Today you should read: Judges 2:6-10
In 2000, I remember sitting on the back of our Youngstown Baptist Church’s Brazil team bus, ready to head home and unwind from a long 2 weeks of missions work. The trip was the highlight of the summer before my senior year of high school. Our experiences were incredible. We saw dozens of people come to faith in Christ, did a lot of work projects, ministered in a really rough slum, and so on. We worshiped and served with all the power we had in us. The Lord moved in us and through us. As I sat there on the bus, I was already getting back into “home-mode”. I was thinking about everything coming at me when I hit the ground in the USA. My own sinful heart, and Satan’s evil plan, were causing me to forget what God had done and what He wanted to continue to do.
What happened next has forever stayed with me.
Russ Dean, veteran missionary and mentor, stood up and asked our pastor if he could address the team. He then opened His Bible to the passage that we read today: Judges 2. He spoke of the death of Joshua and its significance to the people of Israel. Russ reminded us of just how strong Joshua’s leadership was as he read:
And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. (Judges 2:7-8, ESV)
Joshua inspired leadership and obedience, and the generation he led did a great job of taking on his mantle. But then we find one of the most disappointing verses in the book of Judges:
And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10, ESV)
WHAT? One generation later, they didn’t know about God or what He had done? How could this be possible? The most obvious explanation would be that this was a discipleship issue. One generation didn’t pass it down with as much joy and urgency, thus, the next one missed it. Sure, if it came up, that generation could probably say some things about it. But they didn’t really know it.
On the bus that night, I heard a passion and fire in Russ’ voice that I can recall to memory so clearly that it takes me right back to that spot and that moment. What he shared was so simple, yet so important.
He said those words at least 10 times. He told us that the this was the downfall of the people of Israel in Judges. They kept forgetting. God did so much for them and their ancestors, yet they would leave Him so quickly. Russ challenged us to not forget what God had done in saving us, changing us, and making us new. And he begged us to not forget what He had done in our lives on that trip to Brazil.
Judges is a great learning opportunity for us. It’s as if God is giving us a similar challenge to the one Russ gave us on the bus: “DON’T FORGET. Don’t forget what I’ve done for you. Don’t forget what I have for you. Don’t forget that I am with you.”
I haven’t forgotten. I refuse to. I will pass it on with joy and urgency. The Lord has been too good to me. I will not forget.
Posted by: Todd Thomas
9 thoughts on “October 16, 2013”
Inspiring Todd! I felt like I was there! Just what I needed to get my day started. Thank you.
Thanks Tim — it was a special time in my spiritual development.
Amen Todd & Tim! My prayer is that each of us counts our blessings every day and remembers the goodness of our God.
I can’t wait for our Awaken service tonight and the West Campus launch this Sunday.
It was a special night at Awaken, wasn’t it!?
I Don’t want us to Forget! Pray for our nation. GOOD inspiration today. Thank you! Donna
Thanks Donna! I draw on this passage and that time in Brazil often. Amazing what God uses in our lives to keep us on track.
I think it is easy to say “Don’t forget!”, yet our minds are like sieves. God is so good to us, moves in our lives and continually shows His love to us and we do FORGET, just as the Israelites did. We forget His provision. We forget His protection. We forget His mercy. And of course the enemy uses the busyness of our lives to distract us further. God must know how easy it is for us to forget…as throughout Scripture He reminds us to remember and even at certain times says write THIS down so you don’t forget. Personally I have found journaling to be a great way to record the works of God in my life. But since most journals aren’t read until you are dead I also use a technique called faithbooking. It is combining my faith stories with photos…recording God’s activity in our daily lives. I have found it extremely helpful in obeying God’s command to remember.
Thanks, Todd, for a real life story that illustrates the importance of remembering and passing down God’s activity in our lives. We definitely want to be bearers of the truth and have a positive impact on the next generation.
You are right Kim — easier said than done. Aren’t you grateful that God gives us new mercies every single day? Faithbooking is a great idea. It is invaluable to be able to draw on past blessings/provision that push us to remember.
Great post, Todd! Psalm 145:4- “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.” DON’T FORGET!!