TEACH ME!

Have you ever heard those words?  “Teach me”, says the young child who wants to do a new and exciting task, perhaps tying his shoes.  Here’s a note that one of the grandchildren wrote to his Mom – you can feel the excitement as he passed this milestone of childhood.

Milestone - can tie his own shoes

“Teach me”, says the adolescent who desperately wants to learn to drive the family car.

“Teach me”, says the college student when learning in a career path, hoping to find his/her way in the world after graduation.

Taylor school

“Teach me”, says the new employee who is faced with something that is both daunting and exciting.

“Teach me”, says the newly wed wife to her husband, when she is trying to make his favorite meal that his mother made for him all the time.

“Teach me”, says the husband who wants to know how to help and comfort his wife as they learn to be man and wife.

“Teach me”, says the older woman to her grandchild when she is faced with a smart phone and doesn’t know how to use it.

We often say those words, and usually they stem from a significant desire to learn, or possibly from a need to do something unfamiliar.

There are things that we need to learn in our everyday lives but there are also things that we should be learning about our spiritual life, specifically about our God, His Son and His Holy Spirit.   Indeed, our hearts should cry “Teach me!” to the Lord so we will know what God desires.

1 “Now this is the commandment–the statutes and the rules–that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, … 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 6:1, 7   

Note that we are not to just learn God’s commandments for ourselves but we are to teach them to others, specifically to our children.  The command is not just for when we are in “school” but when we sit in the house, when we walk along the way, when we are traveling in the car, when se are seated around the table, when we lie down and when we rise.  God’s Word should be on our lips throughout the day, not just a few designated times in the week!

David repeats “Teach me” in numerous psalms.  Here are just a few examples;

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:4-5

29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! … 66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. … 135 Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.

Psalm 119:29, 66, 135

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 51:6

So, what does God teach us?  His paths, His truth, His salvation, His law, His good judgment, His statutes, and His wisdom, just to name a few things!

The New Testament does not ignore teaching.  Rather, Paul says this – teach people what I have taught you so that they can teach others the gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2

We don’t “go it alone” when we teach others, rather Jesus has given us His Holy Spirit to guide and teach us as we live our lives in Him.  See John 14:26 for this great promise:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

At the end of time, Scripture tells us that all will know God and will serve Him.  We read in Jeremiah the following:

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah 31:34  

What a blessing!  Can you imagine this? At some point in the future, we won’t need to teach others of the Lord Jesus, all will know Him.  Praise His Holy Name!

“Teach me” should be our heart cry every morning and every evening.  Then, when some difficulty arises, don’t be surprised.  God is answering your prayer and is teaching you something that you need to learn as you grow in the likeness of His Son.   Until the time Jeremiah foretells, let us continue to ask God to teach us so that we will become the image of our Savior, Redeemer, Lord, Jesus Christ.

Father, help me to grow in the likeness of Jesus.  Help me reflect His nature and His love to those around me.  Enable me to see what needs to be done and then give me the ability and wisdom to accomplish the task You have laid before me.  In dark times, help me to remember that all things are in Your Hand and that trials are lessons masked in difficulty, sometimes painful, but always working good for me and for others.

OUT WITH THE OLD

We have often heard the phrase “out with the old, in with the new” and with December 31 rapidly approaching, it seems an appropriate statement — out with 2018 and in with 2019.

We recall the end of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life when the whole town rescues Jimmy Stewart from debtor’s prison on Christmas Eve.  As they arrive to bring needed funds, they sing “Auld Lang Syne”. 

Every New Year’s Eve, when the clock counts down the seconds to the beginning of the new year, we sing, or hear the singing of, “Auld Lang Syne”.  Specifically, we hear it played and sung when we watch the ball drop at Times Square in New York at the exact moment when the new year begins in the Eastern Time Zone.  Across the globe, this song frequently has its first notes sung at the end of one year and its last note sung in the first moments of the next year. 

But, this year, I wondered what, exactly, we were singing when we spouted those words from our lips.

Apparently, I am not the only one who has questioned this tradition.  One article I read said that historians call this the “song that nobody knows” but that we all try to sing on an annual basis!   But, when you sing “for auld lang syne,” what are you saying?

The song was known as early as 1588 when it was part of the oral tradition of getting drunk and singing.   In 1788, the Scottish poet Robert Burns said that “Auld Lang Syne” was an old song dictated to him by an old man so that he could put the word down on paper.  Burns, therefore, did not write the poem but he put it together from what the old man told him. 

After getting new life from Burns, “Auld Lang Syne” spread out into the world of pop culture, particularly in his homeland of Scotland. Meant to bring up feelings of nostalgia and a love of old relationships and times gone by, the song is still sung right before the clock hits midnight in Scotland and in many places across the world.

But, really… what do those old-timey English words translate to?

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, / And never brought to mind? / Should old acquaintance be forgot, / And auld lang syne.”

In the most literal sense, auld lang syne can be roughly translated to “old long since.”  Since those words don’t form a real phrase in modern English, they really mean “long, long ago,” “a long time ago,” or “days gone by.” So, when you sing “auld lang syne, my dear” in the chorus, you’re essentially cheering the old days of the past.

The full text of the song presents a series of rhetorical questions, all amounting to the point that unless you are totally devoid of any emotion or memory, that is unless you are dead inside, you ought to be able to recognize the value of reconnecting with old friends and pondering old times.

This thought is very consistent with Scripture.  In the Bible we read much about remembering. 

God says that He will remember:

I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

Genesis 9:15-16

“And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah 31:34

God commands that we should remember certain things:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Exodus 20:8

So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.”

Numbers 15:40

Jesus told us to remember Him and His words:

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.””

Luke 22:19

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:26

The angels told the disciples to remember after Jesus’ resurrection:

“He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

Luke 24:7

And we should remember the days of our past:

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.”

Psalm 143:5

While the song “Auld Lang Syne” had its genesis in a drinking song, and while it is often sung now with alcohol flowing freely, for the Christian the song could remind us of the very words of David in Psalm 143.  Remember the days of old.  Think and meditate on what God has done.  Consider and ruminate on the work of His hands.  Let the new year be a springboard for your spirit to sing out praises to our Lord and Savior, to our Redeemer-King.    

So, out with the old and in with the new … But don’t forget the old times, the old friends, the old experiences.  Don’t forget the wondrous things God has done for you in the past and ponder on His love and mercy, His grace and goodness, His incredible salvation through Jesus Christ. 

Let your memories thrive so that your new memories will be ever so much more meaningful.

Father, I pray that we would take Auld Lang Syne and use that song speaking of days gone past to remind us of Your mighty works in, through and for us throughout our lives.  May we praise our Lord and Savior for His love and mercy in the past and in the new year as well.  May we be witnesses of Your love to others, through Jesus Christ our Lord.