Anyone else sipping coffee and a little unsettled by the image of toeless and thumbless kings pawing around for scraps? Watch this to get the overview of Judges; it was helpful for me in framing this book as Israel’s total failure.
I believe that in order to have a life-altering relationship with God that sticks, you need to personally encounter his Spirit. Sitting in church won’t do it. Being raised by nice, Christian parents isn’t enough. In my early twenties, my friends fled the church in droves. They weren’t anchored by an intimate relationship with the Lord, they were simply a part of Christian culture and didn’t want to stick around.
You have to experience God.
“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the images of Baal. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the Lord.” 2:10-11
These verses remind me that there’s a healthy dose of submission and faith in order to follow God. I can’t pile up all my belief in God on just my own experiences with him. (Sometimes, he’s quiet. Seemingly absent. Then what?)
The Israelites clearly failed to continue telling their growing families God’s story (Deut. 6:4-9), and suddenly we have a generation who hardly remembers him at all. Having just read through Exodus, this is hard to read. How could they forget he parted the sea for them? The plagues? The bread dropping down on their heads from heaven? The repercussions of worshipping manmade statues? It doesn’t happen overnight; it’s like watching something gradually drift away from shore. Eventually you look up, and it’s gone.
Believing and following God is a daily discipline. We never “arrive”. We never “finish”. It’s like any relationship, you have to show up and make an effort. When things are distant and hard, you have to exercise faithfulness and loyalty. When things are easy and you get distracted, you have to remember what you’re anchored to. You have to talk about it. Stories come alive when you say them aloud.
I’m confident that God will reveal himself to my kids, and that I am not solely responsible for their relationship with him (whew). But I am commanded to talk about God and his expectations to my kids “again and again, when I am on the road and when I am at home, when I’m going to bed and when I’m getting up” (Deut. 6:7).
How can we contribute to influencing a generation that will remember God?