Men will give up anything rather than what they want to believe. And hate you for telling them there’s nothing to believe. And even if you prove it to them, they’ll continue to believe, and hate you for proving them foolish.”
–Louis L’Amour (Over on the Dry Side)
“Those who follow the right path fear the Lord; those who take the wrong path despise him.”
–Proverbs 14:2 (NLT)
A few weeks back we visited Washington on the Brazos. There is a working farm there where the people work and do things in the “old” way. I was able to talk quite a spell with the man of the farm and he said it was important to preserve “how to” get along in life: smoking meats, cooking, sewing, raising animals, working the soil, etc. He said it was important to pass on the legacy of the way of life.
Our lives, especially our spiritual lives, must be ready and able to pass on a legacy. What are you leaving your children and grandchildren, and I might add to the third and fourth generation? Are you preparing them to get along in life, and will they tell stories of you to their grandchildren of how you did it?
There is that great declaration by Joshua, “but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” That’s the way is should be. His “house” would also serve the Lord. But we seldom hear much about the following verses where the people said they would follow the Lord as well. Joshua knows these people; he chides and warns them,
“But Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.'”
–Joshua 24:19-20 (NKJV)
There are two things within these verses. First of all, the legacy must be passed. The children must be trained properly to serve the Lord. They must be reared properly in the fear of the Lord. However, even with the proper training, life choices must be made. A good analogy is a relay race. The runners are fast, they are trained to run–life is there, and they have been made ready for it. The race begins, the team running is out in front, here comes the handoff–and they drop the baton. The race is lost! The teaching–the fear of the Lord–must be received by the next generation or they will be lost.
Joshua’s words came true as you follow Israel through the Book of Judges. They went back to serving idols and living their own lives with little regard for the Lord. A generation after Joshua and there was apostasy in the land.