“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.” (Judges 2:10)
A family occasion was the recent cause for my wife and I to look at old family pictures and other family memorabilia. It doesn’t seem that long ago when we were so young that our parents still held onto some of their youth. Then, there was a time when my afro was so large, my dad “hinted” (a euphemism) how nice it would be if I got it cut. Looking at pictures of our children at various stages of their own growth, pictures that seem like they were taken yesterday was a reminder that time never slows down for they are all now at or near middle age and have their own families.
Growing up, I was always interested in, and later grateful for, the family stories my parents shared with me. These were stories of the events of their lives and their families of origin including some I met and got to know and grow close to and many whom I didn’t. I heard about mom’s and dad’s experiences as children and young adults and even beyond, things that shaped them as people. Those lessons were critically important to me.
I know I’m not unique in this; I think it’s natural for parents to do this with their children. These narratives provide context for life, value formation and hopefully, healthy spiritual formation, something that many children, I fear, are not getting in their homes.
Early in the formation of the national Israel, GOD instructed His people, through Moses, to be proactive with certain things, including passing down the narratives of what GOD had done for them to succeeding generations. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (Deut. 6:6-7).
People share a lot of things with their children, verbally and by being observed daily over the course of years as the children grow: history, culture, values, habits, expectations, dogmas, flaws, prejudices, etc. For those of us who claim to know, love and trust GOD, where is He, and what He has done, on that particular list which we proactively and purposefully share with the generations that follow us?
Time never slows down and soon another generation will “be gathered to their ancestors” until that “great day of the Lord.” Let it not be said of us that we lived and then left without intentionally, purposefully, faithfully paying forward our faith and that we left behind us another generation that grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2021. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.