Breaking the Cycle

One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

Psalm 145:4-7

In this psalm, God’s goodness and generosity towards his creation and people are being praised. Throughout the psalm, David employs a variety of ways to describe praise, and this excerpt features a nice array as well: “commend,” “declare,” “speak,” “pour forth,” “sing aloud,” etc. The main point of the psalm is to praise and magnify the name of the Lord. Verses 4 through 7 feature the biblical pattern for doing this:

1. Personal Study and Worship – “on your wondrous works, I will meditate…I will declare your greatness.”

2. Biblical Instruction and Discipleship – “one generation shall commend your works to another…they will speak of the might of your awesome deeds…”

Whenever both of these elements are present, God’s name is magnified through God’s people. However, whenever one is lacking, then God’s people fall into sin and disobedience, and God’s fame among the nations suffers. Take the book of Judges as an example. Judges 2 talks about how a generation arose who did not know the Lord or His work among His people, and as a result they fell into sin.

I think it is a fair criticism to say that we are living in a Judges 2 generation. Dr. Albert Mohler, in a 2005 article in the Christian Post, indicted our generation for the rise of “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,”a term first coined by Christian Smith and fellow researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill. This new religion’s major “tenets of the faith” hold that there is a passive, impersonal god who created the world, is on-call whenever needed, but stays generally uninvolved and just wants people to feel good and be happy. Among the many profound implications for evangelical Christianity of this new religion, the following comments caught me immediately in regards to our generation of leaders/teachers:

The researchers, who conducted thousands of hours of interviews with a carefully identified spectrum of teenagers, discovered that for many of these teens, the interview itself was the first time they had ever discussed a theological question with an adult. What does this say about our churches? What does this say about this generation of parents

(for the full text of the article, go here).

There has been a breakdown in the cycle of personal worship-biblical instruction and discipleship. The article indicates that this kind of thinking is not only prevalent among teens, but many adults hold to it as well. I can’t help but wonder where the ball has been dropped, and I pray that my peers own the responsibility of living a life set apart for God and then passing a lifestyle of worship down to younger generations.

Father, may we magnify your name in our hearts, in our praise, and in our lives. And then may we magnify your name among the generations.

One thought on “Breaking the Cycle

  1. This is an amazing post Rachel. I have struggled with this very concept myself. Having grown up in Christian school and in the Church, my foundation was still so unbelievably shaky that at many times I question whether I was in fact saved. It breaks my heart to think about those who don’t have the instruction I had, because with as much “knowledge” about God and “experience” in the Church I feel I shouldn’t have had all the unanswered questions and feelings of confusion that I had. Those with less experience w God and Christians are at and even worse disadvantage. Yet, strong discipleship comes from strong faith. I think the key is raising up individuals who have a heart for the Lord and live it out in all that they do. People who can’t contain their excitement for Christ, that way it is natural for their instruction to spill over into the youth. Thanks for your wonderful thoughts!

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