Psalm 78:5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, 6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, 8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Psalm 78 is a personal favorite of mine. It encouraged me as a father raising young daughters years ago, and it encourages me today, a grandfather watching my daughters and their husbands shepherd their own sons and daughters. God makes plain in this song that he intends that one generation would come into the living knowledge of him through the witness of the previous generation, as that previous generation of faith declared God’s saving acts and covenant to their own children. Then, by God’s grace, those children would grow up in faith and declare the saving acts of God and God’s covenant to the next generation. One generation to the next declaring God’s faithfulness and living in faithfulness (imperfectly to be sure) to God. Each generation a link in a chain of life and faithfulness. Each one knowing and praising the God of life; the God of faithfulness.
This song gives me confidence when praying for my daughters and son-in-laws and grandchildren. I pray God’s good will back to him from this song.
“Father, you saved us in our generation, not for our sakes only, but for our children, and for their children; that one generation to the next might praise you, might live in the light of your countenance, might know you through faith.”
God’s purpose and plan is inter-generational faith and life. I can count on that. I take solace in that. I pray that.
Were I to see a wayward child, or grandchild, or great-grandchild (in all likelihood, that being the limit of my lifetime) I can confidently pray back to God his own expressed desire, to extend covenant and faith and life to that wayward child, just as he brought me into the benefits of his covenant through faith in Jesus Christ.
I’m not unique. I’m a link in the chain of God’s faithfulness. God didn’t save me merely to save me, but to save my children, and their children. I’m not saying God is a respecter of persons, that now he must save my future generations because they’re mine. But, he saved me, at least in part because he intended to use me as a link in his chain of redemption, that future generations, hearing of his goodness from the previous generation, might put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God.
I have great hopes for my daughters and their husbands in their generation. And I have great hopes for their children in their generation, and their grandchildren in theirs, should Christ tarry from calling his own home and from returning to this sin weary, death weary earth. Those hopes aren’t based so much on the faithfulness of the children of each successive generation, but on the God who loves to save, one generation to the next.
Psalm 145:1 I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.