Rev. Stephen Snodgrass
Our Duty To Declare
"I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:” Psalms 78:2-7
Psalm seventy-eight both a historical and maschil psalm. It is a historical psalm, due to the fact that it calls to memory the past workings of God, maschil or instructional, because it charges each generation with the duty to declare it’s heritage or beginnings to those that follow after them. There are varying opinions as to this psalms author or historical setting, but regardless of these things, I believe that it charges the people of God with their duty to declare the workings of God. On this commentator, John Phillips writes, “We ignore the voice and testimony of history at our peril. God has always involved Himself in human history, and He always will. The past is the great interpreter of the present and the great safeguard of the future.”
One of Satan’s greatest tools is to silence the voices of the past and hinder the people of God from drawing strength from the victories of yesterday. If he were to have his way, we would live as a defeated people and eventually lose our faith in the God that wants to fight our battles for us. Thus, we are challenged to “overcome by the word of our testimony.” What is a testimony? It is something that has been witnessed by one and is declared as a fact. It is a fact that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. It is a fact that He gives us grace and helps us along the way. It is a fact that He is alive and reigns within the heart of the believer. When we testify to these facts as we have witnessed them in our own lives and hearts, we have strength for the battle. We are challenged to declare the works of God to each generation.
We have a duty to declare to our children, their heritage. Quoting from Philips again, “Of all the attitudes a parent can adopt, the worst surely is to say, as so many do: “I am not going to force religion on my children.” I am going to let them make up their own minds when they are old enough.” So in the meantime,, during their impressionable years, the world forces its views upon them; godless teachers and companions mold and fashion their tender minds and hearts. God holds parents accountable for the spiritual instruction of their children.
“God recognizes no generation gap. The gap is bridged, age after age, by the diligent teaching of the Word of God. The result? “That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” What God wants is a spiritual chain reaction. Truth my father held will become truth I hold, truth I hold will become truth my sons hold. But it is not truth I hold just because my father held it. It is truth I hold because it is true. It is truth I hold because it is the truth; I recognize it as truth, and I pass it on as the truth. God has commanded this kind of instruction, and He will bless it.”
As I accept this challenge to pass on to the next generation the glories of the pass, I do not want to diminish in any measure the truth. From time to time, I listen to the preachers of truth from yesterday. As I listen to Percy Trueblood explain doctrine, Dale Yocum preach practical holiness, Glen Griffith describe heaven, and Glen Patterson thunder home the truth, I purpose to pass this on to my children. As I listen to Gene Phillips call sinners to repentance or hear T. M. Anderson give an altar call, I’m reminded of the conviction of the past and made sadly aware of the total lack of that same conviction in our churches today. Some would have us totally disregard the preachers of the past, and adopt liveless, faithless, convictionless method of worship and devotion. Some have reflected on the “foolishness” of the preaching of the past and encourage us to embrace a more sophisticated and less dramatic style of delivery. Let me be clear, I in no manner indorse “foolish preaching,” but rather Holy Spirit anointed preaching that might appear foolish to some. Pastors and evangelist, we are called to preach the Word “in season and out of season.” Preach the truth and God will honor it every time.
We have a duty to share with the lost, their hope. We have a duty to declare the grace of God to the lost. Our time is running out. There are many still to be told about the goodness and the grace of God. There are many to be told that there is still room at the foot of the Cross of Calvary. The songwriter penned, “though millions have come, there is still room for one…yes there’s room at the cross for you.”
Recently I sat down with one of our seasoned saints and she opened her Bible and began to read from Joel, chapter two. As she shared with me, her interpretation of the scripture, I began to see the call to revival very clearly. We have been commissioned to “blow the trumpet in Zion.” Today is our day to pass on to the generations to come the torch of holiness. We have a goodly heritage and we must guard it and share it.