“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8).
A new king and a new generation of Egyptians arose, who did not know Joseph. They forgot that the God of Israel had saved them through Joseph. They chose to enslave the Israelites living among them.
But that Egyptian generation was not the only one to forget. A new Israelite generation, years after the Exodus from Egypt, also forgot!
“… another generation arose … who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord … and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods …” (Judges 2:10-15).
Why is it that the “next generation” so often forgets or rejects the ways of their fathers and walks in the opposite direction? How can they leave the way of God?! Who will show them the way back?
After Joshua’s death, the twelve tribes were without a leader (Judges 2:10-15). Perhaps Joshua was preoccupied with fighting wars and conquering the land. Maybe he was too busy ruling the fledgling nation. It is possible that he kept putting it off for a later date, or till just the right person came along. In any case, I have not found a passage in the Bible that describes Joshua preparing someone to lead after his death.
We all admire the “Joshua generation,” but what about the generation that follows?
Sometimes, like Joshua, we can find ourselves preoccupied with our own real or exaggerated struggles, and end up losing the next generation.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18). We need to equip our younger generation with the ability to see what Abba has called them to do. We need to encourage them to invite God’s Spirit to dwell inside them as they put their trust in the finished work of Yeshua.
That is why Yeshua said in John 17:23, regarding the next generation(s) of His disciples: “… I in them, and You in Me … that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
- We need to persevere in dreaming big for the next generation.
- We need to let them grow in their gifts.
- We need to equip and invest in their lives.
- We must be willing to release them to where God is calling them, even if it is not in direct proximity to us.
That is what I mean by discipling. When we do all this, then we will enjoy seeing the body of Yeshua grow and bear fruit!
This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, March 2020, and reposted with permission.