Lent Devotion for March 24
"Forgetting Your Past"
Reader: “Another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord,”
Response: “nor what he had done for Israel.”
SCRIPTURE: Judges 2:10–17
10 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. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.
16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands.
Reader: "The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
This pericope is one of the saddest sections in the whole book. The tragedy comes because the implications are so far-reaching. There is a principle involved here. The most frightening and convicting words are these: “another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” How was that possible? Where were the parents of this generation when they were growing up? The godly generation of parents failed miserably in passing along not only the history of what God had done but also the whole reality of a covenantal God involved in daily life and worship. Had they not shared the parting of the Jordon River, the fall of Jericho, and the heroics of Joshua and the Israelite army, and the day the sun stood still by the miracle of God? Did they not communicate that they were a people to be set apart from the people around them; they were to be a holy people? The thing Moses predicted came to pass. A second alarming line in this passage is “the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them.” That is not a place I ever want to be in. With the Lord working against you, it’s over, and it was for them as well. Of course, they were in distress! Even though God gave them judges to rule and the people would follow the judge, eventually the people would return to rebellion against God. One of the sources of their problem was that Israel failed to completely destroy and drive out the various pagan peoples living in the land but intermingled with them in marriage and was thereby led astray into false worship and sexual immorality. The lesson here is especially clear — parents have a great responsibility in teaching and training their children in the faith and in helping them to know their history.
“Be Still My Soul” by Libera (Watch on YouTube)
Lord Jesus, may this be the pattern of my life: Listen, O family! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Pray frequently with your children. Talk about your own relationship with the Lord. Let them see and hear you pray. Lord Jesus, help me to make all of this a part of my daily life in my family. Amen.
- adapted, Dan Sharp