Almost a month without a blog post….
To be honest, my mind just feels full at the end of each day and it seems tiring to ask it to keep going by sitting down to write. Yet this morning is quiet with the youth all away on a rafting trip, and I have the house to myself as the sun starts to come up through the trees. I took a cup of coffee back to bed and finally started the book “From Moab to Bethlehem – a journey to the King.” It’s a study of Ruth, and today’s lesson focused only on the first verse which describes that there was a famine in the land when the judges ruled Jerusalem. Digging deeper into that one verse energized my recently tired soul this morning! When we look around, we often see a spiritual famine in our own land, but there is a clear way out – a way to life and life abundant.
Looking back in Judges, when Joshua’s generation passed away, Scripture says that the next generation neither knew the Lord nor what He had done for Israel. As a result of this, they did what was evil and served other gods. By Judges 16, Israel had no king and everyone “did as he saw fit.” Ruth chapter 1 says that during that time when judges ruled Israel, there was a famine in the land. Why were bad judges ruling God’s people and why were they suffering a severe famine?
Because they were ignorant about their Lord and what He had done for their people. They didn’t know Him, so they only knew themselves and their own pleasures. In one generation, Israel disintegrated from faithful to spiritually barren. How did they not know? The only thing I can think of is that Joshua’s generation was not diligent about telling them. The Israelite people had a dramatic story to tell of God’s love, rescue, promise and faithfulness. Yet if they didn’t share it with their children, their testimony died. Clearly, just because their children were Israelites themselves was not enough to make them the faithful people God called them to be. They needed to hear and see God’s powerful testimony in order for it to be real to them and turn their hearts to Him.
What a calling to us! We have a generation coming behind us that needs to hear and see us living out God’s story in our lives. If we don’t actively tell them, their hearts will live in famine. We can’t count on them having a passion for the Lord just because we do. We have to pour into them what the Lord pours into us. The rich, cleansing water He has showered over us – that has washed our lives, made us new, fed our souls – must be poured out over their dry hearts in order for them to come to True life. (sidenote – we cannot give them what we don’t have. We must be faithful at seeking and receiving the Lord if we want to have anything to share with our youth).
But, oh how Satan is winning this battle! He has turned our culture against the sharing of our testimonies. We’re so shy about talking about Jesus with others because our culture says that’s being too “pushy” and arrogant. What’s right for us is right for us, but don’t go trying to change another person – that’s just rude. Yet, if we’re not trying to help people change to be more like Christ (as we also are trying to change!), then God take us all right now because we are useless. If we believe the lie that we should keep quiet because other people have a right to live however they see fit, then we are the generation that will cause the famine to come.
Our children and our youth will not develop a passion for Christ unless we are willing to live out our own faith stories before them. They need to see us worship, pray, trust, and serve the way Jesus calls us to. They need to hear what He has done for us. We need to show them that God is not a person in a book they occasionally read – He is the One who pulled me from my broken ways, restored me from my faithless choices that hurt my heart so badly. He is the One who plucked me from depression and gave me joy. He is the One who led me down beautiful, unknown paths when I trusted Him to take control. He is the force behind the life they see me live.
We need to tell them. We need to pour out to them what He is pouring into us. Otherwise, when we see them dry and fruitless, we cannot blame them.