We will not hide God’s teaching from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done. Psalm 78:4
Psalm 78 is another psalm written by Asaph. This time he was making a determined vow: He would pass on his faith to his children and to the next generation. He was making a declaration not only for himself, but for the people of Israel, and for those of us who call ourselves Jesus followers today. Back then, one of the ways that the leaders did this was to recite what God had done for them, starting back with their forefathers and working their way from there. They included reciting and reviewing what happened when they rebelled.
Some have called this a ‘recitation theology.’ They repeated over and over what God had done with them as a people so that they would not forget. It was a command to them to teach their children that the next generation might know the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might and the wonders that He had done to establish Israel. It was, as Asaph reminded them, a way to cause their children to set their hope in God and not be like their fathers who were stubborn and rebellious.
It is so easy to forget what God has done in our lives and in our family and church family’s lives. Recounting the stories of God’s faithfulness is a habit we need to get into, sharing testimonies of what God has done. Psalm 78 is filled with reminders of what happened when they were rebellious. Those might be painful stories to tell, shameful to mention to the younger generation. But that is a part of passing on our faith, teaching the next generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, His might and the wonders that He has done.
How do we do this? One of the habits that I have had for the last 35 years is to keep a quiet time journal, filled with notes of my Bible studies, prayer requests and ways that I have seen God work. Every so often I go back and read through them, remembering that God has been faithful and seeing His hand at work.
A habit that we need to do corporately is to have more time of testimonies, not just of how God has worked in the past but how He is at work now. The stories of our failures and God meeting us with His grace and mercy need to be a part of our sharing. This should be a part of our Christian fellowship, whether it be in small groups or just sharing stories over a meal together. We must make sure we intentionally do this with the next generation in any shape or form that is possible.
The other thing is to make sure that the habit of Sunday school and church attendance is passed down to the next generation. If you deviate from this as an adult, thinking that Sunday is your day of rest or recreation, made for fishing, sports tournaments, lawn care, family gatherings, or anything but going to church on a regular basis–you are failing your kids and the next generation. You have cut off one of the main agents that God has purposed to carry out His plans, which is the church. It is His way of proclaiming His glorious deeds through us, telling of His might and of the wonders that He has done.
*Image from Baidonmethodists.org