March 30 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” ~Joshua 2:20-22

The book of Judges records the era of Israel’s history between the death of Joshua and the rise of the monarchy, a time when the men and women who lead Israel are known as judges. While the book of Joshua primarily recounts the invasion of Israel and the wars for occupation, Judges recounts the on-going battles to control the land. (For a modern example, consider that the allied invasion of Iraq was followed by years of internal fighting to gain control over various parts of the nation.) On a sad note, we are told that a new generation arises that does not know the Lord (Judg. 2:10). Yes, they are occupying the land of promise, but they have yet to fully bring the land under the rule of God. The worshipping community is going into decline!

Have you ever noticed that entire generations take on a particular ethos, even in our own day? We describe tendencies, both good and bad, that are true of the Greatest Generation, those who grew up in the Depression and fought in World War II; or Generation X, those born after the Vietnam War; or the Millennials, those who grew up as the millennium turned. In Israel, the first generation was wiped out in the wilderness for their fearfulness and disobedience. The second generation learned from the mistakes of their parents and faithfully marched into the land of promise! But the new generation coming onto the scene and enjoying the land of promise takes a relatively complacent view to the remaining enemy inhabitants. Things are good enough! Why go on fighting? Why risk it?

It is imperative for every generation to put their heart and soul into serving the Lord while preparing the next generation to do the same. While we cannot “make” those in the next generation follow God, we can certainly influence them in significant ways. We can lead by example through our commitment to the Word, our passion for worship, and our faithfulness to serve Him. (The example of our lives should make serving God look irresistible!) We can and must teach them, as well. At church, at home, and throughout the everyday course of life, we have opportunities to train the next generation to handle conflict, respect authority, endure trials, and love enemies. And we should empower them! The church must make room for young people in positions of service and leadership so that when one generation passes off the scene, the next generation is ready to lead the way. May God help us to be faithful so that we might lead the next generation to follow in our footsteps serving the Lord.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.