“Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.” Joshua 24:31
I have been reading Joshua this past month, exploring the way in which God raised up a new leader for Israel. He had a tough job to fill by taking over for Moses, but the above verse reveals that Joshua was “successful” as a leader. However,
If you then read Judges (the next book) you discover that the above verse is repeatedly almost identically, and then it says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.” How good of leader was Joshua? He accomplished his task, but failed to empower a movement that lasted.
Recently, I heard that you can tell how good of job parenting you did by your grandkids. In other words, its easier to lead, discipline, coax and encourage those in your immediate care, but if you do not instill values that are passed from generation to generation then they will be forgotten. As parents we are committing to raise up the next generation in order that they may become leaders (parents, teachers, leaders) themselves.
The same is for our faith. Christianity is not merely about a personal relationship with Jesus, but about a process of making disciples who make disciples who make disciples. The people under Joshua’s command were the ones who experienced everything the LORD had done; but once that generation passed everything had been forgotten.
What we discover in Joshua is that the opposite of obedience is not disobedience but forgetfulness. Our disobedience arises because we have forgotten the One who has done everything for us.
Are you remaining a spiritual adolescent consumed with yourself? Or are you becoming a spiritual parent reproducing faith in other’s lives?