“Tell your children about it,
Let your children tell their children,
And their children another generation.”
The days in which Joel lived were quite difficult. Israel was experiencing economically difficult times, brought about by locust swarms that had devastated the crops. Individual families were suffering greatly, finding it difficult to make ends meet, or even provide enough food for the table. For the most part, people would associate their problems with natural occurrences; today we might blame it on mother nature. Joel, on the other hand, declared the condition of the nation was actually brought about because of the spiritual condition of the people. He declared, things would only change when repentance occurred.
While it was important to declare this message in the chambers of the king and in the public gatherings of the people, Joel had another setting in mind where the message must be clearly taught. He wrote to parents, to make sure they instructed their children to look at life through the filter of the revelation of God. Rather than seeing life through the eyes of pop culture, we must instruct our children to see the world the way God views it.
The responsibility for passing truth to the next generation is left primarily in the hands of the parents. The church, its children’s ministry or youth group, play a role, but parents bear the primary responsibility before God, of instructing their children in the ways of the Lord. The most effective way to do this is for parents to lead by example. Our kids should learn a proper world view because we have instructed them in the ways of the Lord, and set an example with our lifestyle.
Take some time today to talk with your children about the way to effectively follow Christ. If there is any area of compromise in your life, set it aside for the sake of your children.
“Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?”
Once again, Job’s agony is answered by one of his self-appointed counselors. This time, Zophar, the Naamathite, raises his voice and refutes Job’s cries, telling him that all of human history testifies against his logic. I find it interesting that Zophar sites history in support of his argument.
We can learn a lot from those who have gone before. It was philosopher George Santayana who wrote, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The idea being, if we attempt to do the same things generations before us have done, we should expect the same results. One common definition of insanity is when a person does the same action over and over, and expects a different result. Much could be avoided if we honestly looked back at those who have gone before us. If young people would look at the affect drugs, alcohol, and even smoking, have had on the generation that’s gone before them, they would avoid the temptation to party. If married couples looked at the impact adultery has had on countless marriages and families, they would avoid those flirtatious moments that lead to sin. If we, as a culture, were to carefully examine Israel’s heritage, we would find that sin weakens a nation, and we would vote for leaders who were willing to take a stand for righteousness.
We cannot make decisions for others, but we can make personal decisions that will impact on others. Don’t wait for the world to change. Instead, determine that you will live for Christ in such a way as to impact others for His Kingdom.
“So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you do is not good.'”
As the leader of the congregation of Israel, Moses was sought out for advice for the issues of everyday life. Whenever people had a dispute with a neighbor, or a family crisis, they would set up an appointment with Moses, who would give them godly counsel. While it was good for Moses to be available to the people, and understandable that they wanted to meet with their pastor, this schedule was not good for either Moses or the people. Jethro, as an outsider, was able to see the flaw with this approach right away, and counseled Moses. The solution to the problem would be in raising up good, gifted, and godly men, who could assist him in the ministry. This approach will prove to be God’s method down through the ages.
Whether it is the nation of Israel or the local church, God is in the business of reproducing leaders. The way this happens is that godly people are given ministry opportunities. It would take great faith on the part of Moses to let go of some of his ministry and put it into the hands of others. It would take great faith from the people, to trust that God would speak as clearly through another, as He had through Moses. And it would take great faith from this new group of “Pastors,” that God would speak to them, and through them, when they met with the people. When Jethro’s advice was followed and this system implemented, we find that an entire new generation of leaders will be raised up to serve the Lord.
God has established a method of ministry that is sustainable. It is not built on the strength, gifts or leadership ability of one man, but on the fact that God will use anyone who is devoted to Him. Perhaps the proper response to this passage of Scripture is to seek to become a person who God will choose to use. The more we set ourselves apart to the Lord, focus on growing in Christ, and learn the Word of God, the more ready we will be when the time comes to raise up another generation to do the work of God.