Judges 2:10, “When all the 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.”
We are all aware of such classic idioms as ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, like father like son’, or ‘a chip off the old block.’ As homey as these idioms might sound, and as often used as they might be, children aren’t apples, and often times one can find little similarity between a son and his father, or a daughter and her mother.
The word of God itself disproves the myth that a son will automatically take after his father, and it does so in a very heartbreaking way.
The generation that had known God, the generation that had seen the power of God, the generation that brought to remembrance all that God had done for the people of Israel had gone back to the earth, and been gathered to their fathers.
A new generation arose, and if the sayings held true, then the sons and daughters of those that had passed on, ought to have been as faithful, as true, as obedient and worshipful of the one true God as their fathers had been. Alas, the word of God tells us that this new generation knew neither the Lord, nor the work which he had done for Israel.
Yes, a new generation arose, but while the previous generation knew the fear of the Lord, the new generation had no fear of Him, and while their fathers worshiped God, the new generation wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Him.
Even for someone such as me, who as yet has no children, this passage in Judges was heartbreaking and it stirred certain questions within my heart to which I was hesitant to give voice.
What happens when a generation which does not follow in its forefathers’ footsteps arises and reaches maturity?
History tells us that the result of such an event is tragic, catastrophic and heartrending.
Judges 2:11-14, “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.”
Notice that the new generation did not stop worshipping, nor did they abandon worship. They simply switched gods. Rather than serve the Lord God, they began to serve Baal, and the Ashtoreths, which were the goddesses of the people who were all around them.
What does this have to do with the present generation?
It only takes eyes to see and ears to hear that this present generation has done what those who provoked the Lord to anger did. They have cherry picked attributes that appealed to them, borrowed from the practices of those around them, and fashioned for themselves their own personal deity, their own personal god, which is not the one true God.
Israel still held to its rituals, it still held to its name, it still held to the Temple and the celebrations, but they had turned their hearts away from God, and had embraced other gods in lieu of the Lord.
Although we still claim to be a Christian nation, although as yet we still have ‘in God we trust’ on our currency, our hearts have likewise turned away from Him, and that which we worship is something other than the God of the Bible.
We still call ourselves Christians, just as the Jews called themselves the people of God, but their actions proved them liars, just as our actions, our conduct, and our choices prove that our hearts are far from God.
Even the Levites, those responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of the people strayed from the path of righteousness, and began to practice those things which God had decreed as unlawful.
The parallels we can draw from these dark pages in Israel’s past are almost infinite, and we can see history repeating itself before our very eyes.
It is their abandonment of the one true God, and their indifference towards Him that provoked God’s anger, and compelled Him to withhold His blessing and His protection from them.
Israel being delivered into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them, and being sold into the hands of their enemies all around, was the direct result of their actions, and their rebellion against the Lord their God.
It wasn’t that God kept Himself hidden from the new generation that arose, it wasn’t that He was more difficult to discover than He had been for past generations, they did not want to know Him, they did not want to seek Him, they turned their backs to Him, and surrendered their hearts to other gods.
Men, nations and generations make choices, and everyone must suffer the consequences of their actions and the choices they’ve made to the full. We abandon, reject, and rebel against God at our own peril, and we seek and embrace the ways of the world at our own risk.
The roadmap to getting ourselves out of the mess we’ve made has not changed, nor has the prescription to cure the disease that ails us. It has been the same from generation to generation, as available and guaranteed to work today as it was during the ancient times: repent, seek God, and obey Him!
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.