Merle telling the Christmas story to children and adults in our home in Sarajevo.
At the beginning of Psalm 78, Asaph spends a number of verses explaining that it is our responsibility to rise and tell our children so that they will remember the Lord and the wonderful works He has performed. Asaph recounts how the faithful and compassionate Lord provided and guided, but the people did not believe His wonderful works (v. 32). He instructs us in verse 4 to tell a future generation the praises of the Lord and his might, as well as His mighty works, so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God's works! (I added all those underlines for emphasis.)
While reading Psalm 78 by Asaph, as he recounts Israel's history, I was struck with the thought that God rejected the normal line-up of the eldest to dispense blessing in verse 67, which is so commonly done worldwide even today, especially outside the US. Joseph, the favored of Israel/Jacob's sons was also rejected, and God also did not chose Ephraim who was chosen to be greater of the "adopted" sons of Joseph, though he himself was even the younger son. The corrupted line of Judah was instead chosen to be the line of the Messiah, through the shepherd David, who tended the smelly sheep, to be the King of Israel! That is interesting and causes me to ponder why the one chosen was chosen. And why were we chosen to know the Lord, and have an internal desire to follow him?
I know that each person has the responsibility to respond to the Lord, and our children or grandchildren can rebel and go their own way, as the prodigal was allowed to do, but our part is to teach, to tell, to praise, and proclaim the Lord and his mighty works in our own lives. After all, the seed grows while we sleep and we don't know how (Mark 4:27). But in verse 34-35, Asaph explains how some "began to seek Him; they repented and searched for God. They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God, their Redeemer." They had to be told something previously to be able to "remember."
I recall my mother, Grandma Crick, telling me about the day that she and Dad began to tithe on their income to give to the Lord's work through their church. She was greatly impressed that though the roasted chicken to feed a hungry family of 7 for Sunday dinner was typically consumed, this time there was enough left over for another meal! She saw this as God's provision in blessing them in return, just like the Lord's challenge in Malachi 3:8-12 describes:
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty." NIV
And I saw the evidence in their lives. The Lord always provided for them, to the end, though they were never wealthy or had more than what was needed.
I remember Grandma Sally telling me about the Lord prompting her to check on her baby who had rolled over and over, and wrapped himself up so tightly he may have suffocated without being rescued just when she did. She believed this nudge was from the Lord and she was so grateful.
Just as these examples encourage me to tithe and trust God to meet my needs, and listen to the prompting of the Lord, we should all keep sharing our stories of the Lord and his mighty works in your life and mine. Write your own stories down for your children's children, "so that a future generation - children yet to be born - might know!" (v. 6)