We are always one generation away from great loss.
Joshua led an extraordinary campaign and fought great battles to secure the land. But after his death, we read this in Judges 2:
All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.
Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger (Judges 2:10-12 NASB).
It doesn’t take long. We cannot control those who come behind us, but we can do our best to help them.
And, it must be incredibly intentional. What can we do?
We must help them authentically know the Lord.
This is not about mere head knowledge. Our great passion should be to help our children and grandchildren know Jesus Christ deeply and experientially. We must disciple them, put them in the battle, train them, and create environments where they can experience Christ fully.
And it should go without saying: If we are not experiencing Christ personally and growing to know Him more and more each passing year, we have no hope of training our children. They will hear our words as hollow hypocrisy. If it appears to them that Jesus is not worth giving our all for, why would they pursue Him?
We must continually remind them of “the work which He [has] done.”
This is not a mere reciting, but the constant gratitude that is teaching others the ways of God in human history. Not just in our history, but the whole redemptive history of mankind.
And in those reminders, we must show them the glory of following Christ and the potential of God’s anger when a people He has birthed and delivered walk away from Him.
We must turn from every idol of the world around us, and help them to do so also.
We must not be enamored with “the gods of the peoples” who are around us. These pagan idols (and let’s be honest, we worship Baal as much as the Canaanites did) must be clearly unveiled for what they are. We must do whatever necessary to help our students know how to identify and ignore them.
The greatest way to expose Baal, though, is to exalt Jesus Christ. His beauty, and the glory of knowing Him, will make other gods unattractive and be our best antidote for the barrage of Baal worship. We must show the next generation the thrill of worshiping the God who loves them and died for them.
It is far more comfortable to just do what you want to do … to take your ease and let the next generation discover truth the hard way (if at all). But it is deadly and misses the calling our generation has from God.
This great task—of helping those who come behind—is worth every adjustment, every sacrifice, and every intentional step. And we should never stop working on it until we die.