This Week's Focus Passage

Judges 2:10 ‘And there arose another generation after them, that knew not Jehovah.’

Judges 2:10 ‘And there arose another generation after them, that knew not Jehovah.’

Why? Did Joshua and his contemporaries fail in bringing up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord? What is it that would account for this ‘new generation’ not knowing Jehovah? Is this a fair picture of our families today? Is it a fair picture of much of the church today? It would seem that this circumstance is one of those ‘what goes around comes around’ things. Perhaps if we could focus on what happened in the days of Joshua and the Judges, we may—under God—be informed with regard to the causes which brought about this effect. We simply cannot continue contentedly with such a destructive cycle. Yet how are we to prevent, in principle, the same sort of thing in our generation?

The commentary upon Judges and Ruth by Robert A. Watson that is included as part of the set of commentaries known as The Expositor’s Bible, may be helpful in ‘setting the stage’ for the difficult time of transition between the days of Joshua and those of Samuel. These days are what form the substance of the book of Judges. With reference to the surrounding context of the verse from Judges which forms our focus passage this week, namely Judges 2:10, Watson has said that;

‘Joshua and his generation having been gathered unto their fathers, “there arose another generation which knew not the Lord, nor yet the work which He had wrought for Israel. And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baalim.” How common is the fall traced in these brief, stern words, the wasting of a sacred testimoy that seemed to be deeply graven upon the heart of a race! The fathers felt and knew: the sons have only traditional knowledge and it never takes hold of them. The link of faith between one generation and another is not strongly forged; the most convincing proofs of God are not recounted.’

This writer speaks of the ‘link of faith’ between one generation and another. He has said that this ‘link’ is not strongly forged. Now while there surely may be a link—some sort of connection—between generations by way of teachings and traditions, there is no such thing as a ‘link of faith.’ To even imagine such a ‘link of faith’ is to fall into the error of the Jews and their leaders when these would argue that they had such a generational ‘link’ by saying, We have Abrahamto our father.—Matthew 3:8. For John the Baptizer strongly and most correctly advised them that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. What John was teaching them was nothing more, nor less, than Paul when the Apostle to the Gentiles stated clearly, Know therefore that they that are of faith; the same are the sons of Abraham.—Gal. 3:7. Christ Himself said basically the same when He told His hearers in John 8:39, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. Andrew R. Fausset stated the fact in clear and pithy language when he wrote in his commentary: ‘Grace is not hereditary. Regenerate fathers often have degenerate sons.’ This is a true statement, albeit every bit as sad as it is true.

Does this then mean that there is nothing that may, or should, be done by the preceding generation? Surely this is not the case. ‘Raise your children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord’ was as true for them as it is for us, and for those who would follow our generation; it is a timeless exhortation. We return to our initial inquiry; did Joshua and his contemporaries fail in this? If the answer is no, they did not fail, then what may we learn from their history that they actually and positively did in order to bring their sons and daughters up in the fear of the Lord?

How many occasions of instruction were the people of Israel exposed to under the ‘administration’ of Joshua? As their sojourn through the wilderness came to its conclusion when they found themselves at the Jordan, it must have been a real wonder of reflection how that their God had brought them to stand on the ‘verge of Jordan’ facing the Promised Land; that inheritance Jehovah had promised to His servant, Abraham, so many years before.

Surely, the children of Israel that were standing at Jordan after the end of the forty years in the wilderness were aware of the sin that brought this upon them; this forty years of wanderings in the wilderness. God told them in no uncertain terms that after the number of the days in which ye spied out the land, even forty days, for every day a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my alienation.—Numbers 14:34. It is almost impossible to even imagine whatever that there were not multiple and many times of instruction over that forty years in the wilderness. Surely Joshua and Caleb along with many others over that span of time made mention of the reason for their wanderings. And how many lessons were set before them with respect to their murmurings, and how their complaints brought upon them the fiery serpents to sting them for that murmuring. And also how they had the symbolism of the serpent upon the brass pole, a lesson teaching repentance along with forgiveness offered. It can scarcely even be conceived that the multitudes whose dead bodies were falling in the wilderness were not giving either silent or verbal—or both—testimony to the justice of God in pronouncing this sojourning upon them for their lack of trust in His promises when they rebelled at Kadesh. And when they crossed the Jordan, even that event filled up their memories with grounds for trusting their Lord Jehovah. Recall the features of their crossing Jordan and even including the memorial and its proclaimed purpose. Jehovah expressly told Joshua what He was going to do and the reason behind what He was going to do. And Jehovah said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. Even as He had held back the Red Sea, Jehovah held back the Jordan and instructed that a memorial should be made of the stones that the priests walked upon as they carried the Ark over Jordan; that when your children ask ‘What mean ye by these stones? they should be taught the marvelous works of God. We cannot regenerate our children’s hearts, but we can relate to them what God has done.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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