Israel failed to tell the next generation about the goodness of God. If not careful, we’ll fall into that. Then comes along a generation that doesn’t know about God. In America, we’re here. Our nation as a whole has forgotten about God. There was a time that even those who didn’t walk with God had a fear of him. He knew who he was. Now people have forgotten him.
Judges 2:1 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. 4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord. 6 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. 7 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
We see how Israel went away from God. You’d think they would have learned by now, yet they continually repeated what their father’s had done. They could have escaped many things if they had remembered. If we don’t learn from history, we’re apt to repeat it. Israel forgot some things. They forgot where they came from. They were in bondage in Egypt. The Lord sent Moses and they headed to the Promised Land. They forgot the years of wandering in the wilderness. They had no place to call home. When God gave them one they forgot about his goodness. Let’s not forget where we came from. Don’t forget how far God has brought us. I remember wood slatted seats and unpaved parking lots. God has blessed. His hand is upon us. Don’t forget that. In a spiritual sense, I was bound for hell, undeserving of heaven. But one day the power of God reached down and saved me. I’m redeemed. I don’t want to forget where I came from. Justice called and mercy answered. I don’t want to forget how good God is.
Israel forgot that everything depended on God. Forty years wandering in the wilderness with no Walmart around. Their clothes didn’t wear out. God provided each day’s food supply. Don’t think you put food on the table. The strength to work comes from God. Israel was kept from sickness. They were delivered in battle. In coming across the river, they put stones of remembrance. This was so that generations to come could be told what God did for them when they asked what the stones were for. How soon we forget. We get self-sufficient. Remember victory belongs to the Lord. We still serve the same God that saved David from the hand of the Philistine giant.
The blessings of God are conditional. If you…then I… If has a big meaning for such a small word. If you do what you are to do, God keeps his end. It is always we who break it on our end. If we don’t do our part, God is not obligated. However, if we do, he will never fail to do his part. One of the best examples is II Chronicles 7:14. God said If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Look at the things Israel changed. Goals were given. They were to drive out the enemies from the land. Why was God so hostile in demanding this? Why not leave the people there and move in among them? God knew what would happen. These people worshipped idols. He knew if not driven from the land soon Israel would be marrying in among them and doing the same. If you look back in Judges 1, you see many verses stating that they didn’t drive the people out. As a result Judges 3:6 says And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. God knew it would happen and it did. They changed their goal.
The world is in a mess. The church got tired of standing for what’s right and quit refusing to let wrong in. Things that God never intended have been let in. Israel wanted to be like everyone else. They wanted an earthly king like other nations had. Samuel warned them what would happen. Kings would take their sons for armies and tax them to support it. They already had a KING–Jesus. They wanted so much to blend in they got it mixed up. God help us to remember we’re nothing without God.
Israel lost some things. They forgot about God. They lost the conviction about separation. As Christians we are to be different from the world. If a lost person sees nothing different in us, why would they want what we have? The church has lowered its guard a little at a time and allowed things that shouldn’t have been to come in. In some, almost anything goes. God help us. Israel lost its pioneering spirit. They didn’t want to launch out. Christian, we’re not home. Let’s get busy in the work of the Lord. In Joshua 14, Caleb asked for the mountain. He didn’t ask for God to hand it to him. He was willing to fight for it with the Lord’s help. Pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you. Remember victory is in Jesus.
Why didn’t Israel know? The last generation failed. What is America going to be like in 100 years if the Lord doesn’t come back? You’d better tell your children and grandchildren about God. He’s where he’s always been. We’ve just gotten farther from him. James says we can be as close to God as we want to be. If we draw nigh to him, he will draw nigh to us. Don’t blame God for your lack of contact. It’s on you and me. What are you going to do with this message?