Parenting with a Purpose - Mother's Day

Bible Book: Psalms  78 : 1-8
Subject: Mother's Day; Family; Mother; Parenting

[Deuteronomy 6:1-9]

Today is that wonderful Sunday we call Mother’s Day, a day when we celebrate our moms and the priceless role they play in family and society. Moms, it’s not my intention today to add to your struggles as a mom, because many of you already feel overwhelmed. It’s never been harder to be a godly parent.

Diana Allen nicely sums up the sentiment of many mothers in a poem called “I Quit.” After explaining the hardships of parenthood, she concludes, “There will be days when I’ll still hunt through the yellow pages for the number for the Mother’s Resignation Hotline … or my heart will feel as though it has been shattered into a thousand pieces. One thing is sure, however: I have to hang on, to stand firm, to fight the good fight. The souls of my children and the quality of the lives they live here on earth is at stake—and so is their eternity. My children are too precious for me to do anything but persevere.”

Because parenting is so crucial and because God has called us to do certain things as moms and dads, I do want to share some truth from Scripture about raising children. Though this is Mother’s Day, my message is specifically targeted to all parents. Additionally, I believe God has a word for all of us here this morning, whether we’re parents or not.

Psalm 78 is a Maschil, or a teaching psalm. What does it teach? It’s a hymn for the home. That is, this psalm reminds us to teach our children, to teach the next generation. The responsibility of each parent or grandparent is that our kids and grandchildren know God’s Word, that they understand that the key to success is to know the Lord, to love Him, and to be obedient to Him.

Let’s look at four principles in Psalm 78, which the Lord gives us to follow in order that we might “Parent with Purpose.” First, we are to....

I. Teach Our Children GOD’S GREATNESS (vv. 1–4).

The Psalm begins by encouraging us to continue the tradition of passing on the record of God’s marvelous works from one generation to another. In verse 1 the Psalmist asks for our attention. “Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.”

In modern terminology, he is shouting, “Don’t touch that dial! Pay attention! This is important stuff!” These instructions are words of truth, words of wisdom, the words of God. Then he uses references to history to drive home his points.

[Verse 2 is quoted by Matthew to show that Jesus’ speaking in parables was a means of uncovering things long hidden [and thereby a revelation that He was the Messiah (Mt. 13:35)]. “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,” It refers to proverbs (comparisons) and obscure riddles (as in the Samson story, Judg. 14:12) or to words spoken by God to prophets (Num. 12:8; Ezek. 17:2). [The word chidoth can also mean “riddle” or “difficult saying.”] Parables and sayings deliver much in a few well chosen words. Such sayings require contemplation and a heart willing to be challenged by God. Matthew 13:35 states that Jesus too spoke in parables, so that as people pondered the comparison, unanticipated insights into the mystery of God came to light.]

This then is the purpose of the psalm: to clarify the riddle of the past so that it becomes a lesson for the present and the future.

Verse 3 indicates these lessons are summing up the best learning that lives and history have to offer the future. “Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.”

God’s people have always made a substantial commitment to bringing up the next generation in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Throughout the Old Testament there is continual exhortation for parents to teach the faith to their children. Though Sunday school is an important teaching format, it is a relative new structure. The original institution for teaching children about God has been the home. As parents had received from their fathers, so now the present generation would pass the history of God’s working on to their children with greater understanding. Parents therefore are to learn from the God who reveals Himself and pass their knowledge on to their children. [Morgan, Robert J., Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook : 2005 Edition. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson Publishers, S. 132]

In verse 4 the first principle that we are to pass on to the next generation emphasizes God’s greatness. “We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.”

To neglect to teach our children the Word of God is to deprive them of God’s precious truth: truth about God, truth about life, truth about themselves.. We need to provide our children with every opportunity to come to know God through the revealing of Him through His divine revelation.

The practice of passing from one generation to the next God’s incomparable works is part of our parental duty. Notice that we are to tell of “His praiseworthy deeds”—the awesome things God has done; “His power”—He is above all other powers—nothing is too difficult for Him. We are to teach them “His wonders” for He is a God of miracles! It’s our responsibility to teach our children, our grandchildren, and our spiritual children God’s greatness (Ps. 145:3, 4).

