Thursday, June 30, 2022

Training Our Children (Psalm 78)

"For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children" (Psalm 78:5).

The training of our children is an important mandate established by God in the Scriptures. God chose Abraham to be a father of a mighty nation, and one of his duties was to train his children in the ways of God: “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him” (Gen. 18:18–19). This mandate from the Lord continued throughout Israel’s history and continues even now as Christians teach their children the Word of God.

Psalm 78 describes how and why parents should teach their children about the Lord. Through faithful instruction of the law and promises of God, children learn to put their trust in the Lord, to obey Him, and to remember the mighty works of God. Instruction does not mean salvation, but the blessings bestowed on children who are raised under the guidance of godly parents are manifold. Psalm 78 emphasizes the necessity of teaching the next generation the ways of the Lord. “The fathers being instructed in the doctrine of the law themselves, should recount, as it were, from the mouth of God, to their children, that they had been not only once delivered, but also gathered into one body as His church, that throughout all ages they might yield a holy and pure obedience to Him as their deliverer,” Calvin wrote.

The psalmist relates the account of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, describing the power of God in saving His people. He explains how Israel continued to turn away from God, but that time and again He brought them back to Himself. Such truths transcend every age. Every child needs to know the mighty works of God, His faithfulness to His people, and the rebellion that resides in the hearts of mankind. Let us then not hide these truths from our children, but “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done … Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands” (Psalm 78:5, 7 NIV).

If you have children, strive to instruct them daily in the ways of God. If you do not have children, help the church direct the next generation in God’s truth. This a responsibility of everyone in the church. How can grandparents play an important role? Strive to make this mandate a part of your life.