A Call to Remember and Obey...

"After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who neither knew the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." Judges 2:10, NIV

This isn't the first time I've read this passage, but I suppose it's the dawn of motherhood that has given me cause for another look. This verse not only indicts an entire generation for not knowing Yahweh, but also seems to imply the previous generation fell short of their responsibility to instruct their children in the ways of the Lord (Dt. 4:9-14). Their children didn't know about Yahweh or his mighty deeds on behalf of Israel because (at least it would seem) they weren't told. Scripture goes on to describe the consequences of not knowing the Lord, saying,
Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshipped various gods of the people around them. They provoked the Lord to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Asheroths. In his anger against Israel, the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 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. Judges 2:11-15
Now that's some serious stuff! Because of their godlessness, an entire generation provoked the Lord's anger, actually resulting in him working against them. But what's also striking to me is the thought that perhaps some of this could have been avoided if those who knew better did better. By that, I mean it occurs to me that if those parents and grandparents had fulfilled their obligation to tell of Yahweh's great deeds, could Israel have circumnavigated some of the disaster they faced? Could it be that the previous generation shared some of the responsibility for Israel's failure to remember Yahweh? One might think so. Now, not for one second am I saying that there isn't any individual responsibility for some of the decisions that ultimately led to the trouble Israel faced. There comes a time in a person's life when one must choose for himself the god(s) he will serve, however one must also not overlook the significance of influence and experience to make those decisions. In a crude manner of speaking, I suppose it could be described as providing the raw materials from which an individual is able to pull when making life choices. In Israel's case, those raw materials began with knowing Yahweh and all he had done for their forefathers.

As we await Evan's arrival in a few short months, I can't help but stop and reflect. One day Evan grow up and be responsible for making his own good choices, but until that time, we have been given the responsibility of remembering Yahweh and observing His commands as a means of providing Evan with the raw materials to do the right thing when the time comes. We are charged with not forgetting what our eyes have seen and to teach these things to our children so that they might not be a generation who provokes the Lord's anger. To avoid this makes us complicit in the needless disaster the will inevitably find them. My prayer is not only that Evan will become a man who is wholeheartedly committed to the ways of the Lord, but also that God would enable us as his parents to provide him with the raw materials to become just such a man.