One of the greatest days of my life was during our 2019 VBS. My oldest son Nate came to the understanding that he needed to be saved, and he bowed his head and accepted Christ. A couple weeks later he was baptized, it truly was a great day. Since Nate’s salvation I have been reminded of a fundamental truth, he needs to grow in grace. Nate accepted the Lord as savior, but I want him to be fully committed to the Lord. I want Nate to leave my house one day, and serve the Lord all on his own. I want everything I know about my Lord to be real in his life too!
If you have kids, I hope you share my aspiration that there is “no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” – 3 John 1:4. I honestly believe if I fail at everything else, and succeed at raising my children right, I will be a blessed man. As I write this, I am convicted because my actions don’t always align with my beliefs and hopes. Just because I wish well doesn’t mean it will just automatically happen. There has to be some intentionality about this thing. That isn’t just for parents, it applies to grandparents, Sunday school teachers, pastors, bus workers, mentors, and so much more.
In Judges, we find a very sad commentary. We are told that the generation after Joshua rebelled against the Lord because “(they) knew not the LORD”. How did this happen? God told them to teach their children. God instructed them to have feast, sacrifices, and services to remember. They were told to have the Word of God etched in their door, and recite it everywhere they went. Memorials were erected everywhere to remind them of the God of Israel. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!?!
I don’t want to make the same blunder in my life, and I know you don’t. The results of such forgetting the Lord are shocking, and should be avoided at all cost. I think we can identify three key failures they exhibited:
First, they only partially obeyed in driving out the inhabitants. If there is one failure that stands out, this is it. They are clearly reprimanded in Judges chapters one and two for their disobedience in driving the inhabitants out. This led to intermingling and intermarrying. They would adopt their practices and begin to serve their gods.
What an amazing warning for us. Partial obedience, no matter how honorable it may seem to others, falls short. Those who live for the Lord, and yet fail to root out sinfulness in their home and lifestyle will find their children will reject the Lord more often than not. One of the major reasons teens don’t stick around church is the disingenuousness of their own parents. Be real, be all in, be sold out.
Second, it appears they allowed religion to be more important than relationship with God. We get no indication that they didn’t follow the commandments of the Lord in offering sacrifice, tithing, following the feast days, and more. Yet you wonder how this could happen and the children not ask the questions God said they would ask, “what mean these…”. Were these teachable moments just foregone?
Be careful not to just go through the motions of religious exercise. We can become guilty at my house of just burning through prayer time before a meal because we are ready to eat. We are doing the activity, but what is the motive and heart behind that activity? What are we communicating to our children? Take time with every “religious” activity you do to make sure it is communicating a relationship with Jesus Christ to your children.
Finally, they got comfortable. God warned them that when they were comfortable in the Land they were in danger of rebellion. They got more focused on their houses and stuff than the things of God. Things got easy, and they forgot to trust in the Lord.
We have never had it easier than we do now in the Church. We have more available to us than ever before, and yet we have more complacent and feeble Christians than ever before. It amazes me how many Christians come to our church seeking programs first for their children. There is nothing wrong with programs and we have them, but I would much rather be in a spirit led church filled with God’s anointing than have a building where a bunch a events happen. Don’t communicate to your children that they are to be served and that their needs are the most important. Instead teach them to love the Lord, and fall in love with worshiping and serving Him.
We might not ever fully know why the baton was dropped from one generation to the next, but we can learn from the warning that it can happen. Let us take heed, and be cautious to raise up a generation that loves the Lord personally and deeply.
Daily Scripture Reading
Judges 1 - 2
“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”