John T. Willis

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don't Be Like Your Parents

Evelyn and I are the parents of four children: three males and one female. They are all now 50 years of age or older. From the very beginning, we encouraged each of our children to follow God, NOT ourselves. We sincerely want to serve God, but we painfully KNOW in our heart of hearts, we frequently think, say, or do the wrong thing. Whenever this happens, we encourage our children--and everyone else--to follow God, not any human being.

This is the message of Psalm 78, for example. The psalmist goes through FOUR generations: the previous generation, the present generation, the following generation, and the generation yet unborn. He encourages his audience to reflect carefully on the lives of former generations:
"so that they should set their hope IN GOD [not themselves or anyone else],
and not forget the works of God
but keep his commandments;
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God" (Psalm 78:7-8).

Then, the psalmist enumerates SEVEN events during the history of God's people to call attention to the unfaithful ideas and actions of their ancestors: cowardice (verses 9-11), insensitivity (verses 12-17), doubt (verses 18-22), ingratitude (verses 23-32), hypocrisy (verses 33-39), stubbornness (verses 40-51), and taking God for granted (verses 52-58).

When the previous generation commits sins of various times, it is a catastrophe for the present generation to imitate these sins. Unfortunately, history has demonstrated that frequently we do just that: we repeat the same old wrongs. And when this happens, our lives are in jeopardy.

YES, we need to honor our parents and imitate them IF and WHEN they are faithful to God. But God is more important than our parents or other people. Our first commitment is to God alone. Psalm 78 is a tremendous reminder of this reality.

Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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