“One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”
When God divided the Jordan River, enabling Israel to cross into the Promised Land, He instructed Joshua to memorialize the event by building a simple altar. Twelve men, one from each tribe, carried a large stone out of the dry riverbed and placed it in the area of Gilgal. One by one, as these stones were piled atop one another, a rudimentary altar was formed. This altar was not a place to sacrifice, but a place to remember. Joshua instructed the people that these stones would serve two purposes. First, they were to be a reminder of the mighty works of God, and second they were a teaching tool that one generation should praise His works to another. Joshua declared,
“When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’… that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty…” Joshua 4:21-24
Other altars were built throughout the land, in places like Hebron, Bethel, Beersheba, Shechem and Ophrah. Each one, serving the purpose of remembering the works of God, and instructing the next generation in the ways of God. It seems to me, there has been a resurgence in our culture of parental involvement in the lives of their children. The “old school” approach, of mom doing the parenting, and dad serving as provider, seems to have been replaced by an increased effort by both parents being more involved in raising the kids. Little League baseball, Pop Warner football, soccer leagues, club volleyball, cheer-leading camps, all serve as a way for parents to be more involved in passing things on to their children. It is great to see a dad in the yard teaching his son to throw a ball or properly run the mower, but it is critical that we don’t stop there. As parents, the primary responsibility of passing the things of God on to the next generation, rests with us. While there is value in teaching our kids to fish, hunt, surf, read, study, and work, it is also critical that we teach our children how to walk with Jesus. Our kids are going to learn what relationship with God looks like by watching ours. If we take the time to daily abide in Christ, to trust Him when things get confusing, and to serve Him with our time, talents and treasures, our children will learn to do the same. Keep in mind, your life serves as an example, whether you like it or not. Let’s be sure we are a good example to those who we love the most.