Last night, our family had an amazing family devotion time. We traced the children's Godly Christian heritage for them so that they could see how they arrived where they are today. On my side, their heritage starts with me. I didn't become a Christian until I was 18, and I was not raised in a Christian home. So I am considered first generation. But much like Timothy's grandmother, it has been my responsibility and privilege to start the line. (Paul traced Timothy's Christian heritage, too.)
2 Timothy 1:5 "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."
On my husband's side, his mother was saved as a teenager, but she didn't grow nor pass on her Christian heritage at first. His father was in the Navy and met a friend. That friend invited him to church. My husband's dad accepted Christ as his Saviour. At that time he was already married to "Gramma" and they had two young children. They had no training, but they began faithfully learning, growing, and teaching their boys the best they could. Because of their faithfulness, my husband heard the Gospel as a child. My husband accepted Christ as a preteen. Then in high school, he met me and invited me to church. I accepted Christ. We later married and had children. We passed on our Christian heritage to our children. Now the responsibility rests on their shoulders. The question is, "Are you going to continue this Godly Christian heritage, or are you going to drop the ball? Are you going to quit being faithful somewhere along the way?"
David declares, much like our children could declare, that from his youth he was taught and raised to know God.
Psalm 71:5 For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
Psalm 71:6 By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
Psalm 71:17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
From his youth He dedicated his life to following the Lord. He was taught and he followed in that teaching, continuing a heritage. But he didn't just stop there. He continued!
vs 6: "... from the womb... my praise shall be continually of thee."
vs 8, 15: "... all the day."
vs 14: "... hope continually..."
vs 17: "... from my youth: and hitherto..."
He continued on and was faithful!
But he didn't stop there. He talked about continuing on farther! He hungered for that close relationship to continue his whole life!
Psalm 71:9 "Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth."
Psalm 71:18 "Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not..."
But get this: the most exciting part to me isn't that he wanted a close fellowship with God his whole life. It thrills my soul to no end that he also determined and purposed in his heart to serve God even in his old age. He didn't have a "retirement" mindset about his Christian heritage and serving God. He wasn't content just to let the young guys take over. He took personal responsibility for reaching the next generation as long as he still had breath!
Psalm 71:18 "Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come."
Just because we grow grey headed and wrinkled, slow or bedridden, doesn't mean we stop serving. So, when the body is aging, tired, and weary, how can a person still serve God?
Psalm 71:8 "Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day."
Doesn't this next generation need to see what real worship and praise is?
Psalm 71:14 "But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more."
Doesn't this next generation need to see faith (hope... confident expectation) lived out in daily life? Don't they need to see someone who lives daily trusting in God's perfect Word, learning and growing in the Word even in old age?
Psalm 71:15 "My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof."
Doesn't this next generation still need to know who God is and what He has done? With a life full of stories of God's provision, protection, and providence, shall we silence those stories because we are old? Shall they not hear of a real saving faith that changed our lives?
Dependence on God:
Psalm 71:16 "I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only."
In a world that fills their ears full of lies that the answers are in them and that they are strong, not needing anyone, shall we not in our old age show them the truth? Shall we not tell them that without Christ we can do nothing? Will our faltering bodies silence this truth?
Psalm 71:22 "I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel."
Oh how our Father loves to hear us sing! The wrinkles on our brow do not distract Him as He bends to hear the singing of His praises! Shall this next generation not be touched by our heart's adoration of the Saviour in song?
Psalm 71:23 "My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed."
This world is full of complaining and it seems to be a heritage that is passed on generation to generation. How do we stop it? When we are old and aching and yet we still praise Him, we declare to the next generation that God is good all the time. We spread an attitude of gratitude.
Psalm 71:24 "My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt."
No matter how old we get, we can pass on to the next generation the truth of God's righteousness. We can keep proclaiming His Word even on our deathbed. ALL THE DAY LONG... and every day.... until we draw our last breath. Be committed, by God's grace, to be the one who will pass on a Godly heritage to the next generation. From youth... continually now... and in old age. Don't quit.