Judges 2:10 “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.”
The longevity of Christianity and the Bible has lasted longer than any other ideology, philosophy, or religion. It has survived from the time of creation till now.
Many have fought against it. Some have tried to remove it from existence. Others try to discredit it while promoting their new thought, doctrine, or religion.
Still, it has remained. At times, there may have been only a remnant, but it has continued.
So, when I ask the question, “What’s wrong?” I seek to bring out a specific thought God gave me this morning.
I am a first-generation Christian. That means, my parents did not bring me up to be a Bible-believing, born-again Christian. We were religious. We practiced our religion faithfully. Sadly, I was not taught how to be saved, biblically.
I was taught loyalty, hard work, character, family, and always do your best. These were examples that I not only heard but saw lived out in my parent’s lives. Therein lies the lesson.
We see some who are participatory in the activities of the church, socially known and accepted by many. They seem to have what many would call, a walk with God. But as time goes on, trials come. Trouble seems to linger, and they become distant. Children seem to have the attitude, “I’m only here because my parents are making me.”
It is that time of transition from the elementary years to teenage that this attitude seems to creep in and take hold. Parents come to seek counsel and often find that the things of the church, the preaching, and teaching were okay while we were AT church, but home life was a bit different.
God told His children:
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
In essence, God told the Israelite parents to immerse themselves in the way in which He was leading them. Not halfhearted, or halfway. All in. That is why he precluded His teaching with a warning to the parents.
Deuteronomy 6:5 “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Most of us have experienced situations where someone said something, and their actions proved otherwise? Children are not different. Only, we do not see the results until it is too late to correct.
Let’s face it; we all fail. We have failed and will fail in the future. The one thing that keeps us from becoming a failure is quitting. God desires that we do two things. Learn from our failures, and keep ongoing.
Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”
The real issue is that we do not live out our Christianity honestly and transparently. We try to be the store window model of Christianity, fooling the world into thinking we are something more than what we are, and we deceive ourselves if we believe we are what we portray.
People are watching. They are waiting to see if what we have is real. They are looking to see how we handle trouble, trials, and failure. They don’t want to see us walk on water; they want to see that there is hope for them to obtain what we say we already possess.
The generation that followed after Moses had a Joshua. He followed diligently and faithfully all that God asked him to do. He was not flawless, nor tried to be. Then, God says:
“…and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”
There was a failure on two fronts. There was a failure to teach the next generation and an inability to show them how to live it out in everyday life.
Most parents wonder if they have done enough, taught enough, or have given enough for their children to succeed. In response to that, some have become ‘helicopter parents.’ They hover over their children to keep them from having to experience difficulty or failure.
In ministry as well, we can become ‘helicopter pastors’ or ‘helicopter ministry leaders’ when we do not allow for failure.
In the animal kingdom, children are pushed into the world to try their wings, to find their food, to fend for themselves. They learn firsthand while the parents watch on.
I have learned personally, to do what I call a “post mortem” on my failures.
I try to view my failures as a lesson to be learned and something I can warn others not to do. When parents are human enough to their kids to ask forgiveness and communicate what they’ve learned to their children, the children, in turn, will learn how to process their failures.
We fail our children when they aren’t allowed to fail. We can also hurt them if we are too selfish in thinking about how their failure reflects on us. Each child is different. Each child of God is different and should be treated as such.
As pastors, assistants, deacons, leaders, and even just members, we must approach our failures with humility and be willing to allow others to see what we did and how we got back on track.
The generation of Israelites that came up after Joshua failed to exercise their faith and belief in God. They were unable to continue to grow and attempt great things for God. When we pray and see answers to prayer, we should testify and let everyone know as if to say,
“God IS good all the time!”
“The God I say can answer prayer has answered mine!”
“He is worthy of your faith and trust.”
That is why we should learn from Deuteronomy:
Teach them early and often.
Talk of Him to our family whenever we get the opportunity.
Challenge them to put their trust in Him (bind them – hold them accountable).
Keep it before them in everyday examples.
Let us fill our homes with things that will tell any visitor that Christians live here. Not just by the pictures on the wall, the music we play, the words that we speak, but also by the love we show, the generosity, care, and interest we genuinely share.
Just be real.
Reveal to all just how real God is to you, and others will want what you have.