1. Exposition

What was Israel’s basic failure?

Judges 2:10 (ESV)

10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.

Some commentators like to lay the blame for the next generation’s disobedience at the feet of the previous generation, of Joshua and his contemporaries. Had that generation been so consumed with the task of conquering Canaan that they had neglected the task of impressing upon their own children a sense of loyalty to the Lord, and instilling in them the memory of the great things he had done for Israel? Had the priests failed in their teaching duties (Leviticus 10:11)? If a whole generation turns away, can’t we assume that the parents failed to disciple their children?

Not in this case. The generation itself is to blame for its not knowing the Lord. Judges 2:11–12 say, The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord. Israel’s not knowing the Lord was willful, not innocent. This was a deliberate refusal to acknowledge the obligations they had in their covenant relationship with God. Oh sure, not having experienced firsthand the kinds of things their parents experienced may have been a contributing factor. And it is certainly true that mistakes made by one Christian generation are often magnified in the next. Complacency does breed compromise. But disobedience, in this case apostasy, is a choice.1