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.
This account of the history of Israel after the conquest of Canaan describes a culture that lost its spiritual roots. The story scares me because I see the same dangerous pattern happening today. The worship of God collapses when a new generation fails to appreciate where the old generation was saved by God's hand. In the case of Israel, once the land no longer needed to be fought for, the easy life lulled them from God. It got easier to adopt the idolatry of the pagans around them. They did not know the Lord nor His work for them.
I see it now. My parents came to Christ unchurched, making me a first generation Christian when I believed. The gospel was a new thing in our family. It saved us in every sense. I know the Lord and His works, even in tremendous pain and loss that visited my home. God is real and His word is true. I know what once was and I know how the gospel saved us. I am blessed.
But somewhere along the way I have watched the generation after me take this for granted. My kids did not experience the gospel change in quite the same way as I did. The "second generation" Christians don't see what the first generation ones do. It is thus easier for them to be lured away. Indeed, I have noticed evanglicals in their 30's and younger who have a disturbing casualness to orthodoxy and don't commit to a real engaging evangelism. We must encourage these young Christians to look for God at work lest they forget and the book of Judges become the epitaph of the church.