Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them 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. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Did your dad tell you some extraordinary stories as you were growing up? Some stories can be legendary. Stories like how dad had to walk 2 miles to school through 10’ deep snow drifts, against the wind both to and from school. Well, Psalm 78:1-8 reminds us how important it is for us as parents (and grandparents) to tell our children where we have come from and where we have been.
The first three verses of this passage remind us that the primary tool we use to pass on transformational truth is our mouth. Jesus was certainly a masterful user of words and as verse 2 prophesies, he often told meaningful stories called parables to bring the words to life. It would help us to follow His example and use our words, coupled with stories to transmit truth to the next generation.
The core of this passage in verses 4-6 is a challenge to pass on to the next generation, the knowledge of who God is and what He has done. Not just fantastic stories that entertain but, specifically, the “praiseworthy deeds that He has done, the power and the wonders he has done”. What has God done in your life? Have you given testimony of how God in His mercy has moved you from darkness to light? “We will not hide them from our children” reminds me of the children’s song that says, “hide it under a bushel?, NO, I’m going to let it shine” Think of how cruel it will be to purchase a gift for your children but then hide it in a place where they’ll never find it. Let’s give God glory by proclaiming who He is through the meaningful stories of our lives in order to shine truth into our young ones.
Finally, verses 7 and 8 remind us that there is an ultimate purpose in opening our mouth to share transformational truth to those that come behind us. These verses could be summarized in the lyrics of the song “Find us Faithful” by Steve Green.
And we pray, “May all who come behind us find us faithful, may the fire of our devotion light their way, may the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe and the lives we lead inspire them to obey.” Lord, May the stories of our life lead our next generation to place their trust in Jesus. Amen.
– Gary Schoenwald