This is wonderful day on a number of levels. The Lord invites us into his presence where
he serves us with his Word. We respond with prayers and praises. The installation of our new
Kindergarten in our worship service, follow by fellowship with cake and ice-cream in the
You can tell it’s a special day: we normally don’t have someone sitting in the front row.
And we don’t normally cancel Bible Study for fellowship. It is a different day. It is a special day.
The man who writes this psalm, speaks as a father. “O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.” The psalmist, the pastor, the teacher, the witness, the father,
the mother has a privilege to speak and be heard. But when he says “Listen to the words of my
mouth,” Asaph isn’t on his little soap box. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter
hidden things, things from of old—what we have heard and known, what our fathers have
And since he is sharing God’s Word this is how he wants us to listen. “Hear my
teaching,” yes, the NIV translates, but literally, “Incline your ears.” Lean forward, turn your
neck and listen closely, so that not one word from God’s mouth falls to the ground. Study the
words deeply, explore their meaning, and practice his teachings.
So, children of God, and especially you, Melissa Thrams, listen to the Word of God.
Asaph is going to share what God’s people have always known and heard. And take to heart
especially these words in our text: “We Will Tell the Next Generation.”
“He decreed statutes…which he commanded our forefathers to teacher their
children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and
they in turn would tell their children.” Which is why we started a preschool and now are
adding Kindergarten. We join in with Asaph. We Will Tell the Next Generation.
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.” “…so the
next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would
tell their children.”
What praiseworthy deeds will we teach? Obviously, you have a curriculum you will be
implementing and teaching little children. But every subject matter can be taught through the
lens of Jesus, and ever every subject learned through that same lens. What makes our school
different is that Crown of Life wants to know Christ and makes Christ known.
Israelite parents were not at a loss when it came to relating praiseworthy. Their watched
as God piled the water into high walls in the Red Sea and walked through on dry land. Then the
water unleashed like a tsunami on the enemies who were trying to attack. Not long after that,
God’s people were thirsty and God allowed water to rush out of rocky crags like a river. He split
rocks on the earth and gave them water as abundance as the seas. He guided them with a pillar of
cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He rained down manna, “the bread of the angels,” and
he rained down meat from heaven, flying birds like sand on the seashore. He led them safely
through the desert; he guided them safely so that they were unafraid. He drove out nations
before them. All this is from Psalm 78.
How did God’s people respond? They forgot what he had done. They continued to sin
against him. They willfully put God to the test. The kept on sinning. They would flatter him with
their mouths but lie with their tongues. Again and again they put the Lord their God the test.
They did not remember his power. They rebelled against the most High. They did not keep his
statutes. All this is from Psalm 78.
And talk about praiseworthy deeds! God kept forgiving them. He would slay them, afflict them, and they would return to him and everything was fine again. He was merciful; he forgave
their iniquities and did not destroy them. He restrained his anger and did not stir up his wrath.
It would have been easier to herd cats than lead sinners through the wilderness. How did
God not completely destroy them? All their rebellion was paid for, by their Redeemer. Their
redeemer, the one who led them into the promised land, would be the one who would shed his
blood to redeem them once they were established in the Promised Land. How could he forgive
again and again? Every sin would be washed in the blood of the Messiah and even though the
Messiah’s blood had not yet been shed, his coming was certain and his work of redemption was
certain. So completely would the Messiah deliver from sin that they were even delivered from
the guilt of their sins and the fear of death.
One generation saw deliverance by Jacob’s family going to live in Egypt because of a
famine. Another generation saw God’s deliverance by God releasing Israel from slavery in
Egypt. Another generation saw God deliver his people in the land of Canaan. Another generation
saw God’s might acts of deliverance from the Philistines, then the Arameans. One generation
saw God’s delieverance from captivity in Babylon. Simeon and Anna, another generation saw
the deliverer come to the temple as an eight day old boy. Another generation got to see the risen
Christ. And each generation of believers was to tell the story the deliverances of their
forefathers, and then add their own. No wonder they wanted to tell the next generation.
