The Passing Down of Values
God’s Instructive Command Concerning Communicating to the Next Generation
Communication of historical events and family values is the glue that works to hold a family, generation, and culture intact.
When cracks begin to develop in a particular society, it comes many times as a result of the breakdown in the passing down of values, principles, and history from one generation to another.
Cooperation within certain people groups takes place because they share the same language, same values, and same vision.
When people within a certain group have different languages, cultural values, and diverse visions of their future, division and other destructive events begin to happen.
Psalm 78 enlightens us as to the importance of passing down the knowledge of historical events and the values and standards of a society.
Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
We are instructed to yield our hearing to a particular instruction that the Psalmist is about to impart.
I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
The Psalmist instructs us in the art of communication.
The Psalmist is about to instruct us in the art of communication to the next generation. He is letting us know that he also received this type of communication from his forefathers.
We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
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.
The Psalmist is revealing how the LORD began this type of instructive communication Himself.
The LORD Himself gave us an example.
The LORD established a testimony in Jacob. In other words, He set an example.
God’s dealings with Jacob and his family reveals God’s pattern in dealing with those whom He loves.
Then the Lord appointed a law. This was an instructional command to be followed.
God appointed the law or instruction that was commanded to our forefathers that they should make these things known to their children. This type of instruction was to be perpetual, continuously handed down to the next generation.
The purpose for this was threefold:
- To show the next generation the praises of the LORD
- To show God’s strength and power
- To show the wonderful works that God had done
That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.
This was to be a generational task of revealing God’s threefold purpose in communicative instruction. Fathers are commanded to share this knowledge with their children. Those children were to continue in this pattern of sharing with their children. And so the pattern was to continue down through the ages.
That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
The effects of following God’s instructive pattern is evident.
Following in this pattern would yield several results. The effect is seen in the above verses. That the generation to come might:
- Set their hope in God
- Would not forget God’s works
- Would keep God’s commandments
- Would not follow those whose hearts were not right with God
As we share with our children what God has done for us in the past, the telling of stories from our forefathers as to how our native countries came about, the opportunities that have been afforded us because of God’s intervention, and our thankfulness for His provisions even in the most difficult of trials, our children will give ear and desire to follow the God that is truly worthy of all our praises.
When we fail to follow God’s example in communicating the truths of history, we deprive the following generation of the knowledge of God and his intervening in the affairs of men. We then reap the results of a stubborn and rebellious generation that will not set its heart aright and follow God’s commandments.
Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark
A quick look through the Scriptures reveals the many times that the children of Israel were reminded of God’s deliverance from their captivity in Egypt, the mighty miracles performed at the Red Sea and the Jordan River, as well as many other such events. Are you telling your own stories of God’s deliverance from your captivity in sin and the many miracles that God has performed for you and those around you?
Our forefathers wisely placed the Ten Commandments in visible areas in each school classroom. Does your classroom have these commandments visibly placed?
Do the Sunday School classes where you attend have the Ten Commandments visibly placed?
What are you doing to continue the instructive pattern of communication that our Lord gave to us?
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Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. A preview of this title is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. Ask for it at your local Christian retailer.