After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who neither knew the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.
Time has passed. Time which has included the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness following the nation’s failure to trust God at Kadesh Barnea, and also the entire period of Joshua’s leadership which saw the people in possession of much of the promised land. But lessons have not been learned and we can deduce from the verses above that one key thing had been neglected, namely teaching the next generation the things of the LORD.
This is an ever present danger. It was highlighted before entry into Canaan when Moses spoke these words to the people:
Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6.4-9
Somewhere along the line these vital instructions had been forgotten. It was not a sudden abandonment but had happened bit by bit over time – like the illustration of the frog being gently heated in a pan of water – till another generation grew up who did not know the LORD.
It is easy to read this and say it is past history but I suggest that to do so is to put ones head in the sand and ignore the state of our country today.
We have just witnessed the funeral of Prince Philip and combined with the awful statistic of in excess of 127,000 Covid deaths we are brought face to face with the fragility of life but I wonder how many of those bereaved have any sense of the fact that all will stand before the judgment seat of God. Or indeed have any sense that there is a God who has given instructions as to how we should live.
The world is in increasing chaos, spiritually, politically, morally and culturally and we have the situation so bleakly summed up at the end of the book of Judges
In those days Israel had no king: everyone did as he saw fit. Judges 21.25
Does that not describe our world, our country, our community, people’s individual lives. It is not the absence of a king as such but the absence of the moral and spiritual compass that God’s Word provides. Neither is it all bad because of Common Grace which God extends to all without exception for without that there would be nothing.
But what we need to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest and then live out is, that the only way ahead is to put God and his revelation of himself back in the centre of our national life. Such change has to begin with us as we live as he has instructed and pray as we have been taught, for those who are in authority over us.
Lets pray today for each other that we may walk unashamedly in his ways whatever the cost.