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Psalm 78:1-7
1 O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. 5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, 6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

clip_image090Background

This psalm is historical; it is a narrative of the great mercies God had bestowed upon Israel, the great sins provoked God, and the many actions by God brought about by His displeasure lead to their suffering for their sins. The psalmist began Psalm 78 to relate God’s wonders of old, for encouragement in a difficult time; to teach the church, and enlarges much upon it, showing not only how good God had been to them, which was an earnest of further finishing mercy, but how basely they had conducted themselves towards God, which justified God in correcting them as he did at this time, and forbade all complaints. 1

Biblical Truths

These are called dark and deep sayings, because they are to be looked into carefully. The law of God was given to Israel with a particular charge to teach it diligently to their children, that the church may abide for ever. Also, that the providences of God, both in mercy and in judgment, might encourage them to conform to the will of God. The works of God work to strengthen our resolution to keep his commandments. Hypocrisy is the high road to apostasy (the renunciation of a religious or political belief or allegiance); those that do not set their hearts right, will not be steadfast with God. Many parents, by negligence and wickedness, become murderers of their children. But young persons, though they are bound to submit in all things lawful, must not obey sinful orders, or copy sinful examples.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the many ways faith, Christianity, the belief in God is passed on to the next generation?
  • What role does history play in teaching Christianity?
  • Who are the enemies today that seek to prohibit the next generation from being faithful followers?
  • Do minority interest groups, those who are small in number, have too much power today in our society?
  • If so, how are they best kept in check? If not, should the majority be making better progress toward expanding Christianity?
  • How do we hide our faith and God from our children?
  • How can we teach those who are yet to be born? (See verse 6)

 

I Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Background

This letter was written by Paul to the church in Corinth in response to questions plaguing their congregation. As a quick reminder, Corinth was a wealthy city strategically positioned on an isthmus that guided the wealthy trade through its gates. Affluence spawned numerous pagan churches.

Biblical Truths

In this letter, Paul extols the high status of charity—Charity, a pure love, excels and exceeds almost all else. In this chapter the apostle goes on to show more particularly what that more excellent way was of which he had just before been speaking. He recommends it first, by showing the necessity and importance of it (ver. 1-3); by giving a description of its properties and fruits (ver. 4-7); and by showing how much it excels the best of gifts and other graces, by its continuance, when they shall be no longer in being, or of any use (ver. 8, to the end).

Items for Discussion

  • In what ways does affluence and abundance help charity? Hurt charity?
  • Paul wants us to prefer the gifts of charity over worldly gifts. What gets in our way of honoring Paul’s desire for us?
  • In what ways does the world misunderstand Paul’s definition for love?
  • How is love tied to passing one’s faith on to the next generation?
  • Paul lists three priorities: faith, hope and love. Why are these important to the next generation?
  • Why are they important to this generation?
  • What evidence do you see that our church understands Paul’s definition for love?

Discussion Challenge

  • If we are dissatisfied with the next generation’s grasp of Christianity, do we blame ourselves for failing to pass on a pure faith or our children for their inability to grasp the faith of their parents?

Notes:

  1. From Matthew Henry’s Commentary
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