“Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.”
I recently found a video on the internet that showed Dr. Jack Hyles’ ministry, my former pastor who God used to help build the great ministry of the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, to the largest Sunday school of his day. It was a tremendous ministry. My wife and I often talk about what we remember about the ministry because we were a part of the great days in this ministry.
Because of the impact that this ministry had on my life, I often refer to it, thinking that everyone knows about it. However, what is very real in my mind, the present generation has never seen. I sent this video to one of the young adult men who is a leader in our church and asked him to watch it. After he watched it, his response to me was that he didn’t realize how massive the ministry was and the impact it had on its area. He said that he had heard about the ministry and had even thought that it was a large ministry, but he never really realized how great the ministry was until he saw the video.
This is exactly what the verse above is teaching. Psalm 44:1 says, “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.” You will notice in Psalm 44:1 that they had heard what was told them, but they hadn’t seen it. In other words, they heard about it but never understood the magnitude of what God had done. However, the verse above is different when it says, “…we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.” Something changed in the verse above, and that was that it was no more hearsay, but it was experience. Somebody told the next generation about the works of God and then reproduced those same works so that it was not just a story to the next generation, but it was part of their lives.
My friend, we are one generation away from what we have seen becoming just a story to the next generation. We cannot take for granted that the next generation knows what we have seen. At the writing of this devotion, I am in my fifties, and what I have seen, I cannot assume that the next generation understands. Somebody must tell them and show them what these great works are all about. Two things I want to remind you about the verse above.
First, don’t assume that the next generation knows or understands what you have seen God do in your life. You cannot let the works of the previous generation die. You must not let the lazy, pharisaical generation who criticizes the previous generation to shame you into not talking about the great works of the past generation. The only reason the lazy, pharisaical generation hates the previous generation is because it shines a light on their worldliness and lack of passion for souls. You must keep alive all the works that you have seen God do in your life by telling the next generation about them.
Second, you must reproduce those same works so that the next generation not only has heard about them, but has also experienced them. God is very capable of doing again what you have seen Him do in the past if you are willing to make the same sacrifice and work as hard as the previous generation did. Don’t just let history be history, but let history become the catalyst for God to do the same works again in your life.