In light of God’s goodness, to them and to us, our remembrance of, obedience to, and training others in, God’s life-changing teachings are our only proper responses.

II. Teach Our Children GOD’S WORD (vv. 5, 6).

Verse 5 indicates that the Word and witness which God has given in the past is for the instruction of future generations. “For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children,”

The Word and the witness of the past are God’s divine revelation therefore; they are not only pertinent, they are vital for the guidance and faith of future generations. The word testimony or “witness” [eduth] refers to a declaration to God’s expectations or actions by His people. In the maze of moral confusion, God’s Word serves to guide us.

Notice the MULTI-GENERATIONAL aspect in these verses: forefathers, their children, the children yet to be born, and their children. The psalmist is talking about four generations! Grandparents, your spiritual assignment is not over when your children are grown. You are to influence your grandchildren spiritually as well! It’s not always easy to teach children of God’s Word. Sometimes our own lack of knowledge and understanding hinders us, but remember that the teacher most always learns more than the student. Sometimes our supposed lack of time hinders our teaching of the Word to children. We can make time for what’s important, and the psalmist puts utmost importance on this task! Why not share with each other what you are learning in God’s Word? Your children can teach you too, which excites them to learn.

Verse 6 present the reason why parents are to instruct their children in the things of the Lord. “That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children,”

We teach our children about the Lord so that they might come to know the Lord personally. Then we keep on teaching them about the Lord so they will come to know how to walk with Him As they learn how to walk with Him the will come to know Him better and better.

Some parents think they need to let their kids make their own decisions about religion, church attendance, and Bible study. But here, the Bible says we are to teach our children in order that they might have hope in God rather than be beaten down by the storm of life and the chaos of culture. We need to constantly tell our kids about the blessings that will come their way if they walk according to God’s Word and the heartbreak they’ll experience if they choose a different direction. What a privileged responsibility we’ve been granted! [Gen 18:19; Isa. 59:21; 2 Tim. 3:15.]

III. Teach Our Children TO TRUST GOD (v. 7a).

Verse 7 begins with another objective or reason for teaching the coming generations. “That they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God,

We must teach our children the Word so that they may trust in God -for faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

How can we teach our children to trust God? We teach our children to trust God by trusting God ourselves and by sharing stories [both biblical and personal] about God’s faithfulness with them. These stories relay how Israel forgot about the Lord’s works and how it resulted in their failures. How could they forget? God had done so many miracles like the parting of the Red Sea, the providing of manna, water from the rock, the tower of fire by night and the cloud by day. How could they forget so great a deliverance?

Yet we do the same thing! As a memory help after God parted the Jordan for Israel to pass through, Joshua set up stones to commemorate God’s mighty acts so future generations would remember (Josh. 4:20–24). What are we doing to commemorate God’s mighty works in our lives? The coming generation will forget the works of God, if they are not repeatedly reminded of them.

The sin and misery of man is that he has forgotten God by forgetting what God has done for him. When that happens man begins to place his confidence in man, instead of in the God of history and revelation.

Fourth, Parents are to....

IV. Teach Our Children TO OBEY GOD (vv. 7b, 8).

Another objective of teaching the coming generations found in the second part of verse 7 is so that they would keep God’s commands. “But keep His commandments, An objective of teaching the coming generations is so that they would avoid the errors of the which resulted in rebelliousness arising from lapsed commitment and inconstancy. We need to teach our children to keep God’s commandments. They need to learn to be doers of the Word and not hearers only who delude themselves (Jas 1:22).

We need to help our children build their own set of convictions. When our children leave home, we can’t make their decisions for them! Remember Joseph when away from home was still able to fight tempted saying, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9b nkjv). Because Joseph was ground in the Word at home he grew up into a man of God who made a difference in the world.

