Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How Do Traditions Teach?

Taken from Chapter 4 of Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper.

"We are always teaching our children, whether we mean to or not. Our children come to believe, probably unconsciously, that whatever is repeated regularly has significance. It was God's design that learning happen by frequent and regular repetition. That kind of learning was part of what he had in mind when he told his people to teach the children his words, 'talking to them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise' (Deuteronomy 11:19) - note how frequently and regularly.

One indication of God's wisdom in this command is that when our activities are filled with God, we have to be thinking about God; so our nomal activities are helping us fulfill God's command to "lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul" (Deuteronomy 11:18). Another sign of God's wisdom is that, with enough repetition, the very activities, no matter how mundane they are, will trigger thoughts of God in our minds..."

"In order to 'teach [God's words] to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise' (Deuteronomy 11:19), you have to be planning - planning what to say and where, how, and when to say it...

All of us are training our children both intentionally and unintentionally. We need to make sure we aren't leaving the important things to happenstance. We know it's crucial that they become familiar with God, our Heirloom and our only hope for real life. We yearn for them to love and trust and follow Christ. It would be foolish just to wait for them to learn that by chance. We must plan to reflect God and teach about Christ in the repeated event of our lives."

"How can I pass that treasure on to my children...?
- He writes poems and psalms so others can read and be drawn into his praise and love and reverence for God.
- He praises God continually, all day long (vv.6, 8).
- He acknowledges God's protection (v.7).
- He prays for God's strength and care in the unknown future, basing his request on the kind of things God has done before (vv.9-15).
- He hopes continually in God, which causes his praise to keep increasing (v.14).
- He talks about what God has done and expresses his own awe (vv.15, 19).
- He reminds others of God's righteousness, helping them remember what God has done in their lives (vv.16, 19).
- He trusts that God will be the same through his whole life (v.17).
- He prays for God's presence and power in his old age so that he can keep on showing God to the next generation (v.18)."

Psalm 71 (NIV)
1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.

2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;
turn your ear to me and save me.

3 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of evil and cruel men.

5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.

6 From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother's womb.
I will ever praise you.

7 I have become like a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.

8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.

9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

10 For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.

11 They say, "God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him."

12 Be not far from me, O God;
come quickly, O my God, to help me.

13 May my accusers perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.

15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.

16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.

17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.

18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.

19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
you who have done great things.
Who, O God, is like you?

20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.

21 You will increase my honor
and comfort me once again.

22 I will praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I, whom you have redeemed.

24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and confusion.

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