Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Passing Along the Faith

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
O my people, listen to my instructions.  Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable.  I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us.  We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.  For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel.  He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them—even the children not yet born—and they in turn will teach their own children.  So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.  Then they will not be like their ancestors—stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God.  Psalm 78:1-8(NLT)
It’s not an easy (or small) thing to pass something along to the next generation.  The term generation gap was very prevalent in the generation in which I grew up.  There is something of an age fault-line that splits the relationship between parents and children about the time teenage years begin. 
In Asaph’s Psalm he gives us a little peek into bridging that fault-line.  In the opening verses he talks about the parents’ responsibilities to teach the faith to their children.  (By the way – this includes grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts and uncles).  The problem we often have with doing that, is teaching presupposes someone on the other end is listening and willing to learn.  Not always so!
But Asaph turns to that part of the equation towards the end, and here’s where the hope and caution lies for the teachers:

The Caution

The Psalmist cautions the younger generation in verses 7-8 to set its hope anew on God so they won’t be stubborn and rebellious.  I’ve known teens that were very teachable, eager to learn God’s ways.  I’ve never known a teen that didn’t have a little rebellion lurking somewhere inside, perhaps deep-down.  The point is that the caution is well-taken; we are created to love and obey God’s ways, but sin has corrupted the wiring, and every generation goes (at least) a little crazy rebelling against authority.

The Hope

The hope is contained in the caution.  At a point in time, because God’s Word is true, every member of every generation comes face to face with the need for a relationship with God, their Creator.  Turning to God, or setting our hope anew on God, is an experience seen time and again.  I was not far from this model; in my teen years I rebelled against the “religious ways” of my parents.  By the mid-twenties my rebellious path created such misery in my soul I had to turn to Christ.
But, parents please note:  this hope contains a special caution for you!  Each generation must set its hope ANEW, meaning there will be new ways, and different approaches.  Be careful that you are prepared to encourage, not disparage; don’t find ways to mock and sneer at the way young people are turning to Christ.  You may not like their music, tattoos, hairstyles, or meeting times, but a heart turning to God is not something to mess with.  Remember what Jesus said about letting the little ones come to him.  That includes the babes in Christ who have a driver’s license, acne, and a nose ring!

For You Today

A parent’s job is to tell the story to their kids, and other people’s kids and grandkids; keep telling the story.  But no force-feeding; it’s up to the kids to want to set their hope anew on Christ…you tell the story with love, compassion and respect; let the Holy Spirit do the leading!
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!


[i] Title Image: via Pixabay

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