When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
With all our technology in this information age, you’d think just about everyone on the planet would have access to the Bible and the gospel message of Christ. Yes, there are hundreds of millions who either choose to be cut off from the fast-moving technology or else are in poorer developing countries that don’t have the information infrastructure, and those people still need to be reached by the tried-and-true means of evangelists and missionaries. But with billions of people having access to the Internet and its constant flow of information, it should be easier to evangelize the planet, shouldn’t it? After all, in developed countries we now have a whole generation of young adults who have grown up with the Internet and computers in nearly every home, and we aren’t far from a generation that has never been without the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones. Surely all this technology is a good thing for the gospel, isn’t it?
During the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites received the first written version of the Word of God. Written by God’s own hand on tablets of stone, the Ten Commandments were the foundation of Hebrew culture. Further, Moses “wrote all the words of the LORD” (Exodus 24:4), so that later generations would have that book to refer to in remembering the law and the judgments of God. But even with the written Word of God among them, with Moses himself guiding them, a whole generation of Israelites doubted the Lord God. When they arrived at the Promised Land and were frightened to take possession of their inheritance, the Lord cursed them to wandering until that generation was gone and a new one could rise up. (Numbers 14:26-31) But as we can see from today’s verse, even that generation was quick to forget the works of the Lord.
You see, it isn’t just the presence of the Word of God that brings people to faith, it is the constant teaching of the Word. Moses and the apostle Paul both knew this.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
It is not enough to simply put the Word of God in front of people, the Word must also be taught diligently to each generation. For too long, this country has relied on a vague notion that the Bible can be taught through some sort of cultural osmosis, that we don’t have to talk about the Bible nor read it in our homes if we just take our children to church with us. I can tell you that doesn’t work. In my teens I rebelled against going to church, and I didn’t go back for thirty years – nearly a whole generation. Like the Israelites, I wandered most of my life in a wasteland of conflicting ideas and moral uncertainty, guided only by some small remnant of decency instilled by my parents and grand-parents. Only after wandering was I able to come back to Christ, to cross my own spiritual Jordan and see the glories of the gospel.
Will we allow another generation to rise up without the Word of God? Will we keep silent about the wonders He has performed, the glory He displays? Will we avoid speaking of Christ through some sense of political correctness or a desire not to offend? I’ll tell you this: Joshua and Caleb offended their own people and were nearly stoned to death for speaking out against those who feared to enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 14:10) But they DID stand up for their faith in the Lord, and they were the ONLY ones of their generation to enter the Promised Land. Unfortunately, just one generation later, the wonders of God’s protection and providence had been forgotten, and the people fell into evil and pagan worship. (Judges 2:11)
We have today an unparalleled opportunity to stand up for Lord our God and speak His Word. We have technology that speaks across nations and borders, that transports our words around the world in an instant. Yes, there is also a constant flow of falsehood and wickedness in that electrical ether, but we should know that when we speak the Word in truth and love, then the gospel will not return void. Also, we must remember that we must speak not just on the Internet but face-to-face. The printing presses of Europe didn’t make the Reformation spread like wildfire, it was the priests and preachers who traveled across the land sharing the message of the gospel. The same is true today.
If we are to avoid losing a generation to sin and death, then we who know the gospel must share it by every means available, so that all people WILL know what the Lord Jesus did for all mankind on the Cross of Calvary.
Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your Holy Word, Your own Bible shared across this world in hundreds of languages. Guide me, Lord God, to do whatever I can to speak the gospel to every creature, to make disciples of every nation, to feed Your sheep. Give me Your words and Your Bible, O Lord, and give me the faith to use them in Your service so that this next generation shall not be lost to Satan and to death. Amen.