“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10
I wonder how this happened. How only a generation after the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, God’s provision in the desert, the tablets engraved by God’s hand given, the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that the next generation didn’t know God. Even as I type this my brow furrows and my head shakes. I don’t understand, but maybe I am not looking for it.
Maybe it starts insidiously, innocently…Perhaps it begins like this:
- I want my children to make their own decision about God, so I won’t influence them one way or the other.
- I take my children to church and that is enough.
- Children need to be sheltered so I won’t tell them about how God helped our family out of a difficult situation.
- Children need opportunities to play sports and be in as many activities as possible. Even if that means sacrificing time at the table sharing God’s word and blessing.
- Children’s ministry isn’t important except that it allows parents to focus at church.
Maybe the Israelites found some of the things that happened in the dessert difficult to discuss so they didn’t. They no longer gave God credit for their freedom or survival. Their children grew up without being told about God’s wonderful acts. They didn’t know God at all.
Are we raising our kids the same way? Are we forgetting to tell them where their house, food, and clothes come from? Not from the store or money from mom and dad’s jobs. But that every good thing comes from God. Do we tell them? When we discipline do we use life giving words from the Bible? Do we tell them to “do to others as you would have them do to you?” Perhaps we can remind them that none of us is perfect, not one, but we have help that comes from the Lord?
It isn’t easy to tell. It involves sharing our failures so they can see God’s grace. It means getting involved at church so they see God’s spirit work in and through us.
No we won’t do it perfectly. We are sinful folks, but if we don’t do it, who will? And then what will happen to the next generation?
What are you doing to make sure the Next Generation knows?