A Look at Psalm 78, Part 2: The Testimony

A Look at Psalm 78, Part 2: The Testimony

In part 1 of this series, we pointed out that Psalm 78 calls God’s people to pass the “testimony” of God from one generation to the next: “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children” (verse 5). Israel would have understood Asaph’s reference to the “testimony” as the sum of God’s Word to His people. It included not only the Ten Commandments, which were often referred to as the “tablets of the testimony,” but the whole law, which was the standard that the Lord set for His people. This testimony also included the record of God’s deeds—and not a mere record of God’s acts and chronology of events. 

Asaph has something even greater in mind, which is captured with the word “glorious” in verse 4. The emphasis that this word brings to the passage is what inspired the founding of Truth78 and continues to ignite our zeal for the discipleship of the next generation. 

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done (v. 4).

The testimony that we are to give to the next generation is the record of God’s glorious deeds or, as the NIV translates it, His “praiseworthy” deeds. For decades, children growing up in the church have heard the great stories of the Bible. For generations, parents and teachers faithfully told these stories about the deeds of the LORD to their children and their children after them. But what children often missed was the opportunity to hear of these deeds in a way that leads them to worship. This conviction is expressed in Truth78’s seventh commitment: “Inspire Worship of God, for the Glory of God.”

In the book Zealous: 7 Commitments for the Discipleship of the Next Generation, I describe the eye-opening experiences that God used to fuel a passion for God-glorifying, Christ-exalting instruction of children that led to the founding of Truth78 and has formed the substance of our mission for nearly 25 years,

Week after week, as my eyes were being opened [to]… God’s passion for His glory, and for making it known to the coming generations, my eyes were also being opened to see that we were in fact, unwittingly hiding the glory of God from our children, and thus robbing Him of the glory that He deserved. 

We were missing two obvious implications of Psalm 78:4. First, the deeds we are to tell are the LORD'S deeds, and yet we were telling the stories in a way that made it look like the deeds belonged to someone else: “Esther saved her people,” “Joshua defeated Jericho,” “Peter healed the lame man,” “Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh's dream,” etc. 

The second obvious implication was that if these deeds of the LORD are glorious, then the glory of the LORD is what should be magnified when telling the stories. And if the glory of the LORD is magnified, then the response of those who hear should be worship (87-88).

We must not hide the glory of God from our children “but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”

The reason it matters to God that our children hear and remember God’s works is so that they will glorify Him whose way is always perfect, whose word always proves true, and whose steadfast love and faithfulness endures to all generations. The reason it matters that our children hear of God’s glorious deeds as truly glorious is so that they will put their confidence and set their hope in God in God alone—which takes us to part 3 of our series.

Until then, keep in mind that the eyes of our children are more likely to be opened to the glory of God and his praiseworthy deeds if our eyes are open and our hearts are gripped with zeal for the glory of God. This is why we were created (Isaiah 43:7). So whether we eat or drink, instruct our children, or whatever we do, let us do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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