After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. ~ Judges 2:10-13
Picture your congregation on Christmas Day, a hundred years in the future. Imagine your church on that day standing empty. Nobody attends to hear that a Savior was born in Bethlehem. Not a soul lifts up his voice to sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” Why? Nobody knows the Lord Jesus anymore.
The Bible tells us that “Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua” (Joshua 24:31), but then we read that the next generation forsook and forgot the Lord.
While Baal and Ashtoreth might not be the gods of choice today, the devil continues to bring before us other appealing “gods”. (For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34).
Many things promise to bring fulfillment to our lives. They seem to guarantee perfect contentment. But they never fully deliver. While we are chasing after them and focused on them, we are tempted to forsake (abandon) our worship of God and our belief in Jesus his Son. And when we no longer believe, we will no longer tell the next generation–our children, our grandchildren, the kids in our neighborhood–about the Lord’s priceless salvation. This would indeed rouse God’s righteous anger!
Jesus, on whom the sins of the whole world were laid when he died on Calvary’s cross, paid for the innumerable times God’s people sinned and forsook him. God grants us forgiveness because of Jesus’ death, God does not count our sins against us. The Bible says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). May we never be lead astray and forget that awesome truth!
This message of God’s great love prompts us to discard worthless, worldly idols and cling to him alone who saves. Through his Holy Spirit working faith in our hearts we are motivated to do the work God has placed us here to do—share his full and free salvation with the next generation.
By God’s grace on Christmas Day in all future years, the houses of the Lord will resound with singing, “Glory to God in the highest.”
Fill me, Lord, with the joy of your salvation. And lead me to live for you in grateful response to your love. Put your word on my lips and help me share with others the good news that you are the Savior of all. Amen.