Judges 2:10 ‘And there arose another generation after them, that knew not Jehovah.’
This Week’s Focus Passage: Judges 2:10
‘And there arose another generation after them, that knew not Jehovah.’
What immediately follows this tragic verse, is the tragic result of the truth of its’ declaration, that the generation which came after Joshua and his fellows who had apportioned the land to the twelve tribes of Israel, did not know Jehovah; not that they did not know of Jehovah, but they did not know Jehovah as their Lord and God. Surely, they were familiar with all the works that had been wrought by the people of Jehovah, under Jehovah, but they did not possess the spiritual understanding through His being their God. Their hearts were not right with God; they were strangers to Him. And therefore, it is not surprising, although most unhappy, that the very next verse informs us of their immediate resultant behavior:
And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, and served the Baalim; and they forsook Jehovah, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the peoples that were round about them, and bowed themselves down unto them: and they provoked Jehovah to anger. And they forsook Jehovah, and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.
We do not know how much time had elapsed between the visit of the angel of Jehovah’s coming up from Gilgal, recorded in chapter 2, verse 1, and the death of Joshua, and the expiration of the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, but it would appear that it was but one generation from the time of that visit, to the behavior that has been recorded for us, in the citation above from verse eleven to verse thirteen. The generation that arose after the death of Joshua and his elders, either had never heard, or had forgotten, the admonition from that messenger of Jehovah, and His stern warning, 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. They had been directed to make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land, but rather, they were to break down altars. But we witness them serving Baal and Ashtaroth. This, the sad behavior of the generation that came after Joshua, because they knew not Jehovah. They had never heard the Word from the Angel of Jehovah, or else they had forgotten it; or even, and with likelihood, they simply did not care.
This sad statement, informing us that the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, was not a one-time occurrence, rather, it was more of a continuing recurrence. On seven occasions, all together, must we hear this to be repeated, namely, that the children of Israel, did this again and again. But, by God’s grace, He caused them nonetheless, to turn unto Him for help. Again, and again, He sold them into the hands of their enemies, whereupon, again and again, they cried to Him for help. These actions and reactions continue to provide the pattern, we might say, for the entire book of Judges. Jehovah leaves His people to be brought under subjection to their enemies, whether Moab, the Midianites, the Philistines, Ammon, or whether Eglon, Sisera, or even Delilah and her intrigues. It is a history of apostasy and rescue; one writer has expressed it as sin and deliverance. Each and every time that Israel was left to their enemies, after a time of suffering oppression, they cried unto Jehovah, and He sent judges to deliver them. The description given us in chapter 2, almost at the beginning, and in verses 14-16, where we may read, And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he…sold them into the hands of their enemies….and they were sore distressed…..And Jehovah raised up judges, who saved out of the hand of those that despoiled them. This is the sad cycle throughout the book of Judges. Jehovah faithfully provided at least twelve judges in that period of time, from Ehud to Gideon to Jephthah, to Samson, in order to deliver His people, again and again, that is, to provide deliverance; even in the face of their rebellion. This generation that, we are informed, another generation, that knew not Jehovah, such a generation that, repeatedly, chose to depart from Jehovah, and to serve other gods; choosing to not follow the pattern of their very recent ancestors. Does this, perhaps, resemble our generation? And, what about the generations that are to follow us; will they know Jehovah? And are we setting a pattern of righteousness for them to follow; striving to become examples that they might, to their blessing, follow? Or, to put it in the words of Jeremiah 31:21, have we established signs for them to follow for their spiritual advantage? Listen to word of Jehovah, given to His people:
Set thee up waymarks, make thee guide-posts; set thy heart toward the highway, even the way by which thou wentest: turn again, O Virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. How long wilt thou go hither and thither, O thou backsliding daughter?
Will those who follow us, through their knowledge of God, follow after us, on the road to the Celestial City, or will they, because they know not Jehovah, do evil in His sight, and cause God to allow them to be delivered to their enemies? Will they become backsliders, in the language of Jeremiah?
These things put me in mind of James Davison Hunter’s book which studied the relationship between modernism (modernity), and Evangelicalism. How that over the past few decades (the book was written in 1983), primarily after World War II, and affected much by the ‘love generation’ of the sixties; the generation that largely declared that God was dead; even had a negative effect upon Evangelicals. We might easily relate to period in the life and experience of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, particularized in the biographic item, ‘The downgrade controversy,’ which, in many ways, immortalized the tendency for the ups and downs in religious disagreements, as these evolved in the days of Spurgeon, to the point of a vote being taken among the members of a late nineteenth century, Baptist Union, which saw Spurgeon standing almost alone, as the ‘moderates’ capitulated to the ‘Newer Criticism,’ of the day, and voted overwhelmingly, in a union of some 600 Baptist pastors, to sustain the more modernist views of the Word of God, along with other doctrinal challenges. Indeed, only five stood with C.H.S. in his opposition to the ‘new lights’ in the Baptist Union. Hunter’s final remark, in his conclusions, warrants repetition. After suggestions, throughout his study, that Evangelicals have, over this period of time, largely accommodated modernity, and perhaps, in many cases, compromised with, modernity, and are now in a very tenuous relationship. But his final statement is most interesting. He has written, “Too often in the social sciences and in the broader liberal culture, the Evangelical is sneered at as an anachronism or rebuffed as a curiosity to be treated with detached interest but not really to be taken seriously. Such an attitude may, in the end, be misguided. If the day does come (as the Evangelical believes it will), when ‘the skies open and the Son of man comes in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory to gather His elect from the four winds” (cf. Matthew 24:30-31), more than one skeptic may be caught muttering under his breath: ‘Well, I’ll be damned.’
The question may be asked, from the language of Jeremiah, cited above, are we setting up waymarks? Are we making guideposts? Are we setting our hearts toward the highway; the highway that Christian followed as it led toward the Celestial City? Will those that follow us, chronologically, be among those that follow us, spiritually, and, are gathered, by the Son of man Himself, from the four winds, or will they be among those that prove to be skeptics, muttering under their breath: Well, I’ll be damned’?
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
More in This Week's Focus Passage
September 24, 2022This Week’s Focus Passage: James 1:18 ‘Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth.’
September 17, 2022This Week’s Focus Passage: Luke 24:27 ‘He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things conce
September 10, 2022This Week’s Focus Passage: Proverbs 21:31 ‘The horse is prepared against the day of battle; but vict