A sad cycle — Judges 1-3

We’re now entering into a new period of Israel’s history, the judges; and with it, a sad, cycle that lasted for 400 years:

  • unfaithfulness,
  • punishment (at the hands of enemies),
  • repentance,
  • the rise of a “judge”,
  • the defeat of enemies,
  • a short time of faithfulness,
  • and returning back to unfaithfulness.

Keep it in mind as we read through this book.

And the reason why this cycle occurred is simple, one generation wasn’t successfully passing down the faith, the commands, and the importance. One passage that comes to mind is Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 that, if followed, might have stopped these cycles …

““These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Did you notice 2:10?

“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.”

My comment here will be simple and straightforward. No matter how faithful one generation might be, the next generation is always a risk to fall away. Every generation has the obligation to make strong efforts at passing on the faith; as helpful as a good example is, it must be accompanied by teaching.

Let me expand on this last point. There are those who’ll believe and practice an “example-only” (or “example-mainly”) style of parenting their children. They’re good people, but this means of leading children to discipleship is less than really effective. There are also those who are “teaching-only” (or “mainly”), the do-as-I-say-do-not-as-I-do crowd. They are even less effective that the “example-only” school of parenting — indeed, they are often more effective in producing rebellion against what their parents are teaching. The most effective mode of parenting and passing on faith is a strong combination of both teaching and example. There are not, of course, any guarantees about what a child will do — each of us has a free will — but the chances of raising faithful children rise substantially with this combination of both teaching and example.

See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

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About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
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