“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.” Judges 2:10 (NIV)
I watched the news report in amazement. A little girl ran into the ocean for a swim while on vacation with her family. Her mother spotted a shark’s fin in the distance and instantly ran to her daughter, screaming for her to swim back to shore. Just as the mom reached her girl, the shark attacked, grabbing the girl’s legs. The mom would not let go. A nearby fisherman came to the rescue and freed the girl. The little girl survived in large part because her mom refused to let go.
I’m thankful I’ve never experienced anything like that, but it’s certainly a vivid picture of the battle we face against Satan for the lives of our children.
Whether you’re a parent, aunt, teacher or friend, you have an influential role to play in the faith of a child. Children need spiritual truth, especially in this screen-driven, morally corrupt world. How can we successfully pass our faith in Christ to the next generation?
We can look to Joshua in the Old Testament for help.
As long as he was alive, the people of Israel followed Joshua’s strong example. He proclaimed in Joshua 24:15b, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (NKJV).
Unfortunately, when Joshua and his peers died, our key verse says, “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” (Judges 2:10). While Joshua was all about how “we will serve the Lord,” the book of Judges was all about how “all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6b; 21:25b, NLT).
It makes me wonder, What happened to cause such a radical change between the book of Joshua and the very next book, Judges?
Parents stopped teaching their children what God had done for them. The people didn’t obey the repeated command to drive out all the Canaanites from the Promised Land. There was no God-fearing leadership to restrain sin and without that, “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Judges 2:11-12a, NKJV).
The bridge of faith was broken.
Perhaps it started with a touch of apathy, rationalizations and a few choice excuses. The Israelites should have fought for their lives, but they decided it would be easier to have pagan neighbors. They tolerated evil and eventually accepted it as normal. Then they went a step further. They imitated their idolatrous neighbors by serving the false god Baal, too. They wanted to fit in.
Like the children of Israel, we live in an ungodly, pagan culture. Walking with Christ means going against the flow, against the world’s system. Maybe it means not allowing certain movies in your home or prohibiting violent and obscene video games.
It means when a figurative shark comes for the soul of a child, you don’t just sit on the beach and lament. You fight with everything in you. It’s time for a generation of parents and concerned adults to rise in vigilance, stand against evil and share our stories of hope and redemption.
The next generation must know God’s goodness and mercy. This is not a time for passivity and just going with the flow. It’s time to proclaim once again with Joshua, “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15b).
Dear Lord Jesus, we live in evil days, but Your Word is unchanging. Help me share Your love with those around me, so the next generation will know the God of Israel. Forgive me for imitating the world’s system instead of following Your commandments. I dedicate my home for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Deuteronomy 6:1-2, “These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What are you doing on a regular basis to transmit your faith to your children (or to the children in your life)?
© 2018 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.