Theme of the Week: The Book of Judges
Bible Verse: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10
Scripture Reading: Judges 2:1-23
That statement cries out with questions. How could they forget? How could they fail? What produced this result when their parents had seen and experienced so much of God’s hand of blessing?
The first questions we must ask are: “In what way did they fail? What was the nature of their failure?” When we read in verse 10 that the second generation “knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel,” we are not to think that they had no knowledge of what had happened. They were not uninformed of the events of the Exodus or of the conquest. Theologically, they had a great deal of information about the Lord. What they had not seen with their eyes (and many of them had witnessed events such as the crossing of the Jordan River and the fall of Jericho as children), they had heard with their ears. It was not the facts they lacked.
They knew about the Lord. They knew about His deeds. But being informed is not the same thing as being impacted. In this context, not to know means “not to show respect for.” This is culpable ignorance. They may have known about the Lord, but they did not know or acknowledge Him for who He was, their glorious covenant King. They had become complacent about the living God and had forgotten how to walk in fellowship with Him. They had lost touch with God. Instead of being filled with wonder that God had reached into Egypt and delivered His people from the hand of Pharaoh or being moved to praise God when they heard the history of Mount Sinai or Gilgal or Jericho or the Canaanite conquests, they simply yawned with boredom. “Aw, we’ve heard all that before.”
Here we come to the heart of the second-generation syndrome. It is lukewarmness, a complacency, an apathy about amazing biblical truths that we have heard from our childhood or from our teachers. Whether we like it or not, it is a syndrome that is very much a part of contemporary Christian experience. It operates on a personal or a family level as we begin to leave our first love for Christ. If we are not careful, the syndrome begins, as it does in Joshua and Judges, in the midst of a beautiful display of God’s grace and power.
We must realize two things about this kind of complacency. The first is something Erich Fromm once pointed out when he said, “Hate is not the opposite of love. Apathy is.” To be complacent in the face of Calvary is the greatest possible rejection of God. The second is that complacency grows like cancer.
Taken from Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay by Gary Inrig. ©1979, 2005 by Gary Inrig, and used by permission of Discovery House, Grand Rapids MI 49501. All rights reserved.
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