“THE CHILDREN’S CHILDREN” (Psalm 103)
By Rev. Jeremy Stopford, Retired Pastor, Father’s Day, 2014
TODAY’S SPECIAL: “To George Washington ”
A young boy on his way to school one morning passed the outhouse by the pond behind his home.
All of a sudden he got a wild urge to push the outhouse into the pond, so with a running start he knocked it over and watched it roll a few times then slowly sink under the surface as he ran off toward school.
In class that day, they learned about how George Washington cut down the cherry tree, but when confronted about it he told his father the truth and thus did not get a whipping for the deed. So he decided to use this strategy if questioned about the outhouse when he got home.
As he approached his house, he saw his father on the porch brandishing a big switch.
When he got close enough his father said, “Boy, I’m only gonna ask this one time … what do you know about the outhouse getting pushed into the pond?”
The boy swallowed hard and said, “Dad, just as George Washington cut down the cherry tree, but decided to tell the truth, I must admit to you that I pushed the outhouse into the pond.”
With that his father grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and began to give him a good ole country whippin’. The boy cried out, “But Dad, George Washington’s dad didn’t whip him!”
“Yes son,” the father replied, “that is true, but George Washington’s dad was not IN the cherry tree when he cut it down!”
Today is our nation’s “Father’s Day” – a holiday honoring fathers, created to complement the already existing Mother’s Day. It was first suggested in 1909! But believe it or not it was not signed into law until 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson! The reason for the delay? Congress people were afraid of its commercialism, much like what happened to Mother’s Day!.
Scripture has many encouragements to fathers, but one of my favorite is found in the use of the phrase “children’s children”.
“May you live to see your children’s children” (Ps. 128:6).
“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children” (Prov. 13:22)
“Children’s children a crown to the aged.” (Prov. 17:6)
Psalm 103 is filled with classic truths for us today. PRAYER Turn to Psalm 103
I. AN HISTORY LESSON (vs. 1-12) David’s focus: REVIEW
I hated history in school! Did you? I hated having to learn FACTS, you know, those facts that you would NEVER have to use again. I hated history! BUT after high school I loved it – because I was no longer being tested on the facts!
As you read Psalm 103, read these verses as David giving an history lesson, in personal, private praise before the Lord!
Note David concludes this section with a classic line on forgiveness (vs. 10-12):
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Why is this lesson so astounding? Well, do you know where “NORTH” is? Of course! We “head north”. We “live in the north”. We can even go to the NORTH Pole. Or if we have lots of money, why, we could even go to the SOUTH Pole!!!
But EAST and WEST never meet! And when we come to the cross, our sins are removed THAT FAR from God! Our sins NEVER MEET with an holy God, because He removed them all at the expense of His Son at the cross!
Can I hear an “AMEN!”?
II. A FATHERLY LESSON (v. 13) David’s focus: RELATIONSHIP
In verse 13 David changes directions, from a Review of HISTORY to a Focus on his RELATIONSHIP with fatherhood:
“As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.”
David reveals purpose: the compassion of a father!
ILLUSTRATION.: “A New Father Funny”
Soon after the mother left, the baby started to cry. The new father did everything he could think of to do but the baby wouldn’t stop crying. Finally, the dad got so worried he decided to take the infant to the doctor.
After the doctor listened to all that the father had done to get the baby to stop crying, the doctor began to examine the baby’s ears, chest and then down to the diaper area.
When he undid the diaper, he found that the diaper was indeed full.
“Here’s the problem,” the doctor said. “He needs a change.”
The father was very perplexed, “But the diaper package says it’s good for up to 10 pounds!”
Note: “compassion” can be defined as “mercy”. And when you think “mercy”, you must think of THE CROSS!
While your earthly father might not have been merciful, you are invited to a relationship with the God – the Heavenly Father – Who IS merciful!
III. A GRAND-FATHERLY LESSON (vs. 14-18) David’s focus: LEGACY
“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.”
This lesson is HUGE- we think TODAY. God thinks ETERNITY
Did you catch the divine lessons in the Scriptures:
We are mortal – God is eternal (vs. 14-17a)
God is everlasting – His focus is as well (vs. 17b-18)
The key is in the word “keep” (v. 18). It means “to protect, to guard with urgency”. In action it means “a legacy protected”.
WHOSE legacy? GOD’S legacy!
God thinks legacy – not only for today, and for the next generation, but for the generations to come! And we must, too!
Even for those without children or grandchildren! For we think “family”. God thinks “the whole world”:
“For God so loves THE WORLD that HE GAVE His only Son,
that WHOSOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
CLOSING PRAISE vs. 19-22
The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.
Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Close in prayer