A lost generation
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
Things are passed from Generation to Generation. Here is an example of something that belonged to my parents and they chose to give it to the first child that got married. I got it now and will give it to one of my kids. We transfer our values and ethics to our children, so they grow to be great human beings. We give them a foundation upon which they will build their lives.
God gave his people the law (commandments and decrees) as their foundation. Yahweh always reminded the people to remember and never forget the LORD.
Joshua challenged the nation of Israel; in the last chapter of the book of Joshua we read how God fulfilled his promise to his people-to give them an inheritance. (A fertile land). Joshua challenged the nation to be faithful to God as they went to enjoy their inheritance. The book ends with the nation committing herself to serve and worship God. They pledged themselves to never forget the LORD and they did it as long as Joshua and the elders of that generation were with them.
Then two chapters in the book of Judges we have a rude awakening. There is generation of Jews who grew up not knowing the LORD.
The Scripture tells us that the nation of Israel served and worshiped God throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the elders who outlived him and seen all the LORD had done for Israel (v.7) This generation experienced God’s deliverance firsthand, they witnesses God’s wonder on their behalf. They knew what God had done, and more importantly, they experienced it.
After this generation died (was gathered to their fathers), another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. (vv.10-11). They forsook the LORD and saved idols (Baals) fertility gods. The gods of the people around them.
Why do we have a lost generation, a generation that didn’t know God?
One of the first things I noticed which could have contributed to a generation not knowing the LORD. The new generation didn’t get to experience God the same way Joshua’s generation did. This new generation didn’t see the parting of the red Sea or the providence of God leading the nation by night and day. They didn’t know the LORD or what he did in Israel. Even though they did not get to witness the miracles firsthand, they should have known who the LORD if the leaders had continued to review their history and to keep them accountable to obeying the LORD.
Why a lost generation:
Lack leadership in Israel (After Joshua and the elders were gone no one challenged the nation to remain true to the LORD.)
Israel served the LORD during the lifetime of Joshua and the elders of that generation. When they were all dead, no one picked up the baton to hold Israel accountable to being faithful to the LORD. Israel’s attitude during this time was: “whatever is right for you, whatever makes you happy”. (relativism) They forsook the commands and laws the LORD had established with them. They had abandoned their foundation and there was no leader to bring Israel back to the LORD; to challenge the nation the same way Joshua did.
The nation grew complacent.
Complacency would make you forget God. Think about this. They had everything they could possibly want. God had warned the nation about forgetting the LORD. Det.8:7-14
They had land, property, peaceful life, no enemies’ threat, and nice homes. And they didn’t have to work for all this; no wonder they grew self-centered and conceited and forgot The LORD. They had no time to review laws and decrees when they were living large.
No fear of God in them and therefore, they would engage in sin.
(vv.11-15) The Israelites did evil in the eyes of God: they forgot the LORD and went after idols, man-made gods.
–the gods of the people around them (v.12) fertility gods. The gods of the culture in which they lived.
Their actions made God angry and he delivered them to robbers who came and ransacked them. Israel could not resist their enemies because now the hand of God was against them due to their sin. Sin separates people from God; it makes us his enemies.
Israel’s complacency is due in part to their lack of leadership during this time in their history, but also due to:
The parents stopped instructing their children regarding the LORD. Det.6:1-2, 6-12
The parents neglected to give their kids the same foundation they were given. God’s laws and decrees. God’s instructions were to be passed on from one generation to another. Same foundation for all the generations. But we read about a generation that didn’t know the LORD. You can read about what lead to this. When parents don’t take on themselves to educate their kids, when they neglect to give them a solid foundation; the children will use someone else’s foundation or ideology to build up their lives. In the case of the Israelites, they used the gods of the people around them.
A parent was once asked why kids leave the church after they go to college. His response showed his experience. He said, “I introduced my kids to church, but I failed to introduce them to Jesus.” This happens a lot in our nation, kids are just being introduced to church, church activities, some of which have little to do with knowing Jesus.
The nation of Israel failed to introduce their children to the LORD and as a result they grew up not knowing God.
When there is lack of leadership in the churches and at homes; when we grow complacent, too comfortable in our lives; too busy to do God’s work; when we neglect to build a foundation for our kids, for the new generation, then they too will grow up not knowing who Jesus is.
If we don’t want to lose this generation and the next, we must commit to ourselves to introduce them to the LORD. We must not grow complacent that we introduce our kids to everything else in this world but fail to introduce them to Jesus. We as parents must set the example for our kids; we must constantly strive to know God personally. My parents introduced me to Jesus early in my life, they just did not pass along things for me, they gave me a foundation for life. Now I must pass it along to my children. If God is not that evident in our lives, what makes us think he will be evident in the lives of our kids?
Jesus is called the firm foundation. He is the greatest inheritance you can give your children. The same foundation for the next generation so that tomorrow they don’t become a lost generation.