"Tell the next generation"

Bible Reading: Psalm 78 - Listen

"I will utter hidden things, things from of old--what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.... He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers--a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him." (Psalm 78:2-4) "Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did... and were written down as warnings for us" (1 Cor. 10:6, 11).

Am I passing on a spiritual heritage to my children? Am I teaching them "the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done" so that they will "put their trust in God," and "keep his commands"? When they grow older, will I dare utter hidden family secrets that could warn them of the destruction of evil and give them a greater understanding of God's ways?

When I tell my children about the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, will I tell them how God faithfully led me through the desert times in my own life, guiding me safely, so I was unafraid (78:52-53)? Many times, he split my rocks of doubt and unbelief, and "made water flow down like rivers" to quench my thirsty soul (78:15). Long after my thirst was satisfied, however, I often failed to remember or appreciate his loving care, even challenging his ability to provide what I wanted most (78:19-20). Though I grieved my Lord with my faithless heart and selfish ways, "he was merciful;" he forgave my sin; "time after time he restrained his anger;" he remembered that I am only human (78:38-40).

Through many of the times that I questioned God's love, I can now see his hand, guiding me, weaving his purpose into my days on earth. For the times, however, that I am unable to trace his hand, I will trust his proven record of faithfulness in that which I can see. I will listen to testimonies which tell of his goodness. I will draw strength and comfort from the pages of the Bible, which reveal God's great heart of love and acts of mercy toward his people. In reviewing what he has done, I will remember who he is.

I will tell my children the stories of God's deeds and wonders, so that they, too, will learn from the examples of others and know that God is a "compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness" (Ex. 34:6). In telling them, I will be reminded of what I have "heard and known"--that my God is worthy of trust, obedience and praise. May my children retell the stories to their children, along with their own lessons of faith, nurturing young hearts to trust the God who has been faithful to every generation.