A Lost Generation

When something fails, you typically investigate why it happened. Before repairs are made or a replacement is ordered, you want to ensure you know how to avoid or prevent the same issue from happening again. This standard practice is carried out under the simple principle of learning from the past—you see what went wrong and you make the necessary adjustments. We do this all the time, or at least we should. From gardening to diet, to finances, to home repairs, we seek to evaluate the root cause in order to achieve a successful outcome the second time around. The area of parenting is no exception. As a father of three, my wife and I regularly evaluate our parenting approach. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong. As helpful as it is to learn from other’s success stories, learning from our mistakes often yields more profitable results. When the book of Judges, you are not wrong to ask, “What in the world happened here?” How did Israel end up this way? When an entire generation fails to this degree, who bears the responsibility? It’s clear that God holds every sinner accountable for his/her actions. But to be sure, when an entire society spirals this dramatically, it’s not difficult to conclude that something went terribly wrong during the previous generation—namely, the religious leadership and parental authority. God was clear when He instructed Israel in Deuteronomy 6:7-9 to teach the next generation diligently and regularly speak of His commandments. Unfortunately, Judges 2:10 tells us what happens when Duet. 6 is neglected—“There arose another generation after who did not know the Lord, nor the works which He had done for Israel.” The cyclical nature of Judges tells us that parents failed to learn from the failures of the previous generation. But does this say that parents are to blame every time a child rebels against God? I don’t believe Scripture makes that case. For instance, when you read Proverbs 22:6, we should not conclude that a parent failed to “train up” their child when he/she departs from “the way.” We should understand proverbs for what they are—general truths. We should not force the writer to say something absolute when that is not the intended purpose of this particular genre. The problem with Israel is not that there arose a rebellious generation, but that this rebellious generation was a result of derelict parents and leaders who failed time and time again to train up their children in the way of the Lord. David and Eli are prime examples of fathers who specifically failed in their responsibilities to instruct and disciple their sons (1 Sam 2:29-34; 1 Kings 1:5). The results were devastating. Fortunately, God the Father is the perfect example of how we should parent and teach the next generation. Hosea 11 describes God admitting to being a father of a rebellious son (Israel). “Out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went astray” (Hosea 11:1-2). The outcomes may look the same, but we must entrust the hearts of our children to God. Don’t stop praying for them. Don’t stop pointing them to Jesus (“Faith comes by hearing…” Rom 10:17). And don’t stop living the gospel. Rebellion is found in every generation, but may it not be due to our failure to faithfully lead by example and regularly teach with conviction the Word of God. –Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Valuing Discipline–1 Timothy 4:6-8

10AM: Pastor Rory–A Lost Generation–Judges (sermon notes)

6PM: Members’ Meeting

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