What are we Telling the Next Generation?
Psa. 48:12 ¶ Walk about Zion, go all around it,
count its towers,
Psa. 48:13 consider well its ramparts;
go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
Psa. 48:14 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.
This Psalm of praise is a reminder of the faithfulness of God. Sadly God’s people have a tendency to slip into unfaithfulness and this Psalm serves as a praise and reminder to God’s people. In this case it is important to physically walk around the city of God, and as you point out the physical features of the city, remind the next generation of the faithfulness of God. It is a reinforcement of the Shema as well — hear Oh Israel this is our God! This is our one God and he is ours forever and ever. This is the God who will guide his people and it is absolutely vital that this message be passed from generation to generation.
One of the things that I love about the Jewish traditions is the fact that all the senses are used in learning about God. There is role-play involved in the Passover feast as we reenact some of the activities of the departure from Egypt. The feast of the Tabernacles is a time when everyone basically goes camping as a reminder of the people spending forty years wandering in the wilderness. There is an actual acting out of history so that it is passed from one generation to the next. Is there something that Christianity could learn from this when it comes to passing on the faith?
What are we telling the next generation about our faith in Jesus Christ? The response is more than likely determined by the culture in which you are found. In some cultures we are doing a better job of passing on the faith than we are in others. In my current culture there is a deep concern over an increasing disinterest in things religious. We are faced with an increasing number of people who would consider themselves as having no religious affiliation whatsoever — the rise of the “nones.” It appears that we are losing ground when it comes to passing on the faith to the next generation.
It’s not that the next generation is not spiritual, for they are seeking after spiritual things, just not in the church. As I walked through my neighborhood on Saturday I was amazed at all the signs of spirituality around me. In my community there seems to be a great attraction toward Eastern spirituality. I was amazed at how many stores sold items related to Hinduism and one store had a giant “Namaste” painted on their window.
Unless we take the next generation and walk them around and show them the hand of God at work in this world, they will not get it. We must help them to see the “towers and the ramparts” which have been built by God. They must be able to walk through the “citadels” and be in awe of the power and glory of God. This is not a tour of beautiful church buildings! This is a tour of the testimonies of God at work in the world today.
We were privileged to raise our girls in an environment where we were extremely dependent upon God and they watched as he moved and transformed the lives of people all around us. They joined together with us in prayer for God to provide — and he did. They witnessed his power and strength to blind the eyes of the corrupt officials so that God’s work could be accomplished.
If you have no such tour in which you may take the next generation, then maybe we have found the problem. What the next generation “hears” is not so much the words but what they have seen and experienced. May God help us to seek him, his face, and his intervention in the world and in our lives every day so that the next generation will pass on the truth that God is our guide forever.
Lord, may you be seen in and through me. Amen.