When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10)
In Exodus 1:8, we see that a secular leader arose in Egypt who did not understand how God’s servant had been used to save his nation. Now, in Judges 2:10, an entire generation of God’s people arose who did not know or remember God. It is one thing for the Pharaoh of Egypt to not know about Joseph, but how could an entire generation of people not know about God’s blessings and provision for their fathers and the miracles that He had done? God’s commanded His people to teach their children His words and works, yet it seems that the parents of the Judges 2 generation had failed.
At the beginning of Judges 2, the angel of the LORD told the Israelites:
I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you. (Judges 2:1-3)
God had commanded the Israelites to drive out the inhabitants of the land that He was giving to them. He commanded them to tear down the idols of the inhabitants and not make any covenant with them. However, they had disobeyed God, and their hearts were now far from Him.
Isn’t that much like what is happening in America today? Instead of being holy and separate from the world, Christians are much like the world. Instead of churches being known for opposing sin and pleasing God, they are known for their entertainment and games. They try to entice the world into the church by showing the world how much fun they can have and how they do not have to give up their sin. Instead of driving out the worldliness from the church, we invite it in and think that we are pleasing God and showing love. We work more on building relationships with the world (even though God says that light cannot commune with darkness) than on building our relationship with God. We are better at memorizing the music of the world than we are at memorizing God’s word.
In fact, our music often imitates that of the world. I once showed an adult Sunday school class excerpts from some “Christian” music videos. I asked the class to tell me, based upon the words and the performers, if they thought the music was from a Christian group or a secular group. Without fail, the class identified the Christian groups as the secular groups, with some even saying that the music seemed Satanic; and these were groups from some popular Christian music festivals that many of our church youth groups attend!
So, as it was in the days of the judges, we have not driven out the worldliness from the church. We have not torn down their altars, but rather worship at those same altars of the world—altars like sports, entertainment, fashion, etc. Even in our families, we show our children how much more important the world is to us than the things of God. We want to love the world, while adding enough churchness to think of ourselves as good Christians.
Just like the Israelites had neglected to teach their children about God and His word and His works, so we have neglected to teach our children the importance of daily time in the Bible and prayer. We are ignorant of God’s work in the past, and so we cannot teach these things to our children. Even many longtime Christians fail in knowing about those men and women used by God to help shape this nation or other nations. Ask them about Athanasius, Perpetua, John Knox, John Hus, Moody, Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Amy Carmichael, Susanna Wesley, John Bunyan, Jim Elliot, William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, Calvin, or even Martin Luther, and you will likely be surprised at how little they can tell you. However, ask them about the latest popular fiction romance books, the latest sports games or movies, and they will eagerly talk.
Let us not be like the Israelites told about in Judges 2:10. May we spend our time knowing God and His servants, seeking holiness rather than worldliness, not making excuses for our spiritual immaturity and neglect, but pressing on to God’s fulness for ourselves and the next generation.
Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us, for we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.’ (Job 21:14)
Wow. What do you think of Job 21:14? Exodus 1:8 tells of a worldly leader who did not know about God’s servant from the past. Judges 2:10 tells about a generation of God’s people who had neglected His word and rejected His commands, yet still viewed themselves as God’s people. Their ignorance and sin were passed on to the next generation. Here, though, in Job 21:14, are people who knew and recognized God, yet willingly rejected Him. They did not want Him! This is similar to what we see in Revelation 16, when wicked people see God’s judgment, know the judgment is from God, yet they continue to blaspheme His name and refused to repent and give God glory.
As with the people in the country of the Gadarenes after Jesus has cast the demons out of the man, they saw that the mas was healed, but instead of thanking and following Jesus and glorifying God, they actually asked Jesus to leave! How many of us would do the same thing? If Jesus were a guest in your home and simply observed what you said and did and what you watched and listened to, how many of us would not want Jesus around all the time? How many of us would ask Jesus to leave because we were convicted of our worldliness and sin, and rather than repent and follow Jesus fully, we would rather have Jesus leave?
Imagine knowing of the love of God, and saying, “Depart from us, for we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.” Is that not, though, what many of our politicians do? Is that not what some schoolteachers and professors do? Is that not what many do in all walks of life? They know there is a God, but they are not interested in learning about Him and knowing Him. They love their sin and do not want to know the love of God. They know that when an individual or community or even an entire nation turns to God and His ways, things improve, yet they would rather live in sin and darkness.
Are we Christians letting our light shine so that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven? Does the world see our hypocrisy and love of the world, or do they see our holiness and love for Jesus? Let’s stop trying to blend the two together. We are more comfortable being lukewarm. We make less enemies that way. It is easier to stay seated on the fence; but God hates it. Let’s decide if we will leave the world and follow Jesus, or reject Jesus and follow the world. The world needs to see God’s people as holy, not just as nice people concerned about social justice, but as people who will stand upon the word of God, hate sin, love their enemies, and seek to walk as Jesus walked in everything.