Did anyone else read this and think to yourself, “Wait a minute, didn’t Joshua already die?” Judges 1:1 speaks of Joshua’s first death and unless you do some additional studying, one can be confused with this supposed second death of Joshua. When this was written, Joshua had already died (as mentioned above) but this is a sudden flashback to Joshua 24:28-31 to remind us what starts the apostasy of Israel and its consequences that the book of Judges will cover from here on out. I also believe that this is mentioned a second time because it reminds parents and the church as a whole how quickly our gospel witness can fade away in the next generation. In fact, John Piper said this about these short 4 verses:
“In summary, there was a sequence like this: first, the people revered and served the true God because Joshua and his generation kept the memory of God’s mighty acts alive among the people. Second, a new generation arose who for some reason did not know God or his work for Israel. Third, this new generation forsook the true worship and turned to other gods. And finally, God brought the judgment of his wrath upon them.”
Joshua was a faithful leader and witness to the One, True God. But after his passing, that witness and leadership was gone. It didn’t take long for the following generations to assume, forget and then turn away from the God that saved them just a generation or two ago. What an important reminder for us to do everything we can to pass the gospel to the following generations. This is why children and student ministries are so important. This is also why each Christian parent should do everything they can to impress these important truths on their kids hearts. And what are you doing to bring lost young families into the fold? All it takes is one generation to assume or forget before the next one will turn away. Let’s learn from God’s Word today and leave a better gospel legacy than what we will read in the book of Judges after Joshua passed.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor