There is a cycle to the history related in the Book of Judges. That cycle is: the people begin to disobey the word of the Lord and begin to worship God according to their own light. Idolatry rears its head. God brings an enemy upon Israel. The people repent, so God brings a Judge who delivers the people from their oppressors. When the judge dies, the people fall immediately into idolatry and the cycle begins again.
“And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.”
While most of this reading tells us of the folly of this generation, that they actively rejected the Lord – This statement at the start should also prod us to look backward to the previous generation.
In Deuteronomy 6 we read,
“You shall teach them [God’s words] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
This command for covenant family instruction and admonishment is also repeated in Deuteronomy 12.
As well too in chapter 6 we read,
“When you son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son …”
So we can think through the question – In addition to the current generation rejecting God, did the previous generation (even though they knew the Lord and what He had done) carry out this command to teach their children diligently, to provide them with a clear and important answer when they ask why they are being made to do these things?
And we are to be exhorted ourselves in this. If we have children, are we diligently teaching and admonishing them in the scriptures? And whether we have children ourselves or not, if the Lord grants us opportunity to teach little ones – Are we carrying out this command?
It was not just a command for Israel, but is for us today!
* Lord God Above,
We see here in Judges the folly of thinking that we can do things pretty well ourselves, the results of making our foundation pride in ourselves, going after other flashing lights, rejecting You and Your will for us.
Please help us to reject idolatry in any form that it comes to us.
Please write Your word on our hearts, each day shining as the only mirror that always tells us the truth – So that our eyes would be open, our minds sober and clear, to know the idols.
And Lord God, please help us to diligently teach and exhort the next generation – In the knowledge of You, and in the working out of how we behave as people of God, the outworking of Your salvation, the reasoning for why we do these things.
Thank You for saving us out of darkness Lord, for bringing us into light, and for the wonderful ever-present and rock-solid hope we have in glory!