The Old Testament book of Judges reads something like a soap opera. The main characters are the ancient Israelites, fresh from coming into the Promised Land; God, the One who brought them into the land with a series of miraculous events and divine interventions; and, of course, the Judges, the men and women who ruled in the land.
Moving through the chapters of Judges is full of adventures and misadventures. It is a sad downward spiral of people forsaking the worship of God; God getting their attention; the people awakening to their dire condition and crying out to God; God sending a Judge to save them; the people slipping into a worse condition; and, the cycle starting all over again with more disastrous results and brokenness than before.
In chapter 2, we get the clue as to where it all began and why it kept happening. Tucked away in the middle of these verses is this cryptic and passive phrase: “After a while the people of Joshua’s generation died, and the next generation did not know the LORD or any of the things he had done for Israel.”
There we have it. The first generation of Israelites just plain failed to pass on their values, their experiences, and their knowledge to their children. They simply were not intentional about providing the kind of education to their kids that would let them know who God is and what He did for them.
The next generation will not know God unless this present generation takes to heart the mandate to graciously teach and develop their children in the words and ways of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t just magically happen.
What are some ways you can pass on the grace and truth of Jesus to the next generation? How can you do it in a way that is loving and compelling, and not boring and pedantic? If you are not confident in your familiarity of God, how might you go on a discovery with your kids or grandkids to find out more?
Lord God Almighty, you have acted in the past with mighty deeds and gracious ways. Help and enable your people to pass on their love for Jesus to the next generation so that your kingdom breaks into the generations and your will be done here on earth as it is always done in heaven. Amen.