Thursday, February 14, 2008

God's Purpose for Family

He (God) established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Psalms 78:5-8).

This was something from the devotional book Courtney and I read together, and at first I disliked the exegesis of the passage and as time has gone on, it has started to make more sense. So, this passage is something that I believe should be seen as at least part of God's plan in family. Remember that God is a Jealous God who visits the iniquity of the father to the third and fourth generation (Ex. 20:5) at least until Ezekiel (chp. 18) became a prophet. So how does this psalm apply to us, if each man is credited his own works and not the works of his father? Simply stated it teaches us the importance of raising up our Children in the Lord. Six times in the book of Proverbs, that a father should not spare the Rod from his son; reason are things like so he will grow in wisdom, and not bring shame to his mother. We must teach our children discipline, this is clear.
Notice what the Psalmist is saying here, that we teach the law of God to our children so that they will not be like there fathers, stubborn and rebellious, but so that they will have a heart that is faithful to God. Also, there is a phrase in there that is worth bringing out, "so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God." We teach our children the not only the law of God, but we are to tell him the great things he has done, for us in the past. Anyone who has read the OT, (Kings and Chronicles specifically) can see that what a father did for his son, had a great effect on how he ruled the nation. Whether or not he was wicked in the sight of God depended on his memory of what God had done for his forefathers.
This seems logical, in that, if a man doesn't know about God's love for him, he certainly won't love God ( 1 John 4:19). I guess the point is that if our Children are not taught wisdom, are not taught and modeled the love of Christ, are not taught the laws of God, what else can we expect from them other then to wallow in their own depravity?

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