Judges 2:10-23; Luke 21:37-22:13; Psalms 92:1-15; Proverbs 21:13
OT: “Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110… That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works he had done for Israel. The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshiped the Baals and abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them. They angered the Lord, for they abandoned him and worshiped Baal and the Ashtoreths… The Lord raised up judges, who saved them from the power of their marauders, but they did not listen to their judges. Instead, they prostituted themselves with other gods, bowing down to them. They quickly turned from the way of their ancestors, who had walked in obedience to the Lord’s commands. They did not do as their ancestors did. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for the Israelites, the Lord was with him and saved the people from the power of their enemies while the judge was still alive. The Lord was moved to pity whenever they groaned because of those who were oppressing and afflicting them. Whenever the judge died, the Israelites would act even more corruptly than their ancestors, following other gods to serve them and bow in worship to them. They did not turn from their evil practices or their obstinate ways.” (Judges 2:8, 10-13, 16-19 CSB)
Sadly, somehow the generation that Joshua led into the promised land failed to pass their knowledge and honor of the Lord to their children. Did they never tell their children the stories of crossing over the Jordan River, or the miraculous conquest of Jericho, or the sun standing still as they fought their enemies? Did they never pass on Joshua’s final words to not forsake serving the Lord? Maybe growing up in the promised land instead of wandering in the desert caused the younger generation to take the blessings of the Lord for granted – turning them into a entitled and thankless people. Maybe the parents didn’t want to “force their beliefs” on their kids and allowed their children to come to their own conclusions within a vacuum void of truth and direction. Whatever the reason, within one generation, the holy nation of Israel – God’s chosen people – had completely abandoned the Lord God and were worshiping the gods and idols of the people they were supposed to vanquish. God doesn’t go away just because we forget Him. He is eternal and will forever reign as Lord over all creation, whether we regard Him or not. His word, will, and ways never fail. Yet we can easily abdicate the glorious destiny for our lives and descend into a meaningless existence by abandoning the Lord for the gods and idols of our age.
Psalms: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to declare your faithful love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, with a ten-stringed harp and the music of a lyre. For you have made me rejoice, Lord, by what you have done; I will shout for joy because of the works of your hands. How magnificent are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! A stupid person does not know, a fool does not understand this: though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be eternally destroyed. But you, Lord, are exalted forever… The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, to declare, “The Lord is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”” (Psalms 92:1-8, 12-15 CSB)
Juxtapose Psalm 92 against Judges 2. What a difference faithfulness to the Lord makes! It is good to give thanks to the Lord and sing praises to His name. One thing that thanksgiving and praise does is remind us of God’s goodness and faithfulness so that we do not forget. Another thing that it does is proclaim the truth of who God is and His faithfulness to upcoming generations – so they don’t forget. Every day of the week, a lamb would be sacrificed to the Lord in the morning and in the evening, reminding the people of their dependence on the Lord. In the same way, we are to declare God’s mercies that are new every morning, and then thank Him for His faithfulness at the close of each day. Those who are planted and remain in the Lord are firmly established and thrive year after year in the flow of God’s blessing – bearing fruit even in their old age. The wicked however, (those who abandon the Lord for their own ways) are merely a flash in the pan. Though they may seem like trees at the moment, they are really just weeds that grow up fast and are then gone. Give thanks and praise to the Lord! Allow yourself to be planted in the Lord’s presence and pass your knowledge of God on to the generations that come after you so that they may thrive in His presence as well. For the Lord is exalted forever and His faithfulness never ends.