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)
Andy Stanley defines faith as "Believing that God is who he says he is and that he'll do all that he's promised to do." This verse seems to reflect that definition.
Note what happens.
The generation that defeated most of the promise(d) land (under Joshua's leadership and faith) died off. The next generation grew up with the job unfinished. The writer tells us two things about this new generation
1) They didn't know the Lord, and
2) They didn't know what the Lord had done.
This directly led to their inability to defeat their enemies. They did not know the Lord or what he was like. Neither did they know what he'd done.
This is stunning to me.
We're not talking about 3 or 4 generations later. We're talking the NEXT generation. This is their kids, or, best case, their grandkids. But still, this is gross spiritual negligence.
The one thing Moses preached over and over again was for them to remember the Lord and what he'd done. Then to teach their kids to do the same.
Joshua's last words were the same. Remember the Lord and all he's done for us. Pass this along.
As a result, the nation of Israel goes from dominate and full of faith to weak and apostate.
I realize they did not have the Holy Spirit in them like Christ-followers do today. That's a huge difference to be sure. Perhaps that's the point.
Perhaps God wants his people to look back and see that no matter what he teaches them to do, they won't follow through without God's spirit at work in and through them.
So key points to note are:
+ Faith only survives if it's passed on.
+ The Holy Spirit is essential in fully and faithfully following the Lord and leading others to do the same.
The Lord gives us the same command. And, even with the Holy Spirit, we sometimes fail as well.
First, the Lord wants us to know and follow him and all that he's done. And he wants us to lead others to do the same (pass it on).
Second, the Lord reminds us that we will not fully and faithfully follow him without his Spirit in us.
If we miss these lessons, it only takes one generation for faith in the Lord to evaporate.
Imagine what would happen if every Christ-follower not only knew the Lord but rested in who he is and all he's done. Imagine if we passed that on to family, friends and neighbors. Imagine if we fully relied on God's spirit to empower us to do this.
For Israel, they'd have conquered the entire promise(d) land. They would have been free from enemies within and safe from their enemies on the outside. They would continue to pass along their faith generation after generation.
For us, if every Christ-follower did this, we'd see exponential growth in the Church no matter how hostile our culture becomes. Deep AND wide. We would see a Church community that loved their God and loved all people fully and faithfully generation after generation.
What's God saying to you today?
What are you going to do about it?