Shepherding the Next Generation (Pass On the Baton) – Psalms 78:65-72
In a quick review – – We have learned that God set the standard (He created the baton) for spiritual instruction to be pass down from one generation to the next. The standard is His Word. Through hearing and listening to that Word, we will know more about Him, His teachings and His instructions for all of mankind. God’s desire is that those of us who know Him, “pick up the baton” and willingly share it with our children, their children and the generations to come. We also learned that God gave a stern warning that there are consequences if we “drop the baton” and fail to tell the next generations of our God. Simply put by God – We will have “a stubborn and rebellious generation. A generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Psalm 78:8)
As we come now to this last portion of Psalm 78, in verses 65-72, we see that God intervenes on behalf of this “stubborn and rebellious generation” and brings about a plan of hope.
Verses 65-67 says, “Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a mighty man who shouts because of wine. And He beat back His enemies; He put them to a perpetual reproach. Moreover He rejected the tent of Joseph and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.”
God chose NOT to use this stubborn and rebellious generation. His blessing was not upon them. The tribe of Ephraim and its children were so against the Lord God that He chose to not use them at all in accomplishing His plans and purposes for Israel. God totally rejected them because of their ungodliness! He had to reject them. Their stubbornness, rebellion, ungodliness and hardheartedness went completely against the ways of God. He wanted nothing to do with them. To be totally rejected by a Holy God is a terrible thing.
God chose to use a different tribe. Verses 68-69 tells us, “But He chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which He loved. And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He has established forever.”
Judah was not a perfect people either. Not by any means. They disobeyed and dishonored God at the best of times. But, they were willing to repent and return to God though, where the tribe of Ephraim never did. The difference with Judah was this; they had a heart after God! They had a heart’s desire to love, obey and follow after the things of God. And that is what God saw in them. God saw their heart! Judah loved God!
Out of that tribe of Judah, God chose one man to “pass the baton.” Verses 70-71 says, “He also chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young. He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.”
David was the man of God’s choosing. God took him from the sheep pens, from tending his father’s sheep and brought him to the place where he would shepherd God’s people. Out of all of Israel, God picked this man of His choosing to do the most incredible task of shepherding His chosen people. What an honor for David. What a blessing for the people of Israel.
The word “shepherd” in this passage is the word meaning “a teacher or a guide.” David became Israel’s teacher, or their guide. God passed the baton on to David. David joyfully received the baton, and thus received the challenge of a lifetime. “Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done” (verse 4). David passed on to the children of Israel the things that he had learned about God, about His teachings and about His instructions. He was careful not to “drop the baton” at any time. He was faithful to the task God had given him to do.
Verse 72 tells us what kind of a teacher, a guide he was. “So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” With integrity of heart and skillfulness of hands, David “passed the baton” on to the next generation of God’s people.
Could YOU be a David within your own generation? Do you know and love the Lord God? Could you take what He has taught you and “pass the baton” to your children, their children and the generations to come?
I just think we need more people like David to join the relay race of life. Time is getting short. The finish line is in plain sight. We need more people to accept the “baton” from God and run with it. We need more people who will not “drop the baton” and fail to teach our children about God. We need people who will make sure our next generation is not a stubborn and rebellious generation, but one that has a heart turned toward God. We need people who will shepherd our next generation with “integrity of heart and a skillfulness of hands.”
Is that YOU?
God’s holding out the baton. Will you accept it and run?