals of this experiment?
The goal of the project is to demonstrate the power of chain reactions and how this relates to the family.

STEP 2 - HYPOTHESIS (testable prediction):
If… then…  statement below.
If we put baking soda into vinegar, then the balloon will

Do a test to confirm or disprove your hypothesis.
1. Using the funnel, add the baking soda to each balloon.
2. Pour the vinegar into the bottle.
3. Carefully fit the balloon over the bottle opening.
    (Do not drop the baking soda into the vinegar yet!)
4. Once the balloon is fitted snugly on the bottle, hold up the balloon and allow the baking soda to fall into the vinegar.

Record what you see.

One of the biggest factors that creates friction in a family is our words. We all have hurt someone in our families with something that was said. For about two months, my son would always say that I was the Ice Golem that Elsa creates in Frozen. While I know he did not mean much by it, it still hurt my feelings. The reality is words have power.

As a family, select one brave soul to drink a teaspoon of vinegar. Ask them how it tastes. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” In this experiment, vinegar is going to represent the words we use that are not “sweetness to the soul,” because vinegar itself is not a very sweet thing. It is bitter much like the words we can say or the actions we unfortunately do.

The baking soda represents the reaction we have when we hear those nasty words. We can all think of the time when someone said something mean to us, and we responded horrifically.

When our reaction and bad words come in contact with each other, it creates a gas that can expand. When the balloon was being filled up, the balloon was being pushed away from itself. Simply put, the balloon was expanding away from itself. This is what causes friction in families. When one person, a parent, a child, an aunt, or an uncle happens to act against the will of God; a separation takes place not only between God and us but also between our families and us.

When nasty words (vinegar) come in contact with bad reaction (baking soda), it will cause the balloon (your family) to drift apart.

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