Let our children have hope in the Lord
Psalms 78 speaks about God’s command to the people of Israel to remember to teach their children in the Word of God. That they may put their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments (Ps 78:7). How do we enable our children to put their hopes in God?
1. We must ourselves first have hope in God
Parents are the role models for their children; children watch and learn from their parents. That is why in order for us to have our children put their hopes in God, we need to first have genuine hope in God. They need to see that their parents really love God, and really hope and trust in God even in times of difficulties and problems.
The original Hebrew word for “hope” or confidence” in Psalms 78:7 means “stupidity”. It means to foolishly trust God, even if in the eyes of the world it looks stupid. What we say to our children will not change them but what we do will. We who have inherited the living hope in our lives ( 1 Pet 1:3), we need to show our children that God is alive in our lives even in hard times, unless we do that, they will not experience that living hope.
The following verses in Psalms 146:5, 144:15, 1 John 3:3 tell us that those who have hope in God will be blessed, will be purified and their sins will be taken away.
2. We need to have our children remember
As fathers and elders, we need to teach our children to remember (Deut 32:7). Whether we remember or not, might decide whether we will be blessed or cursed. What do they need to remember?
The entire chapter of Psalms 78 reiterates the teaching of the Word of God to our children. God continues to say let the generations to come be aware of and know what God has done. It emphasises how God did all kinds of wonders to save the Israelites in the wilderness, but the Israelites forgot. The chapter ends with David, who remembers to seek God and who remembers the promise and covenant with God. That is why Acts 13:22 tells us that David is a man after God’s own heart.
God is good at remembering; He counts and remembers everything. But one thing He will not remember, that is our sins. There are ten instances in Psalms 78 when the Israelites didn’t remember God and rebelled against Him (verses 11, 17, 18, 19, 30, 32, 36, 40, 41, 56, 57, 58). Even when the Israelites didn’t repent, He tells them throughout Psalms 78 of the sixteen things He did for them (verses 13, 14, 15, 24, 27, 31, 34, 44, 45, 46, 47, 50, 51, 52, 55, 61).
Psalms 95:10-11 and Hosea 4:6 say if you do not remember, you will not enter into God’s Sabbath rest, which is the kingdom of heaven. If we want our children to be well, to be successful and go to heaven, we have to continue to teach them (Joel 1:3).
There has to be evidence that God is alive in our lives. Hosea 4:6 says if you forget My Word, I will forget your children. Here are ten tips from an article which we can take reference from in regards to raising our children in faith:
(1) Put Christ first in your life – your children will also learn to put Christ first in their life.
(2) Model what a Christian should look like – your children must be able to say my parents are good Christian exemplars.
(3) Make family a priority in faith – make sure your family is in faith.
(4) Teach your children the Bible and about God – we have to teach them how God is alive in our own lives.
(5) Make sure you are connected to a church and teach them serving the Church is serving Christ.
(6) Teach them to enjoy serving God.
(7) Encourage them to have Godly influences – their friends and environment.
(8) Pray regularly with and for them – pray out loud in their hearing, together, holding hands. That prayer will never be wasted.
(9) Serve others – go help the poor and serve others, along with them. So that they will learn the great rewards experienced by helping others.
(10) Share your faith around them – show them how your life is about sharing and proclaiming the Word of God.
~ Reverend Samuel Kim, Senior Pastor of Zion Church Singapore ~