The Scriptures reads, “So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:7, NKJV).
Reflect upon this for a moment and consider a few points. First, the nation of Israel had a great leader in Joshua. He was a fortunate man who had a direct line of communication to the Lord; this was much different than that which any other had. With this fortunate avenue, however, came great responsibility. To him the Lord gave the responsibility of taking the nation into the promised land and executing the Lord’s will. To have failed the Lord would have been disastrous for him and the nation.
Second, Joshua was not a man who could carry this burden all on his own. Whatever strength of character he had, he was still just a man. He needed others to help him and on whom which he could lean. The leadership of Joshua and men who were devoted to the Lord’s way brought much success to Israel. No matter what their failing might have been in the respective lives, because they were devoted to the Lord they had success.
Third, the failings that did actually reside within the nation of Israel did eventually began to show its ugly head when Israel’s great leadership died (Judges 2:1-2).
Why did this happen? I would like to suggest the following possibilities. First, the teaching that was supposed to be done may not have been accomplished to the degree that it should have been. It is important to remember that what the children are taught stays with them the remainder of their days.
Second, it may have been that the leaders taught thoroughly and with much effort, but the children did not take the lessons learned to heart like they should have. That is always a possibility and one to not forget. Ultimately, whatever a person does, whether as a child or as an adult, it is the responsibility of the doer. I can well imagine some of the elders thinking and saying to their peers, “I am very comfortable with the next generation and the leadership they will be exerting. They have demonstrated themselves well as we have tried to lead and teach them.” This could be said with humility, but once the generation of the elders passed on, that which did not take root can (and did) manifest itself in an ugly way.
Third, the teaching may have taken root and things may have started off well enough, but something occurred that distracted the faithful from the path set for them by the Lord. The distractions could have been any number of things; it really matters not what they were. Anything that distracts actually knocks us off track. When one is knocked off track he is bound to do nothing but crash.
It is crucial that we, as parents and leaders in the congregation, instill within others the Lord’s way by the life we live and by the words we use to communicate. We must do this. Then, when they move up and take our place they will be in better position to move the Lord’s way forward and in accordance with His revealed will.
In Judges 2:7-10, we read of a very sad occasion resting with a the following generation; let that not happen with us. RT