Psalm 78 on Teaching and Telling

In last week’s post, Don reflected on biblical genealogies. He shared with us the thought that even these seemingly insignificant lists of names are “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness2 Timothy 3:16.

The point was made that we can learn much if we will look beyond the names. For example, when we dig a little deeper, into the lineage from Adam to Noah, we discover generational failure.

A Somber Warning

Psalm 78 is another place where we read about generational failure. In verses 9-72, Asaph records the falling away of the Israelites (from the time of their release from Egyptian captivity to the time of David). And just prior to that narrative, the Israelites are described in verse 8 as “a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

As a grandmother, I hear a somber warning when I read this chapter. But I also see HOPE. Do you see it?

“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.”    Psalm 78:1-8

A Grandparent’s Role

Yes, verse 8 describes the Israelites as “stubborn and rebellious” and “not faithful to God.” But look closely, the beginning of that verse says, “they should not be like their fathers.” These words tell me there is a way to keep the turning-away from happening.

Go back and read the passage. How do we keep the generations (our grandchildren) from becoming stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful to God?

We pass a heritage of faith in God to them, and we do this by teaching and telling.


The meaning of the Hebrew word, “teach,” is to instruct or guide. The word “guide” indicates that there is a goal to our teaching.

What is the goal? –To help our grandchildren learn to love Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, grow spiritually, and walk with the Lord all their days.

How do we work toward the goal? – We teach God’s instructions: His words, His commands, and how to live in obedience to Him.

Practical Ideas for Teaching

  1. Verbal instruction. Read the Bible together, use a catechism, work through a Bible study together, memorize Scripture together, discuss world events and what is going on in their every day life (always taking the discussion to God’s Word).
  2. Teach by example. Don’t just say it, live it. Model obedience to and love for God so that your grandchildren can see it.
  3. Show your grandchildren the big picture of the Bible. Help them to see Jesus in all of Scripture, that the entire story points to Him.
  4. Teach your grandchildren the core truths of the Christian faith (doctrine):  the existence of God; His character; the inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of the Bible; the deity, supremacy, and lordship of Jesus Christ; biblical manhood and womanhood; God’s design for marriage and the family; Christ-honoring sexuality; stewardship; and how to make wise, God-honoring choices.
  5. Go beyond the calling of words and memorizing of Scripture. Help your grandchildren be able to defend their faith – for they will be called upon to defend it in our post-Christian culture. They will most certainly have to defend it against deceptive and competing belief systems.
  6. Teach your grandchildren to fear the Lord, to stand in awe of Him (Psalm 33:8).

If our grandchildren are going to follow the Lord, we must teach them to do so.


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.”  Psalm 78:4-5a

We are to tell God’s good works – “His glorious deeds, His might, and the wonders He has done.”

This is our testimony, God’s good works in our own lives!

God has given every believer in Him, every grandparent a story. Share it with your grandchildren. Tell them of His provision, His faithfulness, His love. Recount the story of your conversion. Be honest with them about times when you have struggled in your faith and declare how God brought you through.

Practical Ideas for Telling

  1. Self-check. Always be sure your testimony is God-focused. It’s His story. All glory to Him.
  2. Keep your stories pointing to God’s Faithfulness, who He is, and what you’ve seen Him do in your own life.
  3. Tell, don’t preach.
  4. Use everyday conversational language. Don’t use churchy words.
  5. Employ various methods: have a conversation, ask questions, use creative visuals, write it down (Psalm 102:18).

Passing on a Heritage of Faith

The enemy wants nothing more than to see us sitting idly by, closed-mouthed. Our refusal to get involved, our apathy makes his job so much easier; our grandchildren – fertile soil for the planting of Satan’s seeds of doubt.

It’s really not optional. God commands it. In obedience we are to teach the Word of God and to tell of His glory so that our grandchildren will learn to love God, grow in spiritual maturity, and walk with Him all their days.


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This book contains two powerful sections. The first, Examining Our Role in Light of Scripture, presents readers with a series of Scripture passages — each one on the topic of biblical grandparenting. Included with each Scripture passage is list of questions to help the grandparent reflect on their role and their effectiveness. There are also pages for journaling thoughts and reflections as one examines the portrait. The second section, Grandparenting with Wisdom, shares practical ways for grandparents to influence and impact the lives of their grandchildren. This section looks specifically at how our attitudes, words, and actions affect our grandparenting.

4 comments on “Psalm 78 on Teaching and Telling

  1. Hi Deborah! I love this post, especially the part about, “How do we keep the generations (our grandchildren) from becoming stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful to God? We pass a heritage of faith in God to them, and we do this by teaching and telling.” Close to this grandma’s heart for sure! Passing on the heritage is an important part of the grandparent’s role! Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  2. These are, indeed, important practices to commit to as parents and grandparents, Deborah. As I look back on my years as a parent, I feel like I did fairly well with the teaching piece, but did not weave enough of the telling piece into my everyday conversations with my kids. I wish I had been better to point out how God was working in my life and theirs every single day. But you know I’ll be doing it with my grandson and any other grandchildren who come along! Thanks for this powerful reminder! I’ll be pinning, my friend!

    • I think the “telling” is the piece that requires more effort and intention. Sometimes we don’t think our story is all that big of a deal, or we simply get caught up in the day-to-day and don’t think to do it. Isn’t that one of the wonderful and remarkable things about God’s grace? — Always, always there is a second chance! Thanks for stopping by and for pinning, my friend!

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