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 all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. Judges 2:7, 10
If I were to even begin a list of the men and women who poured into me spiritually as a child and as a teenager and as a college student and as a young adult, I would probably inadvertently leave out more names than the hundred or so that I can remember! It is one of the many blessings of having grown up in the church. I was given many, many stories and opportunities to learn about the work of God in the generation(s) before mine. Those stories have no doubt colored my understanding of and thirst for unity among God’s people.
Unity is all about relationships. And relationships are all about communication. And few obstacles to meaningful communication can be more perplexing than the very different cultural frameworks developed within generations. But doesn’t a Biblical worldview impose upon us a responsibility to communicate well across generational lines, so that God’s story is told seamlessly across time and His people continue to grow in their faith?
So, as I study and contemplate the plight of the nation of Israel in Judges 2, and then begin to draw applications to my own life, I am prompted to pray this way…
Lord, show me your ways and your hand in my life today, and then help me tell those stories to the next generation. Bolster my testimony of when I have seen you……
He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Judges 16:20
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
It’s an awesome thing, being used by God to further His work in this world. I am sure you would agree that the empowerment by God to accomplish things bigger and greater than anything we could do on our own is a true blessing. That is true for individuals and it is true for churches as well. The problem, of course, with being gifted and blessed is that it can start to go to our heads and we can lose site of any sense of humility. We can grow so accustomed to the giftedness and blessing, we can forget where it comes from and whose bidding it is for. That, it seems to me, was Samson’s problem.
By pretty much anyone’s standards, Samson “had it going on”. Having taken the Nazarite vows and having committed himself to God’s service, he was empowered with almost super-hero-like abilities. He became a powerful leader among God’s people and actually served as one of Israel’s more famous leaders (one of the “judges”) for some twenty years. What was his “super power”? Uncommon strength. That giftedness propelled him to great acclaim among the people.
But Samson had a lifelong struggle with self-control and instant gratification. He had, it seems, a virtually unquenchable appetite for pleasing himself, even if it meant being disobedient to God or to his Nazarite vows. He worshiped God. He loved God. He had great faith in God. He was remembered by the writer of Hebrews as one of the heroes of the faith in God’s story (Hebrews 11). …