Telling Our Children and Grandchildren About God…
(And What He has Done in Our Life!)

By Pastor Dan Kennedy
© September 9, 2012

Christ instructed His disciples…and us, His 21st Century disciples, to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) – to go and make disciples for Jesus Christ.  There is often no greater opportunity for any of us than the opportunity to teach and encourage our own children and grandchildren toward God.

In our review of key Psalms, today we will be studying Psalm 78, which in its verses gives a reason for the continuance of faith in God through the generations.

Psalm 78 brings the actions of those words to be very practical in daily life.  We are to share with our children and grandchildren the history of God’s work in the world and His work throughout our own personal lives.

I believe, among many other things, Psalm 78 directs our attention toward four basic questions about God that human beings struggle with:

•	Can God deliver me…no matter what my circumstances may be?
•	Can God always provide for me?
•	Can God give me Peace (especially when there are storms all around me)?
•	Can God lead me safely home?

The Psalmist begins with the most fundamental form of teaching – to our children.

Psalm 78
A maskil of Asaph. 
1	O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 
2	I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old— 
3	what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. 
4	We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation 
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. 
5	He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, 
which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, 

6	so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, 
and they in turn would tell their children. 
7	Then they would put their trust (hope) in God and would not forget his deeds 
but would keep his commands. 
8	They would not be like their forefathers— a stubborn and rebellious generation, 
whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him. 

•	That the next generation would know God’s Laws, even the children yet to be born. 
•	And they in turn would tell their children. 
•	Then they would put their trust and hope in God.

How important is it for us to train our children to hope in God?
We can begin by telling our children stories of how God has worked in our lives!

•	That they would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 
•	They would not be like their forefathers— a stubborn and rebellious generation, 
•	Whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him. 

This Psalm follows closely with Deuteronomy to spell out our responsibility to our children very clearly:

Deuteronomy 6:1–9 
6	These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. 
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 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.

Psalm 78 
Do Not Turn Back in Battle if God is your Refuge
This is a theme throughout the chapter.  

9	The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, 
turned back on the day of battle; 
10	they did not keep God’s covenant 
and refused to live by his law. 
11	They forgot what [God] had done, 
the wonders he had shown them. 

•	When you are faced with uncertainty or very difficult circumstances – do not turn your back on God.  Seek Him and Trust Him.  Walk all the way through the situation with God.  Some of us may have been going through situations for a long time.  Keep walking….  If you can’t “walk”, then “just stand”.

Ephesians 6:13
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

•	When you are in need of provision, do not turn back in the battle, trust in God to guide you, provide for you, and give you His wisdom…to open doors and to shut doors…to give you opportunities and to take away the wrong opportunities.

James 1:5–8
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a 

wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

•	When you are in need of peace of heart, go to God’s Word, trust in Him to give you peace and comfort…no matter what is going on or who is doing or saying what.  Give God the circumstance, if there are people involved, give the people involved to God – put everything directly into His Hands.   Let Him handle the circumstance and your heart.  

If you cannot sleep, get up and pour through the Psalms.  Cry out to God.
Fast and pray.  Seek God’s Face.  Come to rest in God’s peace.

Do not leave the Battle line when you are dressed for battle and have the Presence of God and His Word to comfort and guide you!
Do not go home and do something destructive.  That is what the children of the world do.  This is what God’s enemy wants you to do!  You are empowered by the Spirit of God to be sustained…to “stand up” under the pressure of battle.

1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Let your Children see the reality that you trust God.
You can quote all the Scripture Verses to someone else when they are going through a huge battle…but what about you?  What do your children see, and what does your spouse see, when you go through a battle?

From where do you sustain yourself in trial, where do you get your comfort?

The Fog of War
In Battle there is a Fog of War…a Fear of Death…the Very Real Sense of Possible Defeat.  You see the size of the enemy forces and you are emotionally stressed.  You don’t like how things look or feel…so even though you are prepared for battle, you withdraw and go home.  You have forgotten what God has done in the past…even in impossible odds.

When your Children or Grandchildren go through battles, pray for God’s intervention in the lives of wayward children or grandchildren.  “Hold up their hands” in prayer (Exodus 17:8-13).

No one will intercede in prayer like a parent. (That is the reminder of the bulletin insert.)

Any particular day in our lives we might face a battle – emotionally, physically, spiritually, practically or relationally.  When we forget what God has done for us, we have a very real temptation to make a wrong decision.  Let us be quick to remember.

Psalm 78
12 He did miracles in the sight of their fathers 
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. 
13 He divided the sea and led them through; 
he made the water stand firm like a wall. 
14 He guided them with the cloud by day 
and with light from the fire all night. 
15 He split the rocks in the desert 
and gave them water as abundant as the seas; 
16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag 
and made water flow down like rivers. 

Forgetting is an issue, but another issue is when one challenges God…putting God to our own test.  
“Is God big enough to Provide for me?”

God’s anger rises against those whose egos challenge His Throne.
God has time on His side!

