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.
About a week ago during worship at church we were singing “Cornerstone” by Hillsong. This is the chorus:
I was struck by the thought that a storm experienced in a person’s life is usually thought of as a negative thing, but it doesn’t always have to be nor is it always a bad thing. You see, the day before we had taken our oldest love bug back to the airport for her trip back to college. And, although, this was our sixth such trip since she started college in late 2013, this time it was the hardest for me. I also sensed it was a bit harder for her as well.
I wondered on this as Holy Spirit was showing me this momentary storm was not a bad thing, it came out of a really good thing! As I stood in worship the tears starting flowing, both sad tears for a season that has passed and tears of gladness at the Lord’s work. He showed me pictures of her youth like a slideshow and he spoke to my heart, “My hand is upon her. I have given her the passion of her heart; the passion for justice. She is on My path.” Oh, the grace of God is unfathomable! He never has to share with us the inner work he is doing, but many times he chooses too. He knew my troubled heart before the storm ever hit and he offered his grace, his comfort and his love.
Last week I took my youngest love bug to have some blood work done. It was late in the afternoon and we were the only ones in the waiting area, when a very nicely dressed man, around my age, okay, that would be middle-aged, came in with his father, who was walking with the help of a walking stick, not a typical cane.
I sat there discreetly listening, yes, I eavesdrop and I love to learn about others and their story, I never know when Holy Spirit will ask me to give a word of encouragement! As they checked in it was evident that they were there for the father. I also surmised that the son had taken time off work to help his father in this manner, hence the son still wearing his suit.
As we waited to be called, I prayed for the father asking Jesus for peace and thanking God for the love this son showed his father in taking care of him. I was struck by the contrast that I was there; a mother taking care of her daughter and they were there; a son taking care of his father, when Holy Spirit reminded me of this verse.
Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6.