Northwest Baptist Assistance Ministries
WHAT WILL WE LEAVE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS?
It has been some time since I concluded my annual reading of the Book of Joshua. However, one cannot help but be perplexed that while the sacred text asserts that Israel followed the Lord during Joshua’s and the contemporary elders’ time, as soon as they had died, there arose a generation “which knew not the Lord.” How could this be? They had a history, a heritage, yet they knew not the Lord according to the record of the Holy Spirit.
Moses, the mentor of Joshua, had great confidence as he passed on the leadership to this younger man. It is also true that Joshua was definitely chosen by the Lord. No one can be a leader for God, regardless of intelligence or talents, unless they are chosen by God to be that leader. It is evident that Joshua was always concerned in defending the honor and testimony of his God. He had al ready demonstrated qualities needed for leadership.
The obvious proofs of leadership demonstrated by Joshua are the fruits that this responsibility will produce. Personal purity and a spirit-controlled life are definitely mandatory. God’s New Testament leader will also have the joy of seeing what we call “The Great Commission” being fulfilled through his life. He should be able to look at those whom God has used him to bring to a personal faith in Christ. I know that some feel that they are not evangelism specialists, rather they are teachers, but if we are going to be obedient to the Savior, and if we are going to follow the example of the Apostle Paul, we will be burdened for and reaching the lost. A person who does not have that burden needs to have some serious soul-searching regardless of academic achievements or personal position.
Sadly today a major area of activity for some is debating those who are contenders for the faith as they evangelize and seek to preserve the purity of the faith. These debaters appear to be content with initiating into “deeper truth” those who have been won to Christ by these criticized servants. This agenda can only endure for a time. If that paradigm continues, there will soon be a genera tion that knows not the Lord.
As I studied Joshua more closely I observed that he had been a faithful servant before being made a leader. No one will ever be able to effectively lead until he has learned the blessing of being a faithful, obedient servant. He may not have always understood some of the orders, but he trusted his leader as long as those orders were not contrary to the revealed Word of God. Anyone impressed with his own ability and superiority needs to remember the humility of our Lord as well as the apostles. Without a faithful, obedient and humble attitude, an agenda to achieve personal goals will eventually justify numerous methods that may not be biblical, or spiritual. This will inevitably lead to a generation that knows not the Lord.
Joshua was also loyal and did not hesitate to stand against the majority (the other ten spies). He did not try to be like the surrounding culture or seek the approval of his colleagues. To modernize, his focus was not on whether he as a leader should wear jeans to appeal to his culture; rather, he concentrated on honoring and serving his God.
There are an amazing number of military victories after Joshua had come into “The Land”, however, he knew what it was to fight battles while serving un der Moses in the wilderness. I fear that part of the problem in contemporary Christianity is that a generation is maturing who have never fought any real bat tles. They have inherited that which others have established. Sadly, in some cases they are returning to former practices and reuniting with the very groups from which previous generations had to separate. This merging process is being justified on at least a two-pronged defense. First, we are told that there has been a purging of the groups or organizations from which previous men have sepa rated. My response is that most of the change is cosmetic. The systemic issues remain. Second, we hear of those who are embarrassed by the conduct of the separatists. I respond that we must never condone anything that is wrong, but I would also ask that those making the critiques be just as critical of themselves and of those to whom they are attracted. It isn’t too difficult to observe that some are obviously going in another direction.
I am reminded of the appeal by the public school educators of a previous generation to change our method of learning to read. They also insisted on teach ing what they called at that time the “New Math”. Unfortunately, both of these endeavors were wrought with failure. Sadly, the students were the losers. The statistics evaluating our education in this country are an embarrassment. The ef fects would be devastating if it were not for the immigrants to our country who are better educated. I can only wonder sadly why we feel that we have to follow a similar pattern in spiritual matters? Simply enjoying the acceptance of contem porary society is no guarantee of spiritual approval by God. I fear as Bible be lievers that we will repeat the description of Israel, and the ensuing younger gen erations will eventually suffer the judgment of God. This all happened because there was a generation who knew not the Lord. They did not have the Faith taken away; rather, they willingly gave away the great and marvelous commitment to the narrow worship of Jehovah alone.
Remember the danger: when the total message is diluted in any manner you will soon have a generation that knows not the Lord.
I am praying for courage and discernment on the part of all who receive this posting. I pray for myself as well.
Your burdened fellow servant,
Dr. Thomas Nieman
Contact : 253-350-2670