Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below. Psalm 78 - O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. 4 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. 5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, 6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 8 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.
In Matthew 13:35, we see Matthew quote Psalm 78:2. He references this verse in the middle of Jesus longest section of parables. Psalm 78 is ascribed to Asaph, who was a prophet and a contemporary of King David. Asaph is said to have been the leader of one of David’s choirs---so, he was an old school worship leader that God used to pen some of the Psalms.
Jesus has been using parables to reach out (not to exclude!!) to the hard-hearted people that were in Galilee during His ministry. His deepest longing was that people would know God through Him and experience life now and life eternally. Psalm 78 gives an interesting high level summary of some of Israel’s history. People have become stubborn, rebellious, and their hearts were not loyal to God! The call to God’s people has always been to love Him, be faithful & obedient to Him, and share His story.
One of the main places we are called to share the story of God is in our own homes. The Psalmist recognizes this and gives the beautiful intention of generation telling and discipling the following generation. The desire is that the joys and story of God would always be on our lips and that we are intentional about sharing this, specifically in our homes. Jesus would use parables so that His message would penetrate their hearts and stick! I can almost see a father and son listening to Jesus and then discussing the truths of the Kingdom of God on the way home---or inquiring of Jesus the meaning and application of what He was just speaking on.
I think this is tremendously neglected in the homes of Christ followers today. I know that growing up, we went to church every Sunday, but rarely, if ever spoke of our faith, or studied the word together or prayed at home. In polling my students, this is the norm for the majority of them as well---some may throw a meal prayer in every now and then, but rarely do I see parents raising kids in the Lord as God calls us to.
This could induce guilt---it’s just where my heart went with the passage. There is such a correlation between faith at home growing up and faith of a kid throughout high school and beyond. The majority of the kids that I have seen in ministry that continue following Jesus into their early and mid twenties had parents that were very intentional about raising them up knowing God. The correlation is not 100%, but when I typically meet someone that’s mature in their faith, they had parents that were intentional! As parents, we cannot create faith, but we can plant seeds and nurture the soil!
Parents---it’s our calling and responsibility to share the love of Christ and the truths of the story of God with our children and provide opportunities for them to grow and explore the truths of Christianity. We pray for them and with them, we set a high priority of worship, we walk through Scripture with them and teach them how to read & love the word, we communicate and live out what’s important to God in our everyday lives and we disciple our children through the ups and downs of life. We must begin with our own faith journey and then be intentional about their journey!
Were your parents intentional about raising you in the Lord? What was good and what could have been improved on? Is this a priority with your children? If you don’t have children, what’s your game plan if and when you do? I would love to hear how this passage, along with the message Sunday struck you.