All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Judges 2:10.
I grew up in a very large, very full blooded Italian family! Both sets of my grandparents emigrated to the United States from Italy. My father was a California transplant from Rhode Island, my mom was born and raised and lived her entire live in San Jose.
I have very fond childhood memories of family. All my father’s siblings remained on the east coast but my mom’s large family were all in San Jose. I remember on weekends we would rotate whose house we would be at for visiting and a meal. We didn’t call to ask if we could come over, it seems the women in our family simply knew who would be hosting on any given weekend. And, Sunday’s, oh Sunday’s were for the traditional pasta meal, usually accompanied by homemade meatballs! Sometimes the adults would speak in Italian, usually when they didn’t want the kids to understand what they were talking about, and, unfortunately, they did not teach us kids the language of our native tongue. But, there were stories and traditions galore! To this day, although I do not practice my Catholic upbringing, I still remember St. Josephs’s Day and all the cooking that went along with it and the little old Italian lady, who, for days would be preparing all sorts of food and desserts for this special day. I think my mom was secretly pleased when one of our lovebugs was born on St. Joseph’s Day!
The nucleus of our family mostly remained in San Jose until the generation before us passed on. Now we are scattered around the nation largely due to affordable housing and job opportunities elsewhere. But, I have kept the stories of my childhood alive by retelling them to my children. An oral tradition that I know they will pass onto my grandchildren.
Before the Bible was a written word it was a verbal word. The stories of God’s faithfulness and the Mosaic Law and what it looked like to be obedient to God were all handed down generation to generation by the telling and retelling of these truths.
A generation, today, is typically thought to be about 25 years; from the birth of a parent to the birth of their child. In the Bible during the Old Testament a generation was typically 40 years.
How is it that the generation mentioned in Judges 2:10 above, a generation that crossed the Jordan River and took possession of the Promised Land, which some estimate was at least one million people, a generation that included Joshua and Caleb, who were great warriors; mighty men of God, had produced a generation that neither knew God or knew of God’s mighty deeds and faithfulness to his beloved Israel?
Did the generation that crossed the Jordan River simply stop retelling about their faith and trust in God to the generation of their children? Perhaps, but I don’t believe so. The Jordan River generation had wandered the wilderness with the generation before them until the wilderness generation had died and God brought the Jordan River generation into the Promised Land he had vowed to give their ancestors. The Jordan River generation experienced the supernatural power of God and witnessed His deliverance and fighting for them. Those stories would have been some of the greatest they would have retold about God’s love, protection and provision over them.
A generation that did not know God or what He had done for Israel. Yet, God in his sovereignty and unfailing love provided a remnant generation to generation. So that, you and I now have the hope that as we tell our own stories of God’s faithfulness in our life to our children and grandchildren and the generations to come, we are establishing a foundation for the base of their own faith in Jesus.