As my wife and I watch our children have children, we are even more aware of the impact we have on our family – the ripple that moves across one generation to the next. We look upstream and see great faithfulness to one another and to the Lord – in my parents, who celebrate their 60th anniversary this year, and in my wife’s parents had been married 55 years when the Lord called her mother home. I look around and see my godly wife, and wonderful mother of three, who has been faithfully by my side throughout many blessings and trials for 35 years (as of June 6th). We glance downstream and see God’s plan unfolding in the lives of our three children, the blessing of an amazing son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and the incredible potential and promise in the eyes of our three grandchildren (with hopefully more on the way).
But as a father and grandfather, this verse forces me to look again at the ripple of my life with even a greater sense of accountability and urgency:
All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel (Judges 2:10 NASB).
How could that be?! This was Joshua’s generation. This generation was borne out of the exodus whom God resurrected from the ashes of unbelief to enter the Land of Promise. This generation watched their parents die in the wilderness even as they ate miraculous manna from heaven. This generation walked through the waters of the Jordan River as God parted them at flood stage, saw the walls of Jericho fall, and rejoiced in the Lord giving them the land of milk and honey by the power of His hand. This was the generation that Joshua challenged to “choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 ESV). How could this generation fail to speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord to their own sons and daughters and fail to proclaim His incredible love for His people?
Here is another sobering quote: “To our forefathers, their Christianity was an experience; to our fathers, it was an inheritance; if to us, it is a convenience; then to our children, it will be a nuisance.”
We must not remain silent! Though complacency begets contempt, it is not too late. As parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, we must boldly turn directly into the fierce headwind of a hostile culture that seeks to destroy the very definition of family as well as obliterate any remnant of godly legacy. We must, by the power of the Spirit, reject the love of self, the love of money and the love of pleasure and be lovers of God.
Oh yes, thankfully, God can redeem even those borne out of faithless generations, but that is not His calling on our lives. We are called to faithfulness. We are called to obedience. We are called to truth. We are called to embrace this promise, “From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children (Psalm 103:17 NIV).
Each of us has passed through some form of the Red Sea and been rescued by His mighty hand of deliverance. We have been supernaturally fed with His manna from heaven and seen walls fall. We have experienced wandering, unbelief, heartache and despair, but we also have seen the power of forgiveness, the splendor of hope, and given thanks as joy came in the morning. We have rejoiced in God’s faithfulness, seen His promises fulfilled, and been sustained day after day by His amazing grace in Jesus. We have been hidden in the cleft of the rock and seen His glory revealed so many times in our lives. Why would we – how could we remain silent?
Generations are in our hands. Go and tell.
But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come (Psalm 71:14-18 NASB).
© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries