8 Minute Read + video
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Judges 2:10 (CSB): “That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the LORD or the works he had done for Israel.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Judges 2:10 is a very sad verse. The generation that heard from God and saw Him do wonderful things on their behalf died. Their children and grandchildren, who hadn’t experienced God, grew up unaware of what God desired to do among them.
Since those children and grandchildren hadn’t heard from God and hadn’t seen Him move powerful among them, they would develop a distant view of God. He was “out there.” While they may have continued to believe in His existence, He seemed to be so far removed from real life. There wasn’t any joy in their God and there wasn’t any relationship. Life was utterly predictable, earth-centered, and boring.
Why was this the case? Had God changed His mind about do amazing things among His people?
It was actually because the parents and grandparents had failed to obey the Lord. Joshua 2:1-5 makes it clear that while God had remained faithful to His people, His people had not remained faithful to Him.
Since they did not aggressively obey Him and since they didn’t crave His presence among them, He would honor their desires. He would only let them have as much of Him as they desired … which wasn’t much.
Soon, God’s wonderful works among His people became a distant memory. The older folks talked about “the good ol’ days” … and eventually, they stopped reminiscing. They settled into a life that was devoid of God’s mighty acts. A life that was often predictable and completely boring.
Their children reaped the consequences. Their children didn’t even have the memories of God’s acts. They had no frame of reference for how God wanted to move among His people. They had no memory of the exciting victories that God had given their parents and grandparents as they took the Promised Land.
So, what was the motto by which those children lived?
Judges 17:6 (CSB): “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.”
Judges 21:25 (CSB): “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.”
Since God wasn’t at the center of their life, they made themselves the center of their life. They lived for the predictable and earthly and boring.
Friend, I believe we are living in the days of those children. It has been a long time since many of us have seen God move powerfully among us. Our children and grandchildren don’t even have that frame of reference.
It would be good for those of us who have a knowledge of what God wants to do, and what He has done in our lives, to share it and pray that He would do it again.
After all, our nation has experienced multiple powerful movements of God. Essentially, America was birthed out of the First Great Awakening when God was saving tens of thousands of men and women in England and the 13 colonies. (While the previous link says that the First Great Awakening took place in the 1730’s and 1740’s, many believe that it continued until George Whitefield’s death in September 1770, less than six years before our country was birthed.)
Since then, there have been multiple revivals and awakenings, when God saved thousands of people in a short period of time and when He brought the saved even closer to Himself (e.g. the New York City Revival, the Second Great Awakening, and many others).
If you want to watch a 37 minute documentary on the Asbury Revival (1970) where a chapel service lasted for 6 full days, just click the “play” button on the following 37 minute video.
In 1995, when I was a student at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, I was part of what became known as the Brownwood Revival that swept through most (all?) of the Southern Baptist seminaries and many colleges and other seminaries across our land. If you click the previous link (“Brownwood Revival”), you can read my account of what took place.
Honestly, that week changed my life. I was saved at the age of 8 but that week (when I was 24 years old) revealed to me that God wants to do so much more in my life and in the lives of those around me than we could ever imagine. And there is happiness, that no words can describe, to be found in relationship with Him. It has left me wanting so much more than what I find in so many of our contemporary churches.
Revelation 2:5 (CSB): “Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”
But most people sitting in our church pews have no idea that God wants to move among His people like that. They have grown accustomed to boring, lifeless, Spiritless services. They show up, sing a few songs, listen to the preacher, and then go home … and possibly wonder what it’s all for.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get back to the basic principles of immersing ourselves in Scripture, obedience, repentance, submission to God, prayer, and the other spiritual disciplines that invited God’s presence among His people in years gone by? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could see God move again in our time?
Friend, God hasn’t changed. We are the ones who have drifted.
I am convinced that if we were to focus on the same old biblical principles that invited God’s presence among His people in years past, God may show up in power again. We wouldn’t need all of the bells and whistles to attract people to church. God’s presence would act as a divine magnet, drawing people to Himself. And as we experience God’s presence and are changed as a result, we would be empowered to do exactly what He’s called us to do … with a heart of joy!
May He do it again!
Jeremiah 29:12-13 (CSB): “You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (CSB): “If I shut the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on my people, and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”