Monday, January 3, 2022

Trees and Fruit and Generations

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the passing of time, and what that means. I’ve always had an extraordinary sense of “eras” and “seasons;” intentional remembering has always been important to me.

Probably because we now live full-time in the same town as our son/wife and grandson/wife/their babies, I am acutely aware of “the generations.” (There are four now.)

My husband and myself with our son and daughter-in-law (far left) and our grandson and his wife and their son and daughter.

My husband with our daughter (2 days out from hip replacement!) and her husband and son.

(Not able to celebrate in-person Christmas with us this year, our granddaughter who is a missionary in Mexico and another granddaughter and her husband.)

Yes, we are so multi-generational now. How did this happen so quickly? See what I mean about the passing of time? Even for someone who is constantly aware of it, it’s still shocking how fast we got here!!

As a Christ-follower, I think about what these things mean for me— phrases come to mind, like…
Aging gracefully
Finishing well
Successful aging
Bearing fruit
Teaching the next generation
My Legacy

In today’s Bible study, I was looking at some relevant verses.

From Psalm 92:12-15:

12 The righteous thrive like a palm tree

and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon.
13 Planted in the house of the Lord,

they thrive in the courts of our God.

14 They will still bear fruit in old age,

healthy and green,

15 to declare, “The Lord is just;

he is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in him.”

Then when I queried for the passage about “generations,” this came up in my search. After the passage is an article about that passage.

Psalm 78:1-8
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

He established a testimony in Jacob
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
    to teach to their children,

that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,

    so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
 and that they should not be like their fathers,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast
 whose spirit was not faithful to God.



June 5, 2017 by Mike Livingstone (Lifeway editor)

In Psalm 78 Asaph addresses the importance of the home and the vital role of parents and grandparents in leading the next generation to know, love and serve God.  The psalm answers four critical questions regarding our responsibility to future generations: who, what, why, and how?


Who’s responsible for teaching the next generation? Take a look at verses 5-6: “He [God] commanded our fathers to teach … their children so that a future generation—children yet to be born—might know. They were to rise and tell their children.” Notice at least three, possibly four generations are mentioned in these verses—fathers, their children, the children yet to be born, their children.

From the time God established His covenant with Israel, He commanded parents (dads are to take the lead) to teach their children, who in turn would teach their children, who then would teach their children. The “command” to which the psalmist was referring in verse 5 is likely Deuteronomy 6:6-7. The same command is found in the New Testament, “bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). The responsibility to disciple children falls squarely on the shoulders of parents, and this requires a strong intentionality on our part.


What must we teach the next generation? Again, the answer is in verse 5: “He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children.” The first two lines of verse 5 are parallel, meaning “testimony” (or “statutes,” “decrees”) is synonymous with “the law.” The word testimony is sometimes used in the Old Testament to refer to the tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written (Ex. 25:16). This word relates to what God has required of His people. The word for law here is torah and means “instruction. In this context, it refers to the commandments in the Mosaic law. The emphasis in verse 5 is clear: it is God’s inspired and authoritative Word we must teach to our children.


Psalm 78 also answers the “why” question. “So that” in verses 6-7 means “to the end that” and points to the desired outcome of an action.

  • So that they “might know” God through His Word (v. 6)
  • So that they might trust Him (“put their confidence in God,” v. 7)
  • So that they would obey Him (“keep his commands,” v. 7).

We teach so that the next generation will know, trust, and obey God. This desired outcome goes beyond just hoping our kids will stay out of trouble. For us, it means we seek to raise up faithful and passionate followers of Jesus Christ.



 How are we to teach the next generation? Again, Psalm 78 provides answers.

  • Tell the stories of things God has done (“the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed,” v. 4).
  • Teach what God requires of us (v. 5, “a testimony … a law”).
  • Warn against sinfulness (v. 8)

All of the above requires that we be intentional about our responsibility to make disciples of the next generation.


Volumes could be/have been written on this topic. These are just my thoughts today.

#generations #aginggracefully #successfulaging #finishingwell #bearingfruit #legacy