The overarching theme of Psalm 78 and God’s ultimate praiseworthy deed is
His stubborn compassion for stubborn people.
Derek Kidner, one of my favorite OT commentators,
“If Israel’s record is her shame, God’s persistent goodness emerges as her hope
and ours for the unfinished story.”
The Bible is a record of our family history.
It ought to foster both humility and hope in us.
It forces us to honestly assess and remember
how incorrigibly rebellious and stubborn we’ve been
as well as how merciful God has been to return again and again
in compassion to deliver us.
This is one primary way we celebrate the gospel with others,
especially our kids.
We humble ourselves and admit when we’re wrong.
The most perilous moment in a relay race centers on the exchange of the baton from one runner to the next. This fitting metaphor perfectly describes parenting our children.
For a Christian parent, there is nothing more important than passing the baton of faith and teaching our children the praiseworthy works and powerful word of God.
Family worship/devotions doesn’t have to be a herculean task. You can sing a verse or two of a hymn or praise song, read a short portion of Scripture, draw out one simple point of application, ask a question from a children’s catechism and have one or two kids pray. You can do this in five to ten minutes right before or after a meal. For most of us, it will be either breakfast or supper. I would urge you, like Bill Murray in “What About Bob?,” to take baby steps. You might try doing this once or twice a week if you’ve never done this with your family before.
One thing is for sure: A wise son makes a glad father, and it is in hearing and heeding the word of God that will make a son wise.
Click the link below for a brief guide you can download that will take you through Psalm 78:1-9 with some questions on Family Discipleship.
Passing the Baton of Faith
Psalm 78 offers a simple guideline for all of us moms and dads in nurturing in our children a love for the Lord.
I. Model the truths of God’s Word (Believe and model the gospel.)
- An Old Testament Model for Contemporary Moms and Dads
- David shepherded and guided the people of God (Psalm 78:72) HOW?
- According to the integrity of his heart. תֹּם
- Webster’s tells us integrity means “an unimpaired condition.” It means to be sound. The Hebrew word for integrity, tom, also means to be complete or solid.So he shepherded them according to the integrity [tom] of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands. (Psalm 78:72)
“Integrity is completeness or soundness. You have integrity if you complete a job even when no one is looking. You have integrity if you keep your word even when no one checks up on you. You have integrity if you keep your promises. Integrity means the absence of duplicity and is the opposite of hypocrisy. If you are a person of integrity, you will do what you say. What you declare, you will do your best to be. Integrity also includes financial accountability, personal reliability, and private purity. A person with integrity does not manipulate others. He or she is not prone to arrogance or self-praise. Integrity even invites constructive and necessary criticism because it applauds accountability. It’s sound. It’s solid. It’s complete.” (Chuck Swindoll)
- With wisdom (skillful hands).
II. Transfer the truths of God’s Word (Communicate the gospel – Psalm 78:1-8) What specifically are we to intentionally share with our kids?
The praises of the Lord (v.4).
His strength (v.4)
His wondrous works (v.4, 12-72)
- God’s deliverance from bondage – the exodus (12-16).
- God’s provision of refreshing water from the rock and bread from heaven – manna in the wilderness (17-29).
- God’s leading and protection of His people (43-53).
His word (the Law) (v.5) – He is faithful to fulfill His covenant promise
Who has the primary responsibility to transfer these things? DADS
- (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 — These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.)
And to whom are we to transfer them?
- Our children (v.5)
- The generation to come (v.6)
- Children yet to be born (v.6)
What is our purpose in doing this?
- That our children might be equipped to disciple their children (Arise and tell… (v.6).
That they might develop the capacity to trust God (v.7). In what/whom are they to put their confidence? Question: By your lifestyle and choices, in what other things might your children put their confidence? Education, money, material possessions, or appearance?
- That they might make worship of God their ultimate priority. The Israelites aroused God’s jealousy with their graven images (78:58).
- That they might not be like their forefathers (v.8).
- That they may not forget His works (v.7) What was the major problem with the people of Israel? And what’s our biggest problem?
Spiritual Amnesia: They and we have a short memory (Deut.4:9).
What are some of the characteristics that we and our children are called to avoid or set aside?
- Stubbornness and rebelliousness (v.8a)
- Lack of attention to heart issues (v.8b)
- Lack of faithfulness in keeping covenant with God (v.8c)