“And 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 work that the Lord had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.” “Joseph died, being 110 years old, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” Joshua 2:7-8,10; Genesis 50:26: Exodus 1:6-8
I had the overwhelming delight a few years ago of being given hand-written letters of correspondence between my grandparents and a couple whose library was being catalogued at a nearby seminary. Since my father’s mother had died before I was born, this was a treasure trove of her handwriting, her thoughts, her heart, her expression, that I will always cherish. One letter that especially moved me was written a month or so before my father, second of four, and only son, left to travel across the country to college.
What is it that causes a whole generation to fall away from the Lord? It is hard to comprehend. Do we become slack in telling? Lethargic in living? Slothful in passion, zeal, compassion, generosity? Do we stop investing our waning energy in others and take an ‘I-deserve-it’ rest? Romans 12 instructs: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” It is imperative that my generation not let up!
God has chosen us to pass on His truth and the stories of what He has done. While I cannot force another’s choice or determine how they orient their lives, I must, compelled by the love of Christ, offer the sweet fruit of a life lived for Jesus and tell His mighty deeds of grace and redemption. I must also pray. There comes a time when “our part is done, and they are, heavenly speaking, on their own,” yet I am responsible for my part until that day. (Genesis 18:19)
Lord, keep Your words on my heart and lips, keep me faithful to speak of You when I sit in my house and walk by the way, when I lie down and when I rise. May I zealously tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done, teaching our children, that the next generation might know God’s testimonies, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Psalm 78:4-7)