Saturday, July 5, 2014

Psalm 145:4-7

Psalm 145:4-7
One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
    On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
    They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
    They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

One of the greatest truths we can remember as parents (or grandparents or aunts/uncles or community members) is that our children do not belong to us.  These children that we have been given the blessing of shepherding are given to us on loan.  They belong to their Creator, the one in whose image they are made.  They belong, ultimately, to God and we are given the opportunity and responsibility to be stewards of them.
That is why it is important to seek out the Lord’s guidance on how we are to interact with our children, his children.  We are greatly blessed because we have the Word of God available to us to reveal to us everything necessary for salvation and a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  Psalm 145 a clear, explicit directive in regards to our children.  Each generation shall commend God’s works to the next.  This is most clearly done in the context of the home, where multiple generations reside together.

But how?  The fact that we “should” is not up for debate but the “how” aspect can be a bit daunting.  Before David wrote this Psalm, Moses was given the word of the Lord in the “how-to” of commending God’s work to generations to come. 

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says,

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Verse 7 is extremely helpful and, when broken down, quite practical.  “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  Notice the “shall” that is echoed in Psalm 145:4.  There is no room for negotiation here.  This is a command of the Lord.  Those who are of the people of the Lord are to not only believe the truths of God but are to pass them on to the next generation.  And it is to be a consistent, persistent endeavor. 

Joel Beeke offers what the implications of this command looks like on a day-to-day, practical level. 
Each day includes four basic teaching times:

Rising up. How we begin our days is so important. With your children, focus on God at the beginning of each day. Scripture and prayer, together with some edifying comments, is a far better way to begin a day than simply grabbing a bowl of cereal and passing your children as they rush to school or play. Spend a few minutes together as a family in communion with the Lord each morning.
Sitting at home. Many families do not spend enough time at home. Consider reserving at least one evening per week to help keep the family close to God and each other. Talk, eat, read, and spend time together. Pray and speak to one another about God and His Word. Family nights are wonderful times for spiritual conversation, teaching, and edification.
Walking by the way. When we walk with our children or ride somewhere with them in the car, we have wonderful opportunites to instruct them about God and the way to live. Our reactions to the events and challenges of our daily lives is also a powerful teaching tool for our children. Show your children as you walk along the road of life how God works and how to make choices that please Him.
Lying down. Bedtime is a special time to talk with your children. Do you have a nightly routine for instructing them about God? Reading Bible stories or good books, praying, and playing quiet, sacred music are good tools for bringing your children’s day to a close. If your children are young, sit next to them on their beds, and speak to them about their day. Assure them of your love. Invite them to share their failures, challenges, and prayer concerns. One way to do this is to begin by sharing your own.

End the day on a positive note; remove any malice that exists. Help your children count their blessings. Show them how to thank God for the merciful events of the day. Remind them that we need to beseech God to forgive our many sins and to meet our soul’s needs at the close of each day. In short, every day of our lives must be punctuated with the truths of God and His grace.*

Before this begins to seem like nothing but a daunting (overwhelming even) burden, notice the grace of God in all of this.  Yes, it is our responsibility to pass on the truths of God to future generations but this is more than simply a responsibility, it is an opportunity.  God has blessed us with countless opportunities on a daily basis to share his great truths, to share him, with those closest to us.  He has promised to do what only he can do (which is forgive the sins and give new life to those who believe) but he has orchestrated this world in a manner that allows us to play a pivotal role in this process for those we love the most, our family.  And he does not give us one chance to share with them.  And he doesn’t even give us 5 chances or 50 chances.  He gives us countless moments throughout each day that we can speak truth and love and grace into the lives of his creatures that he has allowed us to enjoy as our children.  These opportunities are gifts from God and God’s command to us is simple. Do not despise these gifts.

*Joel Beeke, Bringing the Gospel to Covenant Children(Available as a free download here and for sale in physical form here.)

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ps 145:4–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.