Every generation has a great influence on the next. That is why God advised the people
of Israel to share all the experiences they had with God, with their children so that one
generation after the other would believe in him, and follow him. In other words, that they
should talk about his miracles, guidance, love, and power as well as the bitter results of
their sins; so that their descendants may learn from them.
In Psalms 78 (KJV) we read about such advise. Let us read together verses 1-10:
Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my
mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will
not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the
praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath
done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known
to their children; That the generations to come might know them, even
the children who 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; And might not be as their
fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that set not their
heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God... They kept not the covenant of
God, and refused to walk in his law.
Then, the author explained how God lead his people, and how he supported them; yet
how they - in spite of all his goodness - were not thankful whatsoever.
On the basis of this Scripture passage let us examine: Who should share with whom
God's great deeds? What should they share? And Why?
- Who should share with whom God's great deeds? All those, who personally
experienced his miracles, guidance, discipline; and heard his commandments should be
the ones who pass these on to their children, and the children to their children. So that
God's every deed and commandment should be known by the fathers sons, grandsons,
great-grandsons, and so on...
- But what specifically should they share? As mentioned earlier; they should share what
they heard, and therefore know; what they experienced, or - as we read - God's "strength,
and his wonderful works." Furthermore, his testimonies and laws.
Why should they share all these things with every generation?
reasons. For one, that each generation may learn to know the one and only true,
living God, who performed many mighty miracles, the pagan idols were unable to
perform; and therefore may follow him. Also, that they may not be tempted to worship
idols, even when people around them worship such. Rather convert those to their God.
In addition, that they may learn from their past history. Namely, that they may realize
that their God is a graceful, forgiving, loving God.
For their forefathers have often hurt him with their sins and disobediences; yet he stayed
faithful to them. He forgave them over and over again, and restored them and used them
as well. However, that they may also learn that at the same time, their God is an
assertive, strict God as well, who doesn't take sin or disobedience lightly; rather
disciplines the guilty in order to teach him a lesson. Just like he allowed the snake bites to
hit his people while wondering; or let them suffer the painful, lengthy Assyrian, and
Babylonian captivity. Furthermore, as he allowed many individuals suffer for their sin;
like the evil Jezebel who suffered a horrific death, and King David who lost his first son
born from Bathsheba, etc. And hearing about these, they may want to obey God, in order
to avoid his discipline.
Yet, someone may say: God just made his people share their experiences with the next
generation verbally because in those days there were no books, children could learn from.
However, if we seriously examine the offspring's of our friends or relatives in our days, we
will see that each generation has a powerful influence on the next to this day. In other
words, our upbringing has still a great influence on us. The history books and the study
of the Bible can influence us also; but our parents’ words will never be forgotten;
whether we follow them or not!
Actually, that is the reason why most children, grandchildren and even great-grand-
children of atheists turn out to be atheists to the third or fourth generation. Or, at least have
a hard time to believe in God, the creation, and the messages of the Bible. Or people who
grew up in communist countries turn out to have similar attitudes and beliefs they were
raised with for two three generations. For - even if not at home - but at school they were
definitely raised with such teachings and - since teachers have the greatest influence on
children after their parents; they suffer from the disadvantages of that era. We are not
saying that there are no exceptions. There are. For example the famous atheist lady in the
USA, has a son who openly confesses to believe in and follow God. But he is one of the
On the other hand, a Hungarian book I'm reading these days talks about a family where
faith in God, and even his service was wonderfully passed on from father to son, to
grandson, to great-grandson. Just because each generation faithfully taught God's Word,
plus the truth about Jesus Christ, and lived an exemplary life in front of the next; even
under the dangerous communist rule. Which - once again - proves to us that parents
have a great influence on their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; to
this day, in spite of all the books and the Bible that is available now for all to read or
In Deuteronomy 4:9 and 11:19, 26 (KJV) we read: "Only take heed to thyself, and keep
thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they
depart from they heart all the days of thy life; but teach them to thy sons, and thy sons'
sons." "...teach them to your children, speaking when thou sittest in thine house, and
when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the
doorposts of thine house, and upon they gates... Behold, I set before you this day a
blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God... a
curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of
the way... to go after other gods."
And since the words and lifestyle passed from father to son, to grandson, to great-
grandson is still powerful in our days; all the Scriptures we read today speak to us as well.
Thus, those of us – who became God's children by inviting Jesus into our heart-
have to obey the forewarnings of Scriptures as well.
Namely that we too pass on God's miracles, guidance, chastening, and the teachings of his
word to our children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, etc. as long as we live. So that
they may learn from the past; learn to know God, decide to follow him, and pass on
what they know about him also. Then, God's Word and call to salvation will spread
from father to son, to grandson, to great-grandson, etc. For that is all goodly parents' God
given responsibility and calling!
Irma F. Matrai 2009. July 15