Hoping in Christ and clinging to His Word, and walking with Him by grace, believers don’t forget Him but remember Him—and this not only unto themselves; they remember Him to their children. This is the great purpose behind the use of confession and catechisms: that we ourselves would remember Him, and that we would teach the next generation, so that they would both remember Him for themselves and teach the generation yet to come.
Associate Reformed Presbyterians adhere to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms—a wonderfully biblical thing to do, as we hope to see from Paul’s letters to Timothy next month. In this series of articles, I hope to convince you from Scripture of the necessity and wisdom of mastering and using our doctrinal standards, and then proceed to highlight from Scripture the riches in Christ that can be gained by way of some of our theological distinctives.
But, as a way of setting up for that, I’d like for us to consider from Psalm 78 Israel’s forgetfulness of the Lord and His Word—both in their own hearts (failing Deut 6:6) and to their children (failing Deut 6:7). This article will be best-read with your Bible open, taking the time to see each of the statements from the verses referenced.
Psalm 78:1–4 teaches us that telling to the next generation the praises of the good, great, saving God is an obligation not an option. v4 refers to failure to do so as “hiding” the “praises of the LORD and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.”
vv5–7 tell us that God Himself established this “right” that covenant children possess, that they would receive instruction in the Word of God from one generation to the next. It is His appointed means by which successive generations would be brought to “hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments” (v7).
But the people of Israel up to the point of the Psalm’s writing had not been faithful to their purpose (v8). Not only did they forget to tell their children the wonderful works of God, they forgot those works for themselves—and so drifted from Him and rebelled against Him (vv10–11). Even those who saw the miraculous plagues and power by which He delivered them from Egypt, and by which He led them through the wilderness, forgot these works during their own lifetimes (vv12–20). And if they forgot Him for themselves, how can they have remembered Him to their children?
Although God was full of wrath against this (vv21–22), yet He responded with even more mercy and more miracles (vv23–30)—accompanied byreminders of His wrath against sin as in v31. Against such a backdrop, how marvelous is His grace that even their superficial and temporary repentings (vv32–37) were met with great compassion and forgiveness and restoration (vv38–39)!