"Snippets" from David

When Godly Influence Dies

There are numerous frightening statements in scripture.  Included among them should be Judges 2:10:

All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.

In my personal opinion, the generation in Israel that began the conquest of Canaan was perhaps the most devout and devoted generation of Israelites in the Old Testament.   Their leader, Joshua, knew God’s actions (a) just before Israel left Egypt and (b) in the period of their wilderness wandering.  Israel was blessed with a leader who trusted (a) God’s ability to keep His promises and (b) God’s ability to care for Israel.  How fortunate they were to be blessed by leadership with confidence in God!  Not only did Joshua lead Israel with confidence in God, but he also influenced those who served with him to keep and grow in their confidence in God.

However, the time came when Joshua died.  After his death, the time came when the men who were influenced by Joshua’s faith in God also died.  The generation who were not influenced by Joshua’s faith became everything Joshua was not.  That generation (a) did not know God, and (b) were unaware of how God blessed Israel.  Whereas Joshua represented a generation of understanding, that generation represented a generation of ignorance.

In their ignorance, they lived and acted like people who did not know God.  They did two things uncharacteristic of Israel under Joshua (Judges 2:11).  (a) They did evil, and (b) they turned to the idolatry of the Canaanites by worshipping Baal and his family.  As a result, they made God angry.  As a consequence, God allowed them to serve their enemies.  Their enemies plundered them.  Rather than God being helpful to them, God opposed Israel.  The end result was severe distress (Judges 2:15).

There are three powerful lessons we should learn from these hard times in Israel.  First, as important as our actions are in distressful times (like Israel’s wilderness wanderings), equally important is our actions in times of prosperity.  Do we only need and depend on God when times are difficult?

 Second, we should never underestimate the effectiveness of godly influence.  When our faith in God is obviously our source of strength, our effectiveness in our influence may reach far beyond our awareness.  The most effective value of godliness in our lives may be seen in God’s influence on the way we live rather than words.

Third, we are rarely more than a generation away from people forgetting God.  Israel went from Joshua’s godly influence to a generation who did not know God in a few years.  Israel went from exceptionally effective expressions of trust and godliness to a dismal failure to know God in just one generation. 

If you are genuinely concerned about the next generation being a generation of faith in God, have faith in God yourself in your life now.  The finest way to produce a believing generation is to be a believing generation.

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