When I was in Bible College (that’s what they called it in the old days), one of my professors at the time used to say that each generation that followed the generation that got saved, lost some of the dedication their parents had to Following Christ. He went on to say that by the time the third generation came along, the idea of Following Christ was totally a foreign practice to them. He said he proved this theory by doing a study within his own denomination.
I know from what I have observed in my short lifespan that there is a lot of Truth to what that professor said. Again, there are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, I think many Churches become passive in their passion for Christ as each generation comes and goes.
Such is the case with the generation that followed some of the great Prophets/Priests of the Scriptures:
The sons of these men all found themselves abandoning the Faith and Practice of their fathers. The next generation found themselves inventing their own faith and ignoring God’s Instructions and Laws.
Let’s take a look at these sons:
The Death of Nadab and Abihu
Leviticus 10 1Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. 2So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.
So, this generation offered unauthorized fire before the Lord and it cost them their lives. It would appear that the attitude and arrogance of Aaron’s two sons were reflected in God’s response:
Leviticus 10:3 Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: "'Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.'" Aaron remained silent.
This is usually what happens in the next generation. Most of the time, what appears to be missing is that attitude of Awe and Honor. We see this in the cavalier way people dress coming to Church to Worship God and the casual attitude they display in coming before Him to Worship. Clothing does not make the man or the women, but the attitude does. Clothing reflects the attitude, and often I have thought that we are making Worship too common of an experience rather than being an experience of interacting with the Holy. Many people would disagree with this, but all I ask is that you consider the attitude that has changed from the previous generation.
Then we have Eli’s sons who were immoral and corrupt:
1 Samuel 1:12 Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:17 This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.
1 Samuel 1 22Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23So he said to them, “Why do you do such things?”
These sons had no relationship with the Living God like their father Eli. This generation did what was right in their own eyes and followed the world rather than God.
Often the generation that follows great men and women of God will determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong. They create a religious expression that has a religious connection, but not a Relationship Connection with God. This generation had a heart for self-gratification but not a heart of Sacrifice for God. This is probably the number one reason subsequent generations drift toward the carnal rather than to the Spiritual. It takes a heart Relationship with God in order to make the Sacrifice to Him meaningful and real.
Lastly, we have Samuel’s sons:
1 Samuel 8 1When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beer-Sheba. 3Yet his sons did not follow in his ways, but turned aside after gain; they took bribes and perverted justice.
The Holiness and the Spiritual Integrity factors of the next generation is often less than it was in the previous generations. Again, this is subjective from family to family, but there is a trend that second and third generations do not practice the intensity of a Spiritually Disciplined Life like their parents and grandparents. I realize that each generation will face new challenges and times do change. With cultural changes come relaxed rules and practices, yet, Moral Integrity never changes, and it is always consistent with keeping God First. Samuel’s sons saw an opportunity to profit from religion and that created the perverted justice for the sake of monetary gain.
We have many in the prosperity movement following this model of religious expression today. Hosea 13:6 tells us that the people were so satisfied that they forgot God. The Greatest Prosperity is a Relationship with God, and prosperity without God is truly the meaning of bankruptcy.
We could actually look at King David’s family too, but I think you get the point. Spiritual life cannot be passed down to the next generation because each family member must pursue God in Holiness and Truth. There are no shortcuts to living a life for God. You cannot inherit a relationship from the previous generation because each generation has to start all over in discovering who God is and submit to Him in the same manner the previous generations did. It is a great heritage to have God-fearing parents and grandparents, but each generation must discover for themselves the Truth of Knowing God.
By the way, my new tagline ‘Challenging the Culture with Truth’ not only applies to the culture at large, but it also is applicable to the Church culture … just clarifying.
Challenging the Culture with Truth…K
Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler
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