Vol. 3, No. 4
Joshua asked his people to choose whom they would serve. This meant putting priorities straight; it meant choosing right from wrong. It meant God before self! God had provided for his stiff-necked children. He was their sole source of protection. They answered, "God forbid, that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods" (Joshua 24:16).
Joshua responds, "Ye cannot serve the Lord: he is holy . . . jealous . . . not forgive transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, he will turn and do hurt . . . consume you . . . And the people said . . . Nay, but we will serve the Lord." Those people were witnesses against themselves. They said, ". . . The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey" (Joshua 24:16-24). Joshua wrote these words in the book of law and a stone was placed beside the sanctuary as a witness to their covenant. The next generation did evil in the sight of the Lord because they knew him not. These children had no reason to hold fast to the God that had saved Israel from bondage; they had no memories to prod their minds. Why fight and kill when mingling and mimicking the Canaanites furnished gods and maintained an easy life? The prophet Jeremiah asks them to "ask for the old ways . . . and walk therein." Their answer, "we will not walk therein" (Jeremiah 6:16). The new generation had made a choice! Wooden idols or a living God! Did an image suffice their needs?
It took only two generations to bring the Jewish nation to the feet of Baalim. This is unsettling! One generation did not teach their children about God and his omnipotence; therefore, the second knew very little about the Lord God of Israel. They had been swayed by unconquered enemies and remembered not their God!
Look into the lives of your children and grandchildren. Are they hearing about Jesus daily? Do parents read, study and worship the true God regularly? Do you hold a proper respect for all church activities? Is God the first priority in your life? You set the example! Will those beautiful grandbabies know Jesus unless you provide the source of knowledge? "Train up a child . . . he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). These are words that leap from the Old Testament, our schoolmaster. Jesus knew those words. He was in the Temple teaching and listening at the age of twelve. Mary must have had something to do with his wisdom and knowledge of the Jewish faith. What about our twelve-year-olds?
Paul writes of Timothy, "When I call to remembrance . . . faith . . . first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice . . . in thee also" (2 Timothy 3:14). Eunice and Lois were busy ladies who had the attention of Timothy early in his life. It paid off as they helped him realize his spiritual strengths. They taught him well enough that the great apostle Paul, himself a learned scholar of the Jewish religion, was able to recognize this young man's genuine wisdom and knowledge. Could any well-educated person in the Body of Christ make this same complimentary statement about those placed under our care? A huge burden of responsibility is placed on our shoulders, both parents and grandparents alike.
We daily feed the family wholesome food. Could the spiritual feeding be improved upon? Deal with those imaginative children while they still are young and impressionable. They will listen and learn. Timothy may have sat at the feet of those women often in his life and absorbed much. Their tireless efforts had their rewards.
To satisfy a child's physical need for food takes regular meals plus an occasional snack. We would not let one of our children go hungry on any given day, yet, do we neglect feeding the food of the spirit to that same child, thinking it can be put off with no real harm? How long will it take before the snacks replace the hearty food required? A child gets hungry; he seeks after nourishment. There are too many worldly snacks. Replace the snack bar with spiritual food. It also can be tasty! Children will return for more Bible studies. Begin daily lessons at an early age and just watch them grow in the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord.
The Lord provided for his people in the days of the Old Testament. Today, the New Testament is our complete spiritual food; use it. From out of the past comes an echo. Listen, do you hear it? Choose you this day!