We are so much like the Israelites. We forget his mercy. How many times a day we tempt
him to just leave us with our sin and rebellion? How many times we forget God’s power? How
many times we forget that God is greater than our latest problem, or latest bill. And how often
we live as though the biggest, most important thing in our lives is not the Lord. We make him
jealous by putting other things ahead of him. We flatter with our mouths, but the praise doesn’t
always come from the heart. Why he doesn’t just torch us with the flames of hell is because…
Of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. On top of all the praiseworthy things recorded in
Psalm 78, we take our heads hung in shame to visit an animal feedbox in Bethlehem and see God
who became a tiny baby. We open up the gospels and walk the dusty paths of Palestine with a
teacher from Nazareth who performed miracle after miracle. We crane our necks to look up at
the blood stained wood on a hill outside of Jerusalem. We run along with Peter and John to the
tomb were Jesus once lay and see that he rose again.
Let these children learn their numbers and colors and letters and words, pretty big words
at that. But what makes your ministry different, Melissa, is the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.
Crown of Life wants to tell the next generation. You teaching a number of God’s children in our
I see five generations spoken of this text. 1. Fathers. 2. Their children. 3. The generation
to come. 4. Their children. 5. And then their children.
I never met my great grandfather. But I heard he was a neat guy. He was town president
in McMillan, and the family history says he hated politics. He had a great sense of humor and he
was a devout child of God. He’s the one who donated the land upon which sits St. Peter’s
Lutheran Church in McMillan, WI.
He raised my grandfather Ruben. I don’t think I ever saw him frown. He was always
smiling, always giving thanks to God for his blessings, always encouraging. He would always
say “If it is the Lord’s will, we’ll see you at Christmas.” “Lord-willing, we’ll see you at Easter.”
He would always ask me about Jesus, and tell me about Jesus. Ruben got himself taken out of a
rich uncles will because he wouldn’t stop talking to him about Jesus. At his funeral, the pastor
who buried him said he never known anyone to be such a wonderful leader in the church.
He raised my father, who has been in the public ministry for over 40 years. My father has
been in the public ministry for over 40 years. Read any verse in the New Testament and he’ll
give you chapter and verse. Read any verse in the O.T. and you’ll get book and chapter. Our
publishing house loves him because they don’t do any revising on his writing. I’m proud of what
God made him to be.
My father raised me, which I won’t talk much about. But So I’ll move on to my boys.
Rotten sinners though they may be, if you talk to them about spiritual things, they have a lot of
substance. I’m amazed what God can do with some Sunday School teaching, faithful attendance,
and lots of Christ centered talk in the home and a lot of boring preaching and teaching from their
pastor dad. I’m proud of what God has done and I’m and grateful to God. I’m proud of my
Christian heritage. I’ve got my own five generations and as far as I can tell, it all started with a
good-natured, great-grandfather, farmer John. We Will Tell the Next Generation.
Each of the five generations in my family valued Christian education, and it shows.
Which is why we called you Melissa to be our Kindergarten teacher. Will God be working with
the first generation believer in some of your children, or the second generation believers? And
how many generations of believers will benefit from the Word of God you will share with your
Martin Luther wrote of the importance of Christian education, “Nothing can more easily
earn hell for a man than the improper training of his own children; and parents can perform no
more damaging bit of work than to neglect their own offspring.” We will tell the next generation.
Asaph had good insight into human behavior. He knew what happens when one
generation failed to tell the next. The result is disastrous. The history of the nation of Israel
is a sad tale of slipping away from the Lord. And why? Because they didn’t focus on the
praiseworthy deeds of the Lord and share those with the next generation. We want to tell the
next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord so that they in turn will tell their children.
Persistent proclamation of Jesus leads to perpetual praise of Jesus.
To know Christ and to make Christ known. You’ve heard of our mission statement
already. As you prepare your lessons and teach your lessons you are getting an opportunity t
o know Christ even more deeply. And as you teach your lessons you have the opportunity to
make him known. Melissa, you are blessed with the opportunity before you. Asaph would have
wholeheartedly agreed with our mission statement. Asaph’s commitment is our commitment. We
say to God and to one another this morning, “We will not hide (what God as done); we will tell
the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD.” Amen.