Psalm 78:2, “I will open my mouth in a parable, I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done.” I was thinking of our responsibility as the present generation, but it doesn’t terminate with us. The things that God has told us should be preserved in our own lives and commended to others. God blessed Abraham so that, through him, blessing might go out to others. It spoke to me how much the home life is important in the sight of God. A few years ago, the United Nations had the International Year of the Family. In the family of God, it should always be an International Year of the Family.
“In the home life, His approval makes poor cot a palace fair.” It doesn’t matter how humble the home is if God’s presence is there. That hymn was written by an old worker [Tom Turner, the old overseer] in Queensland who took me into the work in 1955, and it is a beautiful hymn because it concentrates on what we can be in the home life. A family that prays together will stay together. I had a companion once who said, “We go into a place, give out invitations for gospel meetings. We might have six weeks of meetings and then move on, and the children of the friends will be in those meetings, but really, the mission is worked in the home.” There is no substitute for that.
Acts 2:40, “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this untoward generation.’” Or, “Save yourselves from a generation that is not towards God.” We live in a time when people are not Godly. Noah was perfect in his generation and he walked with God; he was perfect in his obedience and his faith, and we should have that perfection in our lives, too, so that the generations following might be able to understand how vital it is for us to walk with God and have His approval.
Psalm 78:6, “That the generation to come might know them.” Know what? Know the Truth of God, know His words and be familiar with what is written. Children are like cameras, taking pictures all the time, observing what we put first in our lives as elders amongst them. They know when we are taking shortcuts and they know also when we are honest.
A few years ago, a mother was told by her doctor that she needed total bed rest for a time. She said to her little girl, “You can stay home with me while your father and brother go to the meeting.” But the little girl said, “I want to go to the meeting so I can sing, and God can hear me and take me to Heaven.” She couldn’t even read, but I am sure it was the faith of her parents that made her say those words. Parents have so much to put before their children. Another little girl asked her mother how she could serve God, and her mother said, “Just do what Jesus said.” She said, “Well, I can’t read, so I can just do what you do.” Children are like the cameras that used film, where the film would be developed later. It is later on that children’s character will be developed and on display.
I met a mother in South Africa who was concerned about bringing up her children and how to make them respect the meetings. She said, “I am all new to this.” The older sister said, “Let your children see you reading and praying; they will get respect if you do that daily, and when it comes to the meetings, they will have some respect.” Another person asked a worker when to begin to discipline his child and the worker said, “Twenty years before he is born.” You know what that means, that discipline must first be in our own lives. Moses gave lovely instructions to the people.
Deuteronomy is a going over of all they had learned before, and repetition is a good teacher. Deuteronomy 5:29, “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever.” I noticed a verse in I Chronicles 6:33 also that tells about some people, “And these are they that waited with their children.” I like that. A few years ago in India, a couple made their choice. They had been worldly people but when they decided, they included their children in their sacrifice. One boy said to his parents, “It is all right for you to stop going to the cinema, you have seen it all, but I haven’t.” Nevertheless, he obeyed them and today he is preaching the Gospel.
Matthew 11:16, “Whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows . . We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.” He was saying that it was a generation that couldn’t be satisfied. Nothing pleased them, and isn’t that the generation we are living in? We are living in a generation that is sick and do you know what the sickness is? It is “emptiness neurosis.” We are made with a vacancy that only God can fill. Colossians 2:10, “And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.” The truth is, we are not complete without Him.
People try to fill their lives with so many things, with worldliness, with prayerlessness and carelessness, but God can fill us as we come to Him. I often like to read about individuals and the home life, and the change that came into the homes of some of God’s children. Think of Manoah and his wife, think of Hannah and her husband. Samuel had a praying mother and a sacrificing father. It was no wonder he was able to fill his place in the Kingdom like he did. We need praying mothers and sacrificing fathers.
II Kings 4:1, “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, ‘Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.’” Sadness had come into this home. The father had died and the widow said to the servant of God, “He was a good man.” We see the crisis: here was a widow with two sons and the creditor was coming to take them into bondage.
Verse 2, “And Elisha said unto her, ‘What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house?’ And she said, ‘Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil.’ Then he said, ‘Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels.’” She was told to borrow from her neighbors and they only had empty vessels. “Emptiness neurosis.” You will find your neighbors cannot give you anything to satisfy you.
Verse 4, “And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.” People don’t like separation. The world would say that you shouldn’t deny your children, that you owe it to your children to have something of the world. The creditor wants to take the children into bondage but we must be like this woman, have nothing in your house apart from that which will soothe and give light. God brought His children out of Egypt, and Joseph and Mary went to Egypt so that what was written could be fulfilled. Matthew 2:15, “Out of Egypt have I called My Son.” Moses thought he could improve things in Egypt but God wanted him out, and that is true with us, too.
II Corinthians 6:17, “’Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord, ‘And touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.’” Ezekiel 44:23, “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” God wants to teach us. He doesn’t want us to be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Don’t go into the grey areas where it might be right or it might be wrong; know the difference between right and wrong. It is essential, because the devil is very deceptive and will tell us we are right when we are wrong.
God called Moses out and showed him the difference. When there was darkness in all the homes of Egypt, there was light in all the homes of God’s people and we can say that is happening in the world today. If there is no oil, we won’t have that light. But I like to think of this woman, that after things came right she talked to the servant of God. Sometimes people make their own plans and avoid the servants of God, but this woman was in true fellowship and she took his advice.
A teacher friend told us about her parent-teacher interviews. A couple came with their 6 year-old boy who wasn’t doing well at school. She said, “How much time do you spend with your little boy?” The father said, “You must remember, I am a busy man.” “Yes, I understand that, but you will never have a 6 year-old boy again, and my advice is that you give him a little time. You don’t need to teach him, just give him time.”
They took her advice and it wasn’t long before that little boy began to improve, because they took the time to talk to him, show him that he was part of their family. Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” An old brother in New Zealand said, “Fathers, bring your children up; don’t leave it all for the little woman to do.”
Judges 2:10, “And there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.” Maybe they hadn’t been told? My father heard the Gospel in 1917 when the first workers came to Mackay. He was seventeen years old and later he used to tell us what was spoken. My aunt had been searching, and she knew it was the end of the search. It was like the parable of the man seeking goodly pearls and she knew, “There is nothing better than this.”
My dad never became a preacher but he helped them in their mission. Proverbs 30:11, “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.” How sad if the generation coming would ever say, “You didn’t tell me; you didn’t advise me; you didn’t keep me separate.” God wants us to be a blessing so that, through us, He can bless others.