Remember...and Hold Fast
We will [show] to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
Psalm 106 tells the story of the Israelites in their amazing deliverance from Egypt and journey to the Promised Land. God worked wonders on their behalf, the like of which no one had ever seen before. They set out from Egypt with great excitement and rejoicing. Yet just a short time later we find them at the Red Sea crisis, paralyzed with fear and full of doubts. What went wrong? Verse 7 has the answer: "Our fathers understood not Thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of Thy mercies." They didn't understand, and they didn't remember. "Nevertheless He saved them for His name's sake..." (vs. 8), and "THEN believed they His Words; they sang His praise" (vs. 12).
and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done...
That the generation to come might know them,
even the children which should be born;
who should arise and declare them to their children:
that they might set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.
~Psalm 78:3-4, 5b-7
All well and good. Lesson learned, right? Unfortunately, no. The very next verse says, "But they hastily forgot His works; they did not [earnestly] wait for His plans [to develop] regarding them, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness and tempted and tried to restrain God [with their insistent desires] in the desert" (Amplified version). Ouch. I've found myself falling into this thought pattern many times. Forgetting all that God has done for me in the past, I get tired of waiting on God, and my desires turn into demands.
The importance of remembering God and all the great things He has done (vs. 21) has been driven home to me even more clearly in recent weeks since Grandpa's homegoing. The common theme to the cards and conversations has been the priceless value of a Godly heritage and the importance of carrying it on to the next generation: essentially, being a good steward of what we have been entrusted with. This is a blessing that comes hand-in-hand with a serious responsibility.
"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required," Jesus said (Luke 12:48). I am privileged to be among the oldest of a special generation in America: our parents, growing up in the turmoil of the sixties, decided they wanted something different for their children. As they started families in the early eighties, the Lord lead many to choose homeschooling as a way of fulfilling God's command to raise up a Godly seed. The home church, home business, and home birth movements (all of which are becoming increasingly widespread) are the natural outgrowth of God's working. Our parents and grandparents have sacrificed much to bring us to where we are today—they all made mistakes, yes, but they dedicated their lives to bring us to where we are today and they are worthy of honor and gratitude.
Now my generation is entering adulthood and we find ourselves at a point of decision: will we continue on in the legacy we have been given? Are we familiar with the stories of God's working in the past—these personal, family testimonies of God's goodness? Can we remember these stories and be ready to pass them on to our own children, should the Lord someday bless us with that opportunity?
According to Israel Wayne,1 the biggest dangers we face at this juncture are apathy and indifference—taking everything for granted and failing to be grateful for the miracles God has worked to bring us where we are today. Many are watching to see if God's ways really do work or not. Will we hold fast and be faithful? Will we be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us?
These principles also apply to those who are first-generation Christians. A while back I was chatting with a friend who shared some exciting things God had been doing in her life: many miracles which basically amounted to a "deliverance from Egypt" testimony. I rejoiced with her, then gave a bit of encouragement: Do whatever you can to capture these miracles right now. Write them down and document them as well as you can. Beg God to help you remember all He is doing. Because a time is coming when you'll be at the end of your rope, hanging over the precipice and looking at the backside of belief, and you'll need to cling to every bit of truth that God is showing you now.
This message is for you, friends, regardless of where you find yourself today. If you're in a season of great victory, praise the Lord! Ask Him to open your eyes to all He is doing that you may fully sense His love and goodness and draw strength from it in days to come. If you're in the middle of a long wilderness journey, praise the Lord! Make a list of all the ways God has been faithful to you in the past, along with a list of His promises for the future—and don't ever, ever, ever give up. Believe. The journey is not forever and each day brings you one step closer to the Promised Land.
In a memory album Grandpa filled out for us this summer, he wrote, "My best advice for you is to continue on." By God's grace we shall do so: we will press forward to even greater victories for His glory! In the light of eternity, this is the only true legacy we may leave to future generations: that which God has done in, through, and for us.
"Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast" (Rev. 3:3a).
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
A fellow pilgrim,
Let us run the race not only for the prize;
But as those who've gone before us,
Let us leave to those behind us,
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through Godly lives.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful:
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful!
~Find Us Faithful, by Steve Green
1 Thanks to Israel Wayne for his excellent message at the HSA Reunion in July: it was one of many ways God reinforced these truths in my heart.
This editorial was published in the Oct.-Dec. 2006 issue of Hidden Wisdom Magazine, copyright 2006, Abigail Paul.