Friday, March 9, 2012

From Generation to Generation





Scripture

“Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 12:28 NASB)

Observation

The Lord gave Moses the Law which the people were to follow. He was explicit in his instructions regarding all manner of things, including their daily lives. God knows the need for humans to have a keen understanding of how to live their lives each and every single day. If they would obey the law of God, their daily lives would go well. And not only would it go well for them, but also for their children who would come after them.

Application

I must confess that I am a bit concerned about what is happening to the very fiber of society. I'm wondering whether (at least in the US) we have come to a place where we no longer have any rules for daily life and there will be nothing left to hand down to the next generation. I am amazed that there seems to be a complete lack of rules/discipline/boundaries for family life. It seems as if "anything goes." Maybe it's because so many homes are either single-parent homes, or homes where there are two working parents. In many of these situations it appears that previous structure within a home is lost.

On a very practical level it appears that there are no regular mealtimes for children. I can guarantee you during the time of Moses there was this kind of structure and they followed the rules regarding diet as well. Today, you find parents saying, "My child doesn't eat that." Usually this is said in regard to healthy, nutritious food. Or, what about the fact that often there is no kitchen or dining room table. Where are they eating? I'm assuming in front of the television? Is there any time for conversation? Is there any time to learn the discipline of eating together with others around a dinner table? Is there a discipline of waiting for others before we begin to eat -- or even of praying?

And what about the simple care of the home? One of the more popular shows on television today is "Hoarders." Here we find people who seem to be addicted to "stuff" to the extreme. Often one can barely step into the home because there is so much "junk" to be found everywhere. Now, not everyone lives to the extreme of "hoarders" but it does seem that we have such large houses with so much stuff that we have trouble managing it all. As a Pastor, it was extremely rare to ever be invited into anyone's home anymore. Why? I'm guessing for a couple of reasons. One, the house was a mess and two, we have lost the art of hospitality. That's why we go out to eat all the time. In the not to distant past our local church used to go out on Wednesday nights to the homes of the new people who had attended on Sunday. They wanted to drop by and bring them a little gift. We had to stop that ministry because people don't even want to open the front door. They'll pretend they're not at home. Is it because they don't want a church person to visit, or because their home is such a mess that they don't want anyone to see? I've actually stepped into a few of those "hoarders" homes, and it's painful.

Children coming from a home where there is more structure and discipline will do better in school. Not only will they do better, often their work is light years ahead of other students. We keep complaining about the quality of our schools, when it is the quality of our homes which makes such a major difference.

So, back to the practical question of the day -- what are we passing along from generation to generation? God had given Moses practical instructions on the daily lives of his people. He promised them that if they would follow his commandments and his laws that it would go well for them, and if it went well for them, it would for the next generation coming after them. I'll be honest -- I'm afraid of what the next generation looks like here in America. It's not just about knowing how to cook, eat and clean -- those are just markers of a society which is losing self-discipline. I'm going to guess that as you look below these surface items you also find homes in which there is little Bible reading or personal devotional life; where children are allowed to decide if they "feel" like going to church today or not.

God gave us the Law for a purpose. Maybe we ought to study the word and allow it to be our guide, even in the simple every-day aspects of life. Not only will this be a testimony to the world around you, but it will be transformational. It appears that many today are looking for the solutions to societies ills -- to what is being handed on to the children. The solution, for many, is found at home, in a family that takes the Law of God seriously and applies it to their lives. Then, we can believe the promise given to Moses that it will go well with you and the generations to come.

Prayer

Lord, help me to be a faithful follower of the law each and every single day of my life. Amen.

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