Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 19, 1962

Joshua --- And The Next Generation

Don Willis

"And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua ....and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel." (Judges 2:7, 10).

Joshua was one of the most illustrous persons of the Old Testament era, for his life was one of confident trust in the Master. He had been an able leader in bringing the children of God to their possession, and settling them, allotting to each tribe the particular inheritance that was theirs. While Joshua was yet living, realizing the brevity of his own life, he called the people together at Shechem and rehearsed their history from the call of Abraham. He reminded them of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and the many signs of God's pleasure in them. Then, in wisdom, he besought the people to serve God in sincerity and in truth. But it they did not wish to serve God, then choose whom they would serve, but he and his house would serve the Lord (Joshua 24). One must recognize in Joshua his quality as a leader and then the commentary of his life; they were faithful in the next generation.

One must also recognize the elders that outlived Joshua. They remained faithful! On the surface, one must admit the good quality of pleasing God by being faithful, but a part of one's faithfulness is his responsibility to teach the posterity to also be faithful. This is where the elders of Israel failed. Though they knew the many wonderful works of Jehovah in leading the people, yet they did not pass this knowledge on to their children. Neither did the priests fulfill their responsibility in teaching, else there could never have arisen a generation that knew not Jehovah. The parents did not see to it that God and his way was constantly held before their children. The children themselves did not show any ambition to know the ways of Jehovah. Therefore, nations were left to oppress or prove the people and cause them to turn to the Lord.

At one time when the people were in oppression they cried to the Lord, "We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. And the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, We have sinned' do thou unto us whatever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." (Judges 10:10-16).

The Lord would not deliver these people, for their apparent cry that first came from their lips was not a sincere cry. The Lord told them to seek their deliverance in the gods that they were serving. They knew the power of Jehovah to deliver them from their enemy, and had forsaken him, now seek deliverance in that for which they turned away from God. Therefore, the people put away the strange god and served the Lord, then God delivered them.

Many people today fully realizing the power of God to save individuals is the Gospel of Christ, yet they have forsaken that and are seeking to find their salvation in something else. They must leave their gods of human wisdom and seek the Lord on His terms.

Others come to God with an idol in their hearts. Israel had to realize that God would not save them until they put away the strange gods and turned to serve the Lord. Are we seeking to pull along every little personal desire, as we serve the Lord? Are we seeking to stay in an unlawful union as we try to serve God? Put away the strange gods, and seek the Lord, and salvation can be yours. Serve Him in "sincerity and truth.

— 1403 Hicks, San Antonio, Texas