As we look at the current election and collectively grieve the two choices we’re faced with, it can almost seem like we have no hope. Those of us that have come of age in the current generation have watched the country deteriorate before our eyes. Unfortunately, I believe the key word in that sentence is “watched”. Especially those of us with a Biblical worldview. We decided to focus on the easy parts of the Bible. Be nice. Help people. (Obviously important parts of showing Jesus’ love.) And somewhere along the way, we allowed those important things to turn into: “Don’t be pushy. Don’t offend people.” So we essentially took the gospel, hid it away in our little circles and got out of the way while the godless slowly took over our country. And we let them because to boldly defend the truth would be offensive. And now, here we are. Is there any hope for America?
If there is any hope – it will be in the next generation. Our children and grandchildren. And hopefully those of us that know God’s Word and believe it will wake up and proclaim it to them! They must know beyond a doubt who God is and what he has done so that they can live out their faith in Jesus Christ and boldly proclaim the truth!
Psalm 78 is one of the Psalms that replays the history of the Israelites. It reminds them of what God has done, how they wandered away and how God continued to have mercy on them. It implores them to tell the next generation about God so that they will not make the same mistakes.
The Psalm begins with a declaration about the things the people of Israel have known to be true: “We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done…so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.” The Psalmist recognizes how crucial it is for future generations to hear the truth of the Mighty God of Israel so that they would trust in him. “Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
He acknowledges how his own generation and generations before him took their eyes off of their Redeemer and where that got them. “They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him…they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High.” Instead of trusting God to keep his promise and to bring them to the promised land, they grumbled and complained wanting things their way – in their time. “They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved…for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.” And when God had heard enough of their complaints, he gave them what they thought they wanted. “They ate till they were gorged— he had given them what they craved.”
The cycle was endless. They would turn from God and go their own way yet God would forgive them when they repented. “In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror.” When they would finally realize how far they had gone from God and cry out to him, he would once again do wonders for his people. “Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again. They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.” The cycle would continue and their loyalty to their Creator would falter. But God remained merciful! “But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.”
God’s merciful love was evident as he endlessly forgave them in spite of their wicked ways. But God’s holiness was also evident as he allowed the consequences for their rebellion to unfold. I have learned a lot about my own personal walk with The Lord from the Israelites. I have learned that I would much rather be safe in God’s mercy than wandering in the consequences of rebellion.
And I believe that as a nation we can also learn a lot from the Israelites. It’s time we confessed to God and to our children how we have turned away from the truth. It’s time we proclaim to the next generation the most amazing, merciful and eternal truth about our God. That he is a God that saves! That even as we continue to prove we can never get it right on our own, he provided the answer. That even though we will never be able to make ourselves righteous enough to enter his presence, he has given us righteousness through his Son, Jesus Christ. We must make sure that our children and their children know that this is the truth! We must make them understand that nothing else matters if they don’t get this right. Eternity is a dreadfully long time to spend separated from God in hell. And although the truth of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ might make people uncomfortable, or even downright angry, it is a truth worth dying for. The next generation needs to know this so that they can boldly share the gospel until Jesus returns. Only in the hands of a generation faithful to God Most High does this nation have any hope.