We launch the book of Judges this weekend and there are hardly any more haunting words for parents (and others who care about the next generation) than those found in Judges 2:
And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. ...And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. (Joshua 2:7,10b)
How could this happen? It doesn't seem possible. Nearly every commentator and pastor explains that the word "know" in this passage doesn't refer to knowing facts, to head knowledge. They explain that to know often refers to experiential knowledge in the Bible. They explain that what this means is that God and what he had done for Israel didn't matter to them.
I VEHEMENTLY DISAGREE!!! (Yes, the caps and exclamation points mean I'm ranting right now.)
Yes, to know means more than head knowledge, but it also means head knowledge.
And yes, it is entirely possible for the children of Joshua's generation to not know about God or the stories of God's deliverance.
One generation is all it takes! Look around. Seriously, anybody can see that It's happening right now! Bible-believing Christians are attending Bible-believing churches where the Bible is frequently referenced in sermons and small groups but the Bible isn't being taught. Bible-believing Christians in Bible-believing churches are producing Bible-ignorant believers--adults and children who do not know much about the story of God except for some truisms about Jesus and a truncated gospel of getting into heaven.
This is not a denominational thing or style of worship thing or size of church thing. It's just a stupid thing.
And it's not just a church thing. It's also a family thing.
Thankfully, more and more churches, church leaders, and parents are waking up and once again teaching the Bible. And what they discover when they do this is that people are hungry for it, seekers and believers alike.
But each believer has a role to play in this. You can't spoon feed someone into maturity. So, as we launch Judges this weekend in the sermons and all next week in DailyLife, commit yourself to doing the work it takes to know the story it tells and to reflect on its meaning for your life.