God has a plan to use your family to make a difference in the world for Christ. When I say “your family,” I am not only speaking of the people He has put in your home today, but also of unborn generations to come! Faithfulness and growth through the generations is a major theme in Scripture and is near to the heart of God. One of the most powerful visions for generational faith and connection is found in Psalm 78.
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. (Psalm 78:1-4, ESV)
These first four verses give a picture of the power of the family in passing faith in God through the generations. First, there is an affirmation that what we have heard and know of God has come to us from our fathers – the generations before us – both within our families and within the faith community. Because we have received the faith generationally, we are called to share it generationally. In the next three verses, we see the extraordinary impact of faithful, healthy families.
He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. (Psalm 78:5-7, ESV)
Here we find God’s command for parents to intentionally teach and spiritually disciple their children. Now look at the generational impact! It begins simply. “He commanded our fathers to teach their children, that the next generation might know them.” (verse 6a) God wants me to have a loving, close, healthy relationship with my children so that He can use me to help them follow Him. But it doesn’t stop there. God’s vision is not just that we would lead our children to follow Him, but that they (our children) would lead our unborn grandchildren to love Him! It is our future grandchildren who are being spoken of as “the children yet unborn.” (verse 6b)
Now look at the result in the next phrase – that they might “arise and tell them to their children.” What is happening here? My unborn grandchildren have become parents who are telling their own children about the great and glorious deeds of the Lord. What is the result? “They should set their hope in God.” (verse 7) Who is setting their hope in God? My unborn great-grandchildren!
In our hearts and minds we need to connect our parenting today with impacting the lives of our future grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This is the gospel, kingdom, missional, and generational impact of a Christian family. Don’t lose heart! Keep encouraging your children to love and follow Jesus. Continue to work through hurt and conflict. God wants to use your parenting today to advance His kingdom for generations to come.