Having a personal knowledge of the Lord and strong fellowship with Him is very important. We can have a good group relationship with Him by attending church, being amongst friends who are believers, and many other group activities. Yet, if we become separated from them, will we maintain our faith, or will we falter?
This is a very important question we must ask ourselves. I say we must because if we do not have our own relationship built by our own time alone with the Lord, we may not maintain our standing with Him. We see this very thing happen with the Israelites in Judges 2.
In Judges 2:7–10, it reads, “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 they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. 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” (ESV).
The people served the Lord as long as the elders and Joshua were alive. When they died, the next generation did not know the Lord. In the very next two verses, we see what the outcome of not having a personal knowledge and strong fellowship with God does. They read, “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger” (2:11-12). They turned to false gods and false beliefs.
This generation did not know God or the work He had performed for Israel. So, they went after false gods and false beliefs. There are two failures I see here.
One, the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or others did not spend the time teaching the next generation. They did not pour time into them to teach them the truth. Since they did not, the next generation fell away from the One True God. They went the way of the world and fell into idolatry.
Two, the next generation may have received teaching but did not spend the time necessary to grow in this teaching. They were immature in their faith and were not able to stand against the wiles of the world. They fell into the culture. (This, of course, brings up another point of how the generation before failed to completely remove all the nations from within the land God gave them c.f. Judges 1:27-36). Had they removed the culture as they were told, them this could have been avoided, but we cannot blame all the failings on the culutre then just as we cannot do it now.
This is why it is so important that we spend the time with the next generation. We need to come alongside them and disciple them. We need to teach them the truths and why they are true. We need to be with them and guide them into all truth because the world will take the truth and throw it out or twist it so bad that no one can recognize it anymore.
If we do not do this then the next generation will not spend the time necessary to grow. They will have a shallow and weak knowledge of God. We want them to have a strong and deep knowledge of the truth. We want them to know the Lord in deep and intimate ways. To love Him with their all and to serve Him diligently so the world does not tempt them away.
This failure here is upon the elders and the next generation. Neither did what was necessary to maintain the faith and keep them strong. Just as the failure today is upon us in the church and the next generation. We have failed to guide them rightly. We have failed to disciple them well. We have failed to show them what truth is so they can easily spot falsities. They now fall for the false as truth so easily it is unreal.
If one continues to read the book of Judges they will see a vicious cycle of failure, a judge is raised, restoration, and failure again only to restart the whole cycle again. This is what will happen when we fail to train up the next generation correctly.
I pray today that we will all seek to train up as many as we can. To train them to spot the truth and the false. Train them to stand strong against the wiles of the world. It is wicked and twisted and very evil now. We may be too late for many, but there are many others out there who need to learn and grow. Let us today seek them out and give them strength through the truth of the Lord, i.e., His Word, so the truth can once again prevail.