READING: Judges 1-2
We’ve heard this truth before in our readings this year. Today, we hear it again. Perhaps the Word includes it again because we need to hear it again: all of us have a tendency to forget what God has done in the past. Even the Hebrews, God’s chosen people, did that.
The book of Judges gives us this brief summary of the Hebrew history to that point, a summary that is both celebratory and ominous: “The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel” (Joshua 2:7). During Joshua’s lifetime, the people generally followed the Lord. Then, they continued to do so during the lifetime of Joshua’s generation who lived longer than he did — that is, those who had experienced the power of God as He led His people. They had seen His mighty hand at work.
The next generation, though, went astray: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” (Joshua 2:10). How was it that the next generation did not know what God had done for His people? It must be that the previous generation, even while they remembered God’s hand, did not do a good job of relaying those memories to their offspring. Perhaps they taught about God rather than about knowing God. Maybe the next generation simply received the blessings of their fathers without realizing the grace of God that produced them.
Either way, we’re reminded that we have no guarantee that our children will follow God — particularly if we don't ground them in the stories of God’s previous provision and grace. Parents, do your children know not only the stories of the Bible, but also the stories of how God has guided you? Saved you? Protected you? Provided for you? Are you teaching them about God, or are you showing them how to know God? Are they reaping the blessings of God without understanding the source of those blessings? If so, the consequences can be traumatic in the future.
ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps:
- Tell your children or your grandchildren one of the ways God has taken care of you in the past. Give them a memory that will make them grateful to God.
- Pray specifically that your offspring won’t forget God.
PRAYER: “Father, keep the next generation in my line from forgetting You. Remind me every day to tell them of Your goodness.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Judges 3-5