In the 1950’s, school teachers faced plenty of disciplinary problems. They disciplined kids for chewing gum, for cutting in line, for throwing spit-wads, and for talking in class. Today, a generation later, the challenges are far different. Today’s teachers are concerned about drug and alcohol abuse, gangs, gun violence, and sex-crimes. Life in America has changed.
When Joshua, Moses’s successor, led God’s people in the conquest of Canaan, the people faithfully submitted to Divine leadership. “The people worshiped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua. They had seen all the Lord’s great works he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:7).
Joshua died at the ripe-old-age of one-hundred-ten. “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. The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshiped the Baals and abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed other gods ... and bowed down to them. They angered the Lord, for they abandoned him and worshiped Baal” (Judges 2:10–13).
In the short span of just one generation, the nation that had crossed the Jordan River, defeated Jericho, and conquered the land that flowed with milk and honey, devolved into a bunch of pagans who “did not know the Lord!” That would seem almost impossible, except we have lived through a similar cultural transformation.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed The Defense of Marriage Act which codified into federal law the definition of marriage as “the union of one man and one woman.” Sadly, a key portion of that law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, less that twenty years later. Today, a man can marry another man, and soon, I predict, he’ll be able to marry his pet parakeet. In large part, America has “abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors.”
But here’s a little reminder. God says, “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh!” (Galatians 6:7–8). Don’t think for a minute that God is suddenly impotent, or that he has changed with the times and become progressive, open-minded, and tolerant.
“The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord handed them over to Midian seven years, and they oppressed Israel. Because of Midian, the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites ... attacked them. They encamped against them and destroyed the produce of the land... They left nothing for Israel to eat, as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. For the Midianites came with their cattle and their tents like a great swarm of locusts. They and their camels were without number, and they entered the land to lay waste to it” (Judges 6:1–5).
Remarkably, amazingly, graciously, when “the Israelites cried out to the Lord” (Judges 6:6), God heard. He was ready. He was listening. Folks, it’s not too late to cry out to God! If “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” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.