[We must teach our children by example. Do you ever say when the phone rings, “Tell them I’m not home,” but then get upset when your kids tell a lie? We must model obedience for our children.[Morgan, s 132]

Jonathan Edwards, whose most famous sermon was entitled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” was a giant of the faith the Lord used mightily to ignite one of the few genuine revivals in our country. But he not only preached to his congregation, he preached to his family as well. A study revealed that of his direct descendants, fourteen became college presidents; one hundred one became college professors; one hundred six became ministers and missionaries; and one hundred eight became lawyers and doctors. On the other hand, a man named Jacob Jukes mocked Jonathan Edwards and the revival. Here is what happened to his family: four hundred were physically self-incapacitated. That is, they lost limbs or were otherwise unable to function due to inflictions from fights, brawls, etc.; three hundred ten became professional paupers; sixty became thieves; and seven were convicted of murder. Only twenty became tradesman, and ten of those twenty learned their trade while serving in a penitentiary.

JONATHAN EDWARDS embraced the things of God and taught them to his children. Jacob Jukes mocked the things of God. And the fruit of both men is apparent. [Courson, Jon. Courson's Application Commentary: Vol 2 : Psalms-Malachi. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006, S. 97.]

Verse 8 prophesies what the result will be if we don’t teach our children the Word of God. “And not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Four sins that result from not obeying God are listed. The stubbornness of those in Israel who refused to be taught the Word was legendary (Deut 9:27; Jud 2:19, Jer 3:17; 7:24; 9:14; 11:8; etc.). The rebellious are those who won’t listen to God. The “unprepared in heart” are those who refuse to establish themselves in the Word and way of the Lord. The last listed are the unfaithful or those who have other priorities that are more important to them than faithfulness to God.

A man came home from work to find his HOUSE IN CHAOS. His children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud. Inside the house, a lamp had been knocked over, the throw rug was wadded against a wall, and the living room was littered with toys and clothing. Dishes filled the kitchen sink, cereal was spilled on the counter, and a broken glass lay under the table. The dad went up the stairs, stepping over toys and piles of clothes, looking for his wife. She was still in bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. “Never mind my day,” he said, “What happened here today?” She said, “You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what I did today? Well today I didn’t do it.”

A wife not taking care of her house would eventually be problematic. But parents not raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord will find their children’s earthly tent in far worse condition.


Let’s bring all this together. Mothers, you can make a significant spiritual impact in your family. You can do that by Teaching our Children:

- God’s Greatness:

- God’s Word

- to Trust God and

- to Obey God.

Each generation must hear the story of salvation and so choose to trust God. Only then can your family and the next generation be sure of the blessing of the Lord.

I want to close this morning by reading a poem entitled, “My Mother.”

My Mother
Your love, I know—I’ve seen your tears;
You’ve given to me my life.
You’ve walked through hours and days and years
Of heartache, toil and strife.

To see that I could have the best
That you could give to me,
You gave up needs and often rest—
You viewed eternity.

To do His will my highest call
And by your special care
I stood and walked and did not fall,
You held me up in prayer.

Though strands of gray may brush your hair,
And miles divide our way,
I know that by your quiet prayer
You’ve helped me day by day.

You’ve shown me how to give, to share
To put my own needs last.
You’ve helped me see and be aware
That life is so soon past.

To spite your love I would not dare,
For there’s not another
Who spreads her gentle love and care
Like you—My Loving Mother.

Let’s close our service differently today. I want to applaud you mothers who take the task seriously of making a spiritual impact in the lives of your children. As Proverbs 31:28 says, “Her children arise and call her blessed…” We stand up this morning and call you blessed & thank you for pouring your lives into ours.

Would everyone, but mothers, STAND & SAY, “You are blessed” to the mothers seated around you.... Ready... 1, 2, 3... “You are blessed!”

Proverbs 31:30 says that, “...a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” We praise God for those mothers who worship and adore the Lord and who pass this legacy on to their children. You have blessed us, & you are blessed!

Let us now applaud mothers and give thanks to God for them!

Will you bow as we conclude our service in prayer. Heavenly Father, You know that mothering, though a wonderful calling, is a demanding task, filled with anxious moments and wearisome days. We ask You will restore and refresh every mother here today. And we also pray for our mothers these words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians: That their love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that they may approve the things that are excellent, that they may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Amen.

Thank you. Happy Mother’s Day.