When a generation knows not God
The people of Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him – those who had personally experienced all that the LORD had done for Israel. – Joshua 24:31
Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
The 18th century was one of the most extraordinary chapters in the development of Western civilization. Remarkable people with a remarkable understanding of human nature, history, and the basis for a sound, lasting Republic ascended to positions of leadership and influence. In the year 1788, the then nascent American states were considering whether or not to ratify the new US Constitution. The fact that individuals from so many disparate backgrounds and dispositions could join together and create such a document was considered by many nothing less than a divine act of Providence. George Washington made several salient observations worthy of our consideration in the 21st century.
“It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States . . .. should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well-founded objections” (Washington).
“We are not to expect perfection in this world; but mankind, in modern times, have apparently made some progress in the science of government” (Washington)
“No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass” (Washington).
It was a remarkable time where the majority of these individuals had a firm belief in the existence of a providential, creator God who had brought them to the present hour and given them victory over the strongest military power on earth of the age, Great Britain.
But what happens when the people as a nation forget the God of the Bible? Sadly this happened many times in the history of the nation of Israel.
Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob, found himself in a very difficult situation as a prisoner in the land of Egypt. But the Father was with Joseph and gave him tremendous abilities, brilliance, and character. Joseph rose to the top and became second in command to Pharaoh. Through his leadership, Egypt and the emergent nation of Israel were saved from death by famine and went on to prosper. Eventually, at the age of 130, Joseph’s life came to an end (Genesis 50:26).
6 In time, Joseph and all of his brothers died, ending that entire generation.
7 But their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so greatly that they became extremely powerful and filled the land.
Soon darkness covered the land of Egypt. Anti-Semitism was on the rise and harsh treatment of the children of Israel was commenced. When the Father is forgotten so are the people associated with His name.
8 Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done.
9 He said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are.”
10 “We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.”
11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king.
12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.
13 So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy.
14 They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands.
Things soon went from bad to worse. A genocidal program of extermination was initiated. The Pharaoh’s solution: death of all newborn male Hebrew children.
15 Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah:
16 “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.”
17 But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.
22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.”
That plan did not work out too well either. The Father providentially saved Moses from certain death at the hands of Pharaoh and the rest is history.
REFLECT & PRAY
Proverbs 14:34 Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
Father thank You for your providential work and intervention in human history. Guide each child of the King in how they respond to the present hour.
Tragically, the nation of Israel itself forgot the God of the Bible soon after they entered the Promised Land. Through the leadership of Joshua and Caleb, the people took possession of the Promised Land. The angel of the Lord led Joshua to victory (Joshua 5). The promise of the Father was fulfilled. This generation of Israelites knew and worshiped the true God, the Father. They had seen His miraculous work that freed them from slavery. This was the Nation’s “the Greatest Generation.” But when that generation died out, their faith in God was not followed by those that came after them. By the end of the book of Judges, the people had forgotten the God of the Bible
The people of Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him – those who had personally experienced all that the LORD had done for Israel. (Joshua 24:31). In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25).
Jeremiah 2:11 Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols!
In the 20th century, many nations of the world saw generations arise that knew not the God of the Bible. Germany was one of them. In his book, When a Nation Forgets God, Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer tells the story of what happened.
“Erwin Lutzer asks . . . What happens to the nation that forgets God? Using the history of Nazi Germany as his canvas, Lutzer brilliantly illustrates a critically important truth. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, a culture which drives every vestige of God from the marketplace of ideas inevitably finds it has sown seeds that it will reap in the whirlwind” (Frank Wright, President & CEO, National Religious Broadcasters).
Many of the things that happened in Nazi Germany are eerily similar to events occurring today. At the turn of the 20th century, Germany shared much common ground with the United States at the turn of the 21st century. The German people, having a rich culture and powerful military machine, were demoralized and diminished by warfare. The nation fell into uncertain and turbulent times. Inconceivable political changes took place. Society plunged into darkness.
Consider several of Lutzer’s observations from the book:
- The Greater Good of Germany eclipsed individual freedoms and the right to opposition.
- As long as the economy was strong, people did not care whether they had freedom of speech, freedom of travel, or freedom of elections.
- Given a choice, most people chose bread and sausage above individual liberties.
- Treason was defined as anything contrary to the will and purpose of the Reich.
- The best way to conquer your enemies is to divide them.
- Political leadership tapped into the anger of the German people.
- Propaganda was utilized to disrupt of the existing state of affairs.
- Before long facts did not matter.
- Lies and intimidation silenced opposition.
- The cross of Christ was distorted and diminished when wrapped in the flag of a political party.
- Churches did not have enough room for both the cross and the swastika.
- Emotions were more powerful than rational arguments. Success was achieved by demonizing the opposition
- Warning signs were overlooked because people wanted to believe in something so strongly it did not matter that was a lie or not.
Is the Father sending a warning to children of the King? Is He speaking to us through the stories in the Scriptures and also modern-day events? Are we facing a dreadful, monstrous future that none of us wishes? What should the children of the King do?
1 Thessalonians 5:4-11
4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.
5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.
6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.
10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.
11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.