When watching a Thanksgiving documentary from Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, I listened to the lead journalist ask young adults the following questions about the first Thanksgiving:
1. What country did the Pilgrims come from? They answered, “Asia.”
2. What year did the Pilgrims celebrate the first Thanksgiving? They answered, “1492, no maybe it was 1820.
Although the above answers tended to play on the comical side, the reality of false historical information was a bit scary.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Moses wrote, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord our God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart: and 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.”
God was urging Moses to train Joshua, his successor, to not assume that the next generation will automatically follow in line with the worship of the God of their fathers. This type of teaching had to be done on a daily basis by parents teaching their children. God was giving the parents a commandment to spend time with their children for teaching religious instruction as well as life skills.
One haunting passage from Judges 2:10 read;
“After that whole generation had also been gathered to their fathers, another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works that He had done for Israel. After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.”
When reflecting upon that passage, it gave the sad historical account that although the younger generation may have had some head knowledge about God, they did not know Him in a personal matter. They had no heart knowledge. They became a nation that forsook God, and as a result, they began to live a roller-coaster style of spirituality.
In this particular passage of scripture, Moses, Joshua, and Caleb’s generations had died. The following generations arose without much knowledge of the Red Sea crossing and the wilderness experiences. The parents had failed to teach their Hebrew history and as a result, the younger generation had grown up in the Promised Land, but did not know Hebrew history. As a result, they forsook the God of their Fathers and served Baal, which was the god of their heathen neighbors, thus accepting their culture.
Because of the failure of the older generation to train the younger generation in the ways of the LORD their God, they forsook their covenant relationship as a nation. According to the great commentator, Matthew Henry, the Hebrews “did not become atheists, but worshipers of multiple gods … and made their courts to sun and moon…and became a nation of mean and miserable.”
Mean and miserable. Unpleasant. Shameful. Unhappy. Wretched. Depressed. Were these the types of stepping stones that Joshua’s generation wanted placed down for their grandchildren? Probably not.
Reviewing the article written by Ed Hinson about leaving a legacy for children, he wrote the following in his book The Total Family:
1. If you want your child to be a spiritual giant, you must lead the way.
2. If you want your child to be dependable and consistent, you must lead the way by example.
3. If you want your child to surround himself with spiritually minded friends, then you must surround yourself with spiritually minded friends.
In closing, remember a direction given from Solomon,
”Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many;” Proverbs 4:10