Have you ever wondered who would take the place of the great godly leaders in our day and teach us to follow the Lord? Early on in my relationship with Jesus Christ, I wondered who would replace the current generation of godly leaders when they died. I found myself pondering this question and somewhat dreaded the realization that these men and women would one day die and no longer be with us…then what? Would we be able to know God and understand His ways? Would we run away from God or press into Him all the more?
The Bible says, “The people of Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him—those who had personally experienced all that the LORD had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31 NLT). It is interesting that the Israelites served the Lord as long as those who had witnessed God’s amazing delivering power were still alive! The Bible records a dialogue between Joshua and the Israelites who came up out of Egypt into the Promise Land. They personally saw God destroy the nations that tried to come up against them. The Bible records, “So fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. 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.” The people replied, ‘We would never abandon the LORD and serve other gods. For the LORD our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. It was the LORD who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the LORD, for he alone is our God’” (Joshua 24:14-18 NLT). The people refused to follow other gods because they personally witnessed what God did to all their enemies! God defeated the Egyptians with miraculous signs and wonders, He parted the Red Sea and provided manna for the Israelites to eat in the desert and He also conquered the Amorites and all the inhabitants living in the Promise Land. The people of God that saw His powerful hand at work declared that they could not possibly serve foreign gods because they KNEW the Living God!
However, the next generation quickly forgot God because they did not know Him or His mighty acts! “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD’s anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths” (Judges 2:10-13 NIV). This group had no clue who God was and when trouble came or something else “tickled their ears”, they quickly abandoned ship and serve false gods. The Bible says, “Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand)” (Jeremiah 33:3 AMP). God wants His people to seek Him with all their heart and when they do, He will reveal Himself to them. He will strongly support the man or woman that honors and reveres Him.
When we experience God for ourselves and see Him work powerfully on our behalf, we are building a foundation that can stand up against the storms of life successfully! But if we don’t spend time with God or are indifferent to Him, we are setting ourselves up for real catastrophe. The Bible notes, “I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins” (Luke 6:47-49 NLT).
Because Joshua saw God work miracles in his life and understood what it meant to obey Him, he remained faithful to God. As a result of his commitment, God blessed him and gave him peace…it wasn’t a life without trials, but God was with Him to overcome any adversity he faced! Joshua shouted with confidence, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” But the next generation Israelites quickly turned away from God and served false gods. They lived in disobedience to God’s commands and eventually God let other nations overtake them….their lives were placed back in bondage!
Do you know God personally? Or do you only know God through someone else? God wants to reveal Himself to you so you can say with confidence, “The Lord alone is God and I will serve Him with all my heart!” When the storms come, you will be able to stand up against them because you have learned to rest under the shadow of the Almighty’s wing!
God wants us to be a city on a hill…a lighthouse brightly shining during a hurricane showing people the way toward safety. People who know God intimately will be the next generation godly leaders because they know God as their Healer, Provider, Deliverer, Counselor, Comforter, Strength, Redeemer, Restorer and Friend. They will be able to lead others into a personal relationship with the Living God because they have revelation of His nature and ways!
Will you let God reveal Himself to you? Will you be a next generation leader in the making? Or when the godly leaders of our generation die out, will you stop serving the Lord?
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!