17 But they continued to sin against him, 
rebelling in the desert against the Most High. 
18 They willfully put God to the test 
by demanding the food they craved. 
19 They spoke against God, saying, 
“Can God spread a table in the desert? 
20 When he struck the rock, water gushed out, 
and streams flowed abundantly. 
But can he also give us food? 
Can he supply meat for his people?” 
21 When the Lord heard them, he was very angry; 
his fire broke out against Jacob, 
and his wrath rose against Israel, 
22 for they did not believe in God 
or trust in his deliverance. 
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above 
and opened the doors of the heavens; 
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat, 
he gave them the grain of heaven. 
25 Men ate the bread of angels; 
he sent them all the food they could eat. 
26 He let loose the east wind from the heavens 
and led forth the south wind by his power. 
27 He rained meat down on them like dust, 
flying birds like sand on the seashore. 
28 He made them come down inside their camp, 
all around their tents. 
29 They ate till they had more than enough, 
for he had given them what they craved. 
30 But before they turned from the food they craved, 
even while it was still in their mouths, 
31 God’s anger rose against them; 
he put to death the sturdiest among them, 
cutting down the young men of Israel. 
God remembers that we are but dust and thankfully He often restrains His anger.

32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; 
in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. 
33 So he ended their days in futility 
and their years in terror. 
34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; 
they eagerly turned to him again. 
35 They remembered that God was their Rock, 
that God Most High was their Redeemer. 
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths, 
lying to him with their tongues; 
37 their hearts were not loyal to him, 
they were not faithful to his covenant. 
38 Yet he was merciful; 
he forgave their iniquities 
and did not destroy them. 
Time after time he restrained his anger 
and did not stir up his full wrath. 
39 He remembered that they were but flesh, 
a passing breeze that does not return. 
40 How often they rebelled against him in the desert 
and grieved him in the wasteland! 
41 Again and again they put God to the test; 
they vexed the Holy One of Israel. 
42 They did not remember his power— 
[Do we remember what God has done for us?]
the day he redeemed them from the oppressor, 
43 the day he displayed his miraculous signs in Egypt, 
his wonders in the region of Zoan. 
44 He turned their rivers to blood; 
they could not drink from their streams. 
45 He sent swarms of flies that devoured them, 
and frogs that devastated them. 
46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper, 
their produce to the locust. 
47 He destroyed their vines with hail 
and their sycamore-figs with sleet. 
48 He gave over their cattle to the hail, 
their livestock to bolts of lightning. 
49 He unleashed against them his hot anger, 
his wrath, indignation and hostility— 
a band of destroying angels. 
50 He prepared a path for his anger; 
he did not spare them from death 
but gave them over to the plague. 
51 He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, 
the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham. 
52 But he brought his people out like a flock; 
he led them like sheep through the desert. 
53 He guided them safely, so they were unafraid; 
but the sea engulfed their enemies. 
54 Thus he brought them to the border of his holy land, 
to the hill country his right hand had taken. 
55 He drove out nations before them 
and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance; 
he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes. 
The Judgment of God follows our willing plunge back into disobedience against God.

56 But they put God to the test 
and rebelled against the Most High; 
they did not keep his statutes. 
57 Like their fathers they were disloyal and faithless, 
as unreliable as a faulty bow. 
58 They angered him with their high places; 
they aroused his jealousy with their idols. 
59 When God heard them, he was very angry; 
he rejected Israel completely. 
60 He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh, 
the tent he had set up among men. 
61 He sent the ark of his might into captivity, 
his splendor into the hands of the enemy. 
62 He gave his people over to the sword; 
he was very angry with his inheritance. 
63 Fire consumed their young men, 
and their maidens had no wedding songs; 
64 their priests were put to the sword, 
and their widows could not weep. 
There will be a day when God’s Power will prevail.

•	Can you trust God to lead you safely home?

65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, 
as a man wakes from the stupor of wine. 
66 He beat back his enemies; 
he put them to everlasting shame. 
67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, 
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim; 
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, 
Mount Zion, which he loved. 
69 He built his sanctuary like the heights, 
like the earth that he established forever. 
70 He chose David his servant 
and took him from the sheep pens; 
71 from tending the sheep he brought him 
to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, 
of Israel his inheritance. 
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; 
with skillful hands he led them.
What has God done in your life that you can share with your Children and Grandchildren?  Would you write it down?  Would you tell them stories of how God helped you when there was no other help?


•	Can we remember what God has done for us?  Can that remembrance not only give us strength during our toughest trials, will it teach our children through example that God is trustworthy and that they can rely on Him too when they face trials.  Can we tell stories of God’s deliverance to our Children?  God can deliver me and He can deliver our Children…no matter what our circumstances may be!

•	Can God always provide for me?  Do our Children hear stories of God’s provision for us, and can they trust God for their own provision?

•	Can we rest in God’s Peace in the middle of the storms of life swirling around us?  Can we tell stories of God’s sustaining peace for their emotional health?

•	Can God lead me safely home?  Do I trust God’s Word as being an accurate assessment of how to obtain eternal life?  Do I fully rely on God, through His Son, Jesus Christ for my eternal salvation?

o	How important is it for us to train our children to hope in God?
o	How important is it for our children to see our example of hoping in God?
o	How important is it for us to hope in God?

The whole world around us calls us a fool to hope in God.

Our children observe the whole world around themselves calling them a fool to put their hope in God.

How important is it, for us and for our children, to put our hope in God?

We can begin by relaying stories of faith 

o	Scriptural stories of faith
o	Personal stories of faith
o	Stories of faith from other believers – friends and family…

May Psalm 78 give you healthy direction in the decisions you are making and the lives that you influence…for good, and for God!

“So the next generation would know them, 
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.

“Then they would put their trust (hope) in God 
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.

“They would not be like their forefathers— 
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God, 
whose spirits were not faithful to Him.”

Psalm 78:6-8