Tommy Thornhill

After the death of Moses, Joshua became the leader of the people of Israel. As he takes command, he repeats God’s instructions and promise to Israel. ”… As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people I you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you, do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left that you may prosper wherever you go. This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth that you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Josh.1:6-9.

He then leads the children of Israel into the Promised Land. After conquering the land, it is divided among the 12 tribes of Israel as their possession. Then Joshua, at the end of his life repeats once more God’s instructions to the people. He proclaims what they should do to remain faithful to God, while at the same time warning them what will happen if they didn’t Josh.23:6-8; 24:14-17, 31. Joshua dies with the Israelites in possession of the land, and the generation following Joshua’s death stays faithful.

But then we read Jud.2:6-13 and learn that the people, only two generations removed from Moses and Joshua, are already turning away from God. We read, “Another generation arose…who did not know the LORD.”

Note the characteristics of their apostasy vs.11-13. 1. They had become Ignorant of God’s ways. They copied the gods of the people around them. They did what was right in their own eyes as we later read Jud.17:6; 21:25. 2. They forsook the God who had saved them from slavery to become His chosen people and repeated the same sins of apostacy over and over again. Centuries later God’s prophet Jeremiah describes what they did. “Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for that which does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate” says the LORD. For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, and hewn themselves cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water” Jer.2:11-13.3. They became unthankful to God for what He had done in the past. They forgot what He had done for their forebears. 4. So, they did that which was evil in God’s sight, bringing His wrath down upon them. “Another generation arose … who did not know the LORD” Jud.2:10.

When we read how quickly ancient Israel. as a whole, turned away from God after their God-fearing leaders died, we might think we are reading present day history. Our country, having gone through the Great depression of the 1930s and WW2, enjoyed a short-lived revival back toward God. The depression and the war served to bring people back toward God. During this period of the late 40s, 50s and early 60s, the Lord’s church enjoyed a great growth, but it didn’t last long.

The next generation along with the last two or three generations forgot or ignored the history of how this country was established and how the founding fathers labored to build a country resting on godly principles. And frankly few today seem to care. This is true, from our leaders on down to the common man. Jeremiah observed this same attitude in his day, “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” Jer.5:30-31. Today, it might read, “The religious leaders tell lies and the politicians elected by unthinking people rule by their permission with rottenness and corruptness, and the people love to have it so.” They don’t care, and they are no longer able to stop their fall. This same thing is happening in the church.

Whether in the secular or religious world there is nothing new in history. Solomon in Eccl.1:9 observed, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” So, history repeats itself over and over again. Those of us who understand what Solomon wrote are helpless as we watch people who don’t know and study history follow the path to destruction. It remains true, whether it be God’s people (the church), or the citizens of our country, people are always ready to leave the true, godly principles on which they were first established, and blindly follow the evils of a godless, wicked society.

Today, a generation arises that does not know the Lord. A study of Israel of old shows this. People did not remain faithful to the truth very long. Throughout their history there was a continual falling away, maybe a short revival at times, but then back to apostasy. Where are the churches of the first century today? They are non-existent. What of the ages in between then and today? I believe there were churches in existence in past ages because the word of God, the seed of the church, remained alive, but over time they died out. Very few churches remain faithful beyond two generations. How long do you think this congregation will continue to exist?

Why does this happen? Rom.1:21-23. They leave the light of God’s revelation. They know God but fail to glorify Him and become unthankful. They then become vain in their reasoning, made fools of themselves by changing God for idols. Believed the lie and became immoral.

What is the solution to this situation today? In my conclusion next week, I will discuss what we need to do to keep this church from going into apostacy. Wake up and “redeem the time. It is not too late Eph.5:14-16.

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