Remembering Dads

At one point during my college years I could read from a Hebrew Bible. But I must admit that I have forgotten much of what I learned. In fact, I now have difficulty remembering all the letters in the Hebrew alphabet! The problem was that I quit reviewing what I was taught. The same can be said about a Christian’s relationship with God. Each believer can at least speak about his own conversion experience. And many have also experienced God’s goodness in other areas. But when those experiences are not reviewed, they slowly fade away until they are forgotten. What can be done to counteract this forgetfulness? In the beginning verses of Psalm 78, Asaph places the responsibility on the shoulders of fathers.

Fathers must personally remember what God has done (1-3).

Some tribes are known for passing along family stories by word of mouth. Instead of writing down the history of their tribe in a book, the father would simply tell his children what had happened in the past. This was the case with Asaph. He and his contemporaries could remember what their fathers had told him about the Lord. No doubt they could remember the stories about Creation, Adam and Eve, Enoch, and Noah’s Flood. And as children of Israel they were especially familiar with stories about Moses and the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and Israel’s forty years wandering through the wilderness. All of these things had been passed on to them by word of mouth from someone who could remember what God had done in the past.

Every Christian would do well to first remember what God has done. The Bible is filled with incredible accounts of God’s greatness. But our memory must not be limited to what we have read about him. We need to remember what God has personally done for each of us. Think back to your miraculous conversion. Look back in awe that God would love a sinner like yourself and call you to himself. But continue to recall the many prayers that God has answered — how he guided you in the past, gave you the words to say, or provided for a specific need. Remembering God’s goodness to you will fill your heart with something to share with your children.

Fathers must remind their children of what God has done (4-8).

Asaph was convinced that the future of Israel depended on fathers (including himself). He proclaimed with great conviction that he would not hide from his children what God had done for his people. That sounds like a foolish thing to say, doesn’t it? What Christian father would want to hide God from his children? No godly father would. But each of us realizes that it takes a great deal of diligence (Deut. 6:6-9).

Asaph’s purpose was to avoid a generation which would forget who God was. He wanted to insure that his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren would know the Lord and continue teaching their children the same things. Sadly, the history of Israel shows that many fathers forgot what God had done and failed to teach their children. This eventually resulted in Israel becoming a stubborn and rebellious nation which wanted nothing to do with God. How sad that must have been to witness happening.

Conclusion:

While I don’t remember much Hebrew, I do remember a bit of Spanish. Due to interaction with the Mexican children that rode my bus to Head Start this past year, I can joke that “Me llamo Señor Pollo Amarillo,” tell them to stop talking about “pistoles,” and ask important questions such as “¿Dónde está el baño?” While I may never become fluent, those months of review have helped me to recall what I was taught twenty years ago! I say that to encourage you that it’s never too late to begin the process with your family. With God’s help each of us can seek to pass along a godly heritage by remembering and then reminding our families. Why not take some time today to reflect on what God had done in your life? Write down what you can recall and then take time to praise God. The second step would involve sharing your findings with your family. With God’s help that time will convince your children that God really is good.