The blog was silent for the past few weeks due to travel and writing of The Power of Purpose. Below is an excerpt. You can get a free copy by subscribing to the blog. If you are already subscribed you can use the contact form.
Raising Your Children to Take the Land
Tucked away in the first few chapters of the obscure book of Judges is an instructive narrative for any parent who wants to disciple his or her children in the faith. Perhaps Timothy’s mother thought about this story as she brought Timothy up in the faith.
The book of Judges begins with the transition from Joshua’s conquering generation to the children of those conquerors. That first generation was too young to be held responsible for not taking the land the first time. As children they had seen God miraculously feed their whole nation in the wilderness. Now, after forty-years of wandering, the time had come for them to conquer the Promised Land. God began to move. They watched in awe as God split the Jordan River, tore down the walls of Jericho, and gave many of the fortified cities into their hands. That generation experienced God’s power firsthand.
But unfortunately, their children were a different story. God’s Word makes this observation:
After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. (Judges 2:10-11).
Instead of conquering, that new generation had become complacent. But you may ask, “How could they help it? They were already in the Promised Land. All the enemies had been defeated.”
Not so! Scripture records that God had left enemies in the land. Why? God’s Word tells us that it was to test that generation and to teach them war.
These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendents of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience)…They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands… (Judges 3:1-4)
I will use [these nations] to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their forefathers did. (Judges 2:22)
God had left enemies in the land so that this new generation could also come to know him just as their fathers had. If this generation had pursued those enemies, they would have come to know the Lord and experience his power. In a strange way, as a result of fighting, they would have known peace. Instead, they did not drive out the enemies God left for them. Because they sought a complacent peace, they ended up being harassed, not knowing God, and serving the idols of the land.
Take the Land
Can you see the obvious lesson for us? Every generation must have its own experience of God and often that first hand faith comes from “taking the land.” Second generation Christians may not have a powerful conversion story to look back on. but they can still come to know God in a deep way as they seek to fulfill God’s command to “Take the land.” What “land” is there to take? As C. S. Lewis has stated, “Christianity thinks that a great many things have gone wrong in the world that God made and God insists, and insists very loudly, in our putting them right again.” God has left work to be done to see if each generation will be conquering or complacent.
More coming in the next few days….