Something went terribly wrong. The Lord brought his people out of cruel bondage in Egypt with a mighty arm. He destroyed their enemies. He gave them a good land flowing with milk and honey, the Promised Land. All seemed well. Surely they would experience the blessings of God for many generations. But they did not, why?
In the Book of Judges we read that, “another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel” (2:10, NIV). After the faithful generation of Joshua fought their enemies and secured the land, things took a bad turn. Generation after generation wandered away from the Lord’s truth and the Lord’s blessing disappeared from their land. By the end of the Book of Judges it says that, “everyone did as he saw fit” (21:25). The result was chaos and disaster.
What went wrong? Notice that a generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. God had instructed his people to tell their children and grandchildren about his great deeds (Deuteronomy 6). In other words, tell them the stories about God, about the crossing of the Red Sea, the giving of the 10 Commandments, the wilderness wanderings, and the conquest of Canaan. In other words, tell kids Bible stories.
The generation that won great victories for God, Joshua’s generation, apparently failed in this one respect. They fought their enemies in Canaan but they failed to simply tell their children about the LORD. The result was a nation sinking into spiritual confusion, a nation that could no longer stand against its enemies. Their children and grandchildren grew up disobeying God and the country suffered.
Today we live in a land where everyone does as they see fit. Generations are growing up without hearing about God’s marvelous deeds, without learning about why it is vital to know God and to obey his commands. The people of God must obey his instruction—trust God by telling children the Bible accounts of God’s great works. God can still raise up a generation who will turn our nation back to him and his blessing.
We can passionately fight the enemies of God in order to secure the land and still lose the country. How? By not preparing a new generation of God-fearing young people who are ready to keep the faith alive. Any positive changes that we make in our society are sure to be lost if the next generation of believers is too weak to carry on the spiritual struggle. Although we may wish to, we will not erase the struggle in this age, but we can prepare our children to prevail.
We must faithfully tell children about God’s great deeds.
May God’s Spirit enable us to keep the faith and to pass it on to new generations,