The Power of a Proper Baton Pass
After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation
grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.
Go Deep: Is there anything sadder, or scarier, than the failure of a parent or a pastor or a leader to properly pass the baton of vision, purpose and calling to the next generation. The book of Judges is the classic case study of how a once great and godly nation quickly lost its way after the death of Joshua, and never really found it, not consistently at least, for the 400 years between the departure of Joshua and the arrival of Israel’s greatest prophet, Samuel.
Who was to blame for Israel’s demise? Judges doesn’t really assign blame to any particular person. And to be certain, each generation has to make its own decision to wholeheartedly follow the Lord. Scripture makes this abundantly clear in Joshua 24:15 (NLT),
“But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
“But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord!” Joshua didn’t have the ultimate power to determine how his descendents would live, but he was going do everything in his power to make sure they had a compelling vision of what God had already planted in their hearts—a lifetime of love for and service to God.
That is job number one for a Christian parent, isn’t it! It is not to ensure their child will have nice things, make all the latest techno-gadgets available to them, get them into all the cool activities available to kids these days, make sure they’re in the best school, buy them a hot little car when they come of age, or even leave them a nice nest egg for an inheritance. Those are all secondary, at best. The best gift dad and mom can give their child is an active and intelligent faith in God. When a generation of parents neglects to pass the baton of faith to their children, you get what happened in Israel. It’s describe in the very last verse of Judges, which I’ll paraphrase:
“Israel had no moral compass, so everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
I don’t want that to be true of my family, or my church, or even of my nation. You don’t either. So let’s recommit to Joshua’s bold pledge today: “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” And if nothing else, let’s make sure there is a smooth and solid baton pass of active, intelligent faith to the next generation.
In my case, I’d just as soon skip Judges and pass the baton directly from Joshua to Samuel!
Just Saying… Dr. Larry Crabb writes, “A vision we give to others of who and what they could become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into their souls.” Parents, make sure you give your child a compelling vision of what God has already embedded in their DNA!