READING: Joshua 24
“Choose this day whom you will serve.”
I read these words about Joshua’s ministry, and I at first want my ministry to end the same way: “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel” (Josh. 24:31). Joshua’s influence touched his generation and extended for some time beyond his death. Apparently, many people did indeed choose to follow the Lord when Joshua challenged them to “choose this day whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15). They followed the God who had been faithful to His people, leading them back to the Promised Land where the patriarch Joseph’s bones would be buried.
At the same time, though, Joshua 24:31 at least hints at the possibility that the days of their serving God would not last. That possibility becomes reality in the book of Judges, when the writer first reminds us of the peoples the Hebrews did not drive out (Judg. 1:27-36) – and then speaks of another generation that did not know the Lord. The obedience of the people did not last; it took only one generation before they had already forgotten the work of the Lord.
Somehow, the people apparently did not keep alive their memories of God’s work in their history. One generation failed to teach the next, and the story went decidedly downhill. As I think of my own ministry, I cannot ignore my responsibility to teach the gospel to the next generation – and to teach them, too, how important it is that they teach the next generation. The story continues because we take seriously our charge to teach others who will then teach others (2 Tim. 2:1-2).
- Thank God for those who have taught you through the years.
- Teach someone of the next generation what God has done in your life.
PRAYER: “God, use me to teach the next generation and then teach them to teach others.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Judges 2-5