Psalm 78 – Josiah or the Rich Young Ruler

Posted on October 8, 2012 · Posted in Teenagers

In our first look at Psalm 78 I noted that it is essential to share the Psalmist’s passionate commitment to giving God’s truth and the wonder of his character to our children. As the Psalmist said, “We will not hide these truths from our children.”

The impact upon children is to be so significant that their children will be impacted as well. If parents’ hearts are not consumed with attractively passing on God’s glory there is a greatly diminished likelihood that this same passion will grip their children. See verses 6&7 of the psalm:

… so the next generation would know them,

even the children yet to be born,

and they in turn would tell their children.

Then they would put their trust in God

and would not forget his deeds

but would keep his commands,

As we learn from Judges 2:10 the first generation of Israel after Joshua failed to maintain this passion. What resulted was the hard-hearted, me-first culture of the book of Judges. This is exactly the history lesson the Psalmist is teaching verse 8:

and that they should not be like their fathers,

a stubborn and rebellious generation,

a generation whose heart was not steadfast,

whose spirit was not faithful to God.

So, the lesson to be learned is this: if you desire to see your teenagers passionate about God, caring for his honor as devotedly as Josiah did, then passing on the wonder of God must be your consuming passion.  Otherwise, your children’s hearts will not be soft towards God like Josiah’s was, but they will be hard, as in the time of the Judges.

But wait a minute, perhaps someone is thinking, “well, I don’t necessarily want my kids to be all-consumed with following God, I just want them to stay out of trouble, do well in school, stay in church and go to college. I am not sure I want my kids to be as radical as Josiah. I just want good kids.”

This is the moment of deciding between faith and comfort. Having a child like the rich young ruler is more comfortable than having a child like Josiah.  Think carefully about the implications of what Psalm 78 is teaching.  Nothing short of “radical” will yield a soft heart towards God.

 

Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.