The study of one’s ancestry has taken on an entirely new dimension in the computer age. The technology and resources make it an accessible endeavor for common people. The web site Ancestry.com is an extraordinarily successful online engine with powerful tools. I have used it in recent years when researching my lost family background and found it to be amazing.
But also amazing to me is the way ancestors are so quickly forgotten in most families. When I finally met a blood relative (a cousin) from my biological, pre-adoptive family of origin, he was almost completely devoid of any stories or information farther back than our common grandparents. When we went to the family plot in the cemetery in Easton, PA, it was I who pointed out to him that our common great-grandparents were actually buried next to his own parents. He did not know that and knew nothing about them.
This loss of information does not seem to be uncommon for many people who are descended from anything less than someone rather universally famous. Most folks cannot recount anything about any ancestors more than three or four generations. But those who had ancestors who were extraordinarily famous for some reason, stories exist that they can pass down from generation to generation.
And this is the ability we have as God’s children. Our Father God – through his mighty deeds – is famous to the ultimate extreme, and his power and glory resides in the stories and accounts of what he has done. His character and works need to be passed on from generation to generation. Imagine if you were George Washington VIII … the 8th generation of the first President. Would you tell your children the story of who you are, who they are, who they are descended from … or would you just never get around to saying anything about it? Well, in Christ, we are related to the creator God of the universe. Why would we not be quick to pass on the story of that incredible connection? Why would we not daily meditate on such a blessing of relationship? How could that reality not cause us to respond in worship?
These sorts of thoughts seem to be what the Psalmist has in mind today in verses 3-7 – the portion of the Psalm of most interest relative to our theme of generational ministry. In our homes and in our church family, we need to understand the role we increasingly possess as we age – to be the mouthpiece of God’s greatness to those who are coming behind us.
1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.