Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
One of the recurring phrases in the Old Testament is ‘tell the next generation’. The people of Israel are constantly being told that they are to ‘tell the next generation’ all the things that God has done for them. This command is seen in many places, but it is especially seen in the celebration of the Passover, where the story of the Exodus from Egypt is recounted, and each prayer, each item of food, is a part of the telling and the teaching of the next generation the history of Israel.
When the next generation is not told, then the meaning and the ritual and the faith is lost. In Judges 2:6-9, we read that the people of Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua. But in Judges 2:10, we read that there arose a generation in Israel that did not know the Lord; and in Judges 2:11, we read that this generation did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.
One generation was not taught the Words that the Lord had spoken; one generation was not told the wonders that God had done in the wilderness and in bringing the people into the Promised Land, one generation was left to read about the history of Israel in books and from others; and in one generation, Israel went from being faithful to the Lord to doing what was evil in the eyes of the Lord. One generation was all it took.
But this command to tell the next generation is not just some Old Testament relic. Nor is it some foreign idea that we can just ignore today. The Church on earth is in constant danger of extinction, because all it takes is one generation to not know the Word of the Lord, to not know how important the works of God are, to not know the history; and it will all be lost.
This command to tell the next generation is given to all people, but it is most especially given to parents. Teaching the faith to children; telling children why we remember our baptisms, why we receive the Lord’s Supper, why we pray and why we go to church is primarily the job of parents. Yes, children can read about these things in books and hear about them from pastors and teachers, but the task of telling the next generation the wondrous things that God has done and continues to do today is first and foremost the job of parents.
In the Old Testament, the phrase ‘tell the next generation’, literally meant tell the next generation. There were no videos or books or materials to aid in the teaching; it was quite simply telling the children the accounts of what happened.
Now today, we have all sorts of programs and videos and books and the like to help in teaching the faith. We have built schools and developed curriculums, all for the purpose of teaching the faith to others. But it quite simply comes down to the plain facts: tell the next generation means tell the next generation. You can use videos and books and other resources, but use them together. Do devotions together, pray together, talk about your faith together, tell the next generation to tell the generation that comes after them, all that God has done for His people from the very beginning.
To help you tell the next generation, we will once again be hosting Brian Young of Creation Instruction Association. He will present on the importance of Genesis, and how crucial it is to tell the next generation all that God has done.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt