Winning the Second Generation
Cycles of Sin . . . Stories of Grace – Part I Introduction
live – the book of Judges. I want to begin by taking you to the last chapter and the last verse of this book. The Old Testament book of Judges is a story of a This is where God gives the diagnosis of the problem. nation gone mad with sin and rebellion. It will sound Usually God gives the diagnosis and then, deals at times, like a history book on Western Civilization. with the symptoms. In this book, He gives the It will sound much like our nation today. symptoms and ultimately, concludes with His spiritual enormous moral and spiritual crisis in our country. In Judges 21:25, the last phrase, we are given We are being deluged by a flood of immorality and amorality, in which everyone seems to be saying, “What’s right for you must be right.” . . . everyone did what was right in his own

This is not a new philosophy for living, by they way. It goes all the way back to the children of Israel. There is one other key verse that I want to note The book of Judges begins after the death of Joshua, with you. It not only serves as an explanation for this in a time of great immorality in the land. entire book, but it will be the focus of our discussion today. Turn to Judges 2:10. I am reminded of a cartoon that showed a sophisticated college student speaking to a missionary. All that generation also were gathered to
The missionary was unmistakable identified by his their fathers; and there arose another
pith helmet, shorts, hiking boots, and walking stick. generation after them who did not know the
The student said to him, “I don’t see how you do it! Lord, nor yet the work which He had done
What do you do when you can’t take the superstition for Israel.
and the violence and the immorality any longer?” This could be paraphrased, “They knew about the “Simple,” came the reply, “I just get on a plane Now there are a lot of things that we could Now we cannot get on a plane and leave today. discuss in the first two chapters of Judges. However, God has called us to this generation, in this country. as I read and re-read, trying to discern what the Spirit The question is, “How do we live?! How do we live in of God would have us to study, the point that troubled this kind of society that has gone mad, without me more than anything else, was this phrase. How becoming like it? How do we impact it?” can one generation be so faithful to God and the next generation not know Him?! I invite your attention to a book in the Old Testament that gives us some answers as to how to I am going to visually represent this with a couple 1. The second generation can be influenced by of chairs. The first chair will represent the first the partial obedience of the first generation. generation. This is the generation that came with Let us clear the air at the start that the generation Joshua and conquered the land. This chair will that followed Joshua to the promised land was not represent the generation that had passion and fire. perfect. First generations will make mistakes. If you They would take on the Perizzites and the Jebusites; are trying to start a godly heritage in your home; if they would ask for Hebron. The second chair will you want to be a first generation believer, you need to represent the next generation, mentioned in Judges realize that you will make mistakes. The problem is 2:10, that did not acknowledge the God of the first that second generations seem to be so sensitive to that generation and, as the verse says, really did not know Let me point to some rather disturbing notes that The question that I ask today is, “Why does the are found early in Judges. Look at Judges 1:4-6. second generation so often fail to follow in the Judah went up, and the Lord gave the
footsteps of faith of the first generation?” Canaanites and the Perizzites into their
This problem exists in our society. Why is it that hands, and they defeated ten thousand men
the Spurgeon’s, the Tozer’s, the Moody’s, and the at Bezek. They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek
Sunday’s children walked away from their father’s and fought against him, and they defeated
great faith? What happened to schools like Princeton, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. But
Harvard, and Yale that began as Bible colleges, in Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and
which the major study was the Scriptures and every caught him and cut off his thumbs and big
student was required to take Greek and account for an toes.
This was the ancient method of ending a military The problem also exists with the church. Why is career. There was no way this king could stand it that the average church does not remain effective for steadily to fight or handle a bow or sword. They more than two or three generations? I recently read a would dismember a conquered king as a sign that survey that concluded the average church reaches its peak of effectiveness, outreach, and enthusiasm at The problem, however, was that mutilation was a twelve years of age. At this point, if this church is an pagan practice. God had commanded to put these average church, we are halfway to the grave. men to death, not to torture or mutilate them. The How can we remain in the spirit and passion of Israelites were partially obeying, and already flirting first generation faith?! How do we stay in the first with and drawing from the standards of the pagan Judges chapters 1 and 2 will give some answers. The next verse that hints of spiritual trouble is It will not give all of them and it will even raise some fresh questions, but God gives enough of the story to Now the Lord was with Judah, and they took
possession of the hill country; but they could
Problems Related To Being
not drive out the inhabitants of the valley
because they had iron chariots.

“Second Generations”
Now this seems logical – Judah is outgunned; It seems that there are fundamental problems Judah did not have the weaponry that the Canaanites related to being in the second generation. We will had. However, they compared themselves to the start by looking at the negative points from the first Canaanites and they had the short stick; they did not two chapters of Judges; the negative reasons that the compare the Canaanites to God. It is interesting that generation in the second chair did not follow the God in Judges 4, a lady judge, by the name of Deborah, of the generation of the first chair. Let me suggest will lead the Israelites against an army with nine several problems with being part of a second hundred iron chariots, and they will defeat them. The generation that we can learn from today. problem is not a lack of power on Judah’s part; the problem is a lack of faith in a powerful God. There are actually seven references to partial Little Susie is watching and thinking, “Liar! obedience, which is, in effect, disobedience. These One of the greatest stumbling blocks that young Christians have is not the opposition of the world, but But Manasseh did not take possession of
the disobedience of so-called established Christians. Beth-shean and its villages . . . so the
2. A second fundamental problem is that the Canaanites persisted in living in that
second generation can often become isolated land.
It came about when Israel became
Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of
strong, that they put the Canaanites to
the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and
forced labor, but they did not drive them
ten. And they buried him in the territory of
out completely.
his inheritance . . . All that generation also
were gathered to their fathers; and there

arose another generation after them who did
not know the Lord, nor yet the work which
Canaanites who were living in Gezer, so
He had done for Israel.
the Canaanites lived in Gezer among
This is the “Old Time Religion”. The next them.
generation is looking at Mom and Dad as if to say, Zebulun
The problem is that this has not been incorporated inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants
in their own life. There is no sense of involvement; no of Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived
appreciation of the past. They have been told to go to among them and became subject to
church; they have been given their belief system, but forced labor.
they have not had the matter of conviction shared with them. They have not heard, “Look what God did Asher did not drive out the inhabitants .
. . So the Asherites lived among the
Do you remember, in Joshua 22, the two and a Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land;
half tribes were so concerned that their children would for they did not drive them out.
understand the work of God that they built a These references continue, but we will stop there. memorial. It was going to be a teaching tool that they could use to share with their children everything that God had done in their lives. In that way, it would not The picture Judges chapter 1 gives us is that there just be something God had done in their generation, is control, but not total conquest. There is victory and but would impact the second generation as well. there is a visible sign of obedience to God, but there is still a nagging disobedience. The next generation of How well will we communicate our vision of faith and mission; our rich heritage of observing God’s grace and power? Our future depends upon it. A contemporary illustration would be a couple driving to church and arguing all the way. The 3. A third fundamental problem is that the husband complains about having to spend “good time” second generation can become ignorant of the in church. Little Susie, sitting in the backseat, is picking up on this. They arrive at church, get out of the car, and say, “Praise God, isn’t it a beautiful day! Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight
of the Lord and served the Baals, and they
After church, the husband shakes the pastor’s forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers . .
hand and says, “Oh, that was a wonderful sermon, . So they forsook the Lord and served Baal
Pastor Sominex! Have you met my dear wife?” and the Ashtaroth.
They would, in fact, become enslaved six different It was bad enough that they turned away from the times in a total of one hundred fourteen years. Sin living God, but even worse, they chose to put in His place, foreign deities. This reveals that they knew The amazing thing that I found as I read these two chapters several times, is that Judges 2:16 reveals the Let me insert, in order to give a better incredible grace of God. Look at that verse. understanding of this, some information about Baal. Then the Lord raised up judges who
Baal was a god in charge of storms and fertility. He delivered them from the hands of those who
was responsible for the fertility of the crops, the plundered them.
livestock, and the family. Baal naturally had his Thus the book of Judges is the story of the cycle female consort; that is, Ashtoreth or Ashtart (she was of Israel falling into sin and slavery and despair and quite a tart). In the Canaanite theology, fertility repentance, sin and slavery and despair and depended upon the sexual relationship between Baal repentance, over and over again. Then God, in His and Ashtoreth; the revival of nature was supposedly mercy and grace, would use men and women, called due to intimacy between Baal and his mistress. judges, to deliver His people and bring them back to However, the Canaanite faithful did not just sit back and hope their two gods got along. A Canaanite Practical Suggestions
man, for instance, would go to a Baal shrine and have relations with one of the sacred prostitutes serving For Winning
there. The man would fulfill Baal’s role and the “Second Generations”
woman would fulfill Ashtoreth’s. The idea was that the copulating of the worshiper and the spiritual Now we have uncovered the negatives that lose prostitute would encourage Mr. and Mrs. Baal to do second generations. What are the positives, from their thing and thus, the rain, grain, wine, and oil Judges 1 and 2, to keep them? What can we learn to help the second generation follow the first generation – to experience the faith of their fathers as their own So guess what this second generation of Israelites personal faith? How can we keep the second get involved in? This was much more than buying a generation from falling into the second generation little Buddha, saying a few prayers, and throwing syndrome? Let me suggest two key ways to keep the some rice at him. They got involved in the most second generation in the arena of first generation faith. degraded form of worship. They were engaging in temple prostitution, fertility rites, drunken orgies, 1. The first generation needs to develop idolatry, snake worship, homosexuality, and even The second generation had gone that far because, • The first way to develop cooperation with the I think, they had been isolated from the God of their Look at Caleb’s daughter. You may remember What do you think God’s response is going to be that Caleb took on the giants of Anak. Note Judges when He sees the second generation doing this? Will He say, “Well, you win some, you lose some. That’s And Caleb said, “The one who attacks
Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will even
give him my daughter Achsah for a wife.”
The anger of the Lord burned against Israel
This is my kind of dad. His daughter is about to . . .
get married and he wants to make sure that the guy This is not the petty anger of hurt feelings, but the who gets her is worthy. He is probably wondering if holy anger of a righteous God against sin, betrayal, there is anyone worthy of his daughter. I know the and idolatry. He recognizes that His people are feeling – even though my daughter is only four. Caleb prostituting themselves with foreign gods. wants to make sure this guy is a first generation man. So, he says, “Here’s the test – if you trust God and allow God to do the fighting for you; if you have that My wife was shopping with our four year old kind of relationship with God and you conquer this daughter Candace, and could not find a parking space. city, you’re good enough for my little Achsah.” She drove around and finally, a car pulled out. Little Now the lines had not been drawn at this point in Candace said, “Thanks, Lord, we needed that space.” time evidently, as to who could marry who. The one I was cleaning in the garage last week, while who steps up to this challenge, interestingly, is Candace was outside playing. She did not see me in Caleb’s younger brother. Look at Judges 1:13-15. the garage. All of the sudden, she knelt down in the Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger
driveway and said, rather loudly, “Oh, dear Jesus, . . brother, captured it; so he gave him his
daughter Achsah for a wife. Then it came
My first impulse was to look to see if any about when she came to him, that she
neighbors were watching – they are already uncertain persuaded him to ask her father for a field.
about who Baptists are! I tried to hear her prayer, but Then she alighted from her donkey, and
I could not. Children are so transparent in their Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” She
said to him, “Give me a blessing, since you
Involve the second generation through prayer. Do have given me the land of the Negev, give me
you have a problem? Have you ever taken someone also springs of water.” . . .
from the second generation aside – that college She sounds just like her dad! Years ago, Caleb student; a younger believer you are discipling; a had said to Joshua, “Give me Hebron.” teenager – and said, “I need you to pray for me.”? Now Achsah is asking for more territory with spring water. She is not asking for land that she will I had an example of this in my home recently. I just inherit; she is asking for more land which must be was quite upset a few weeks ago about a city counsel decision. I came home from the counsel meeting at She had, years before, apparently seen her midnight and woke my wife. I explained the whole father’s faith in action. Caleb had communicated his story to her as I paced around the bedroom. She faith to her in some way, and she is now physically sympathized and listened. Then, she reminded me of involved in the action of faith. This makes Achsah a the sovereignty of God, which I did not want to hear at that moment! I wanted some matching hysteria; anger. Have you ever wondered why missionary kids grow up and go back to the field where their parents My wife also did something else the next morning. served? It is because they had a high level of She took the children to school and told them to pray involvement in their parents ministry – and it became for their daddy. Now wait a second! I do not mind praying with them, but it is rather odd to have them praying for me – especially praying for me because I Do you teach a Sunday School class; put out am having a hard time and I am a little upset! I came hymnals; teach a children’s club; set up chairs? home that afternoon, not knowing this is going on, and Involve your children, if you can; involve a second the kids gave me big hugs, which is fortunately, generation believer – a young believer that you may be standard. But I noticed that they were looking at me discipling. In whatever way you serve Jesus Christ, differently; staring at me, and wondered what was think of physically involving the second generation going on. My wife told me later that she had told • The second way to develop cooperation with My children were seeing me in an entirely different light; that is, “Daddy needs help!” Perhaps If you have a problem, involve the whole family in my kids were picking up on the fact that Daddy is praying about it! Especially involve the younger children. They will amaze you with their passion for We have the misconception that the first transparent prayer; they will frighten you with their generation is to be a perfect model. As a result, we do We should not only involve them prayerfully to My most consistent night out is Wednesday night ask, but to thank. We do not thank God because it for Evangelism Explosion. I began telling our makes Him feel good; we thank God because it is children, not that I was going to another meeting, but, good for us. It teaches our children; the second “I’m going to tell people about Jesus Christ tonight.” generation; our disciples that the source of power and “Yea, that’s really important isn’t it? There are Praise, worship, thanksgiving, prayer are the people who don’t know the Lord, so I want to share greatest protection against the second generation It made all the difference in the world. And there 2. The second major suggestion that will keep is a possible connection with the activities of one of the second generation in the first chair of faith our sons. A couple of weeks ago, this son came home and told us that he had told his kindergarten friend communication with the second generation. about Jesus. He said his friend prayed and asked In a recent conversation with our youth pastor, he Jesus into his heart. My wife and I thought that was mentioned that teenagers so often say, “I just wish my great. I had to ask, however, “What did you tell I read a survey recently that the average father “Well, I told him if he wanted to go to heaven, he spends less than five minutes per week talking to his had to ask Jesus into his heart. If he didn’t, he was children. Communication in the households of Two nights ago, the same son put under my pillow I am not suggesting talk for talk’s sake. We want as a present to me, “The Wordless Book”. That is the the second generation to pick up on our passion; our evangelistic tool for Child Evangelism Fellowship. mission; our vision. We want them to understand that The next morning, I asked him what it was for. He God is real; He is personal. We want them to realize said, “It’s for you to use at Evangelism Explosion.” that God can be approached; He cares. Let me give He is catching the vision. He is part of it! two very important things to talk about. So often, the second generation does not hear • First, we should communicate spiritual events what is happening in our lives because we simply do not share it. Then, over a period of time, they become Remember again the passion of the two and a half more and more isolated from what is happening in our tribes, in Joshua 22, as they built an altar to serve as a lives. We need to communicate spiritual events. tool for teaching their children. They wanted to tell I want to suggest that this is wonderful way of them the stories and kindle in their young hearts, a fire sharing not only our beliefs, but our convictions with for God. It was a symbol that God is alive; that God our children. For example, you have been invited to a company party that your clients are putting on. You What do we share with our second generation? If go out of politeness, but politely refuse the offers to you share Jesus Christ with a neighbor or a co- drink what the boys are drinking, to laugh at the worker, tell the second generation about it. Tell them stories the boys are telling, and to dance with the what you said. Tell them how the person responded. pretty office secretaries. Do you remember how you Tell them what you wish you had said. Let them felt? You felt like a “stick in the mud”; a “holy Joe”; know what God is doing in your life and through your a “fuddy duddy”. Have you ever considered how life. Share spiritual events. You may be surprised powerful that story would be to communicate to your how little they understand about what you do. son or daughter? They are facing incredible peer Nearly a year ago, I realized I was making a pressure at school, at college, in a career. They think mistake with our children along these lines. I you do not understand and that your world is in some recognized the problem when our kids were hanging way, protected from that kind of thing. How powerful onto my legs saying, “Don’t go to another meeting.” I it would be to share how you feel and what God is realized I was not communicating the mission to the doing to help you to remain distinctive in the arena in Tell the second generation what God is doing in you and these things I see in your life, God can use in “Oh, yea. The way God has put you together – I’ve noticed this and this and this – God can do It is a tragic misconception of parents and older Christians that somehow, the second generation is going to pick up by osmosis that we think God has a special plan for their lives. They cannot read our We cannot predict how God will use them, but we can verbalize things related to their makeup that God Smalley and Trent wrote a rather interesting book can use for His glory. Constantly encourage the entitled, The Blessing. It talks about the need for second generation in the Lord. Do not ever fall into parents and children to bless family members with the trap that they can read your mind. Communicate meaningful words and touch. Tell them that God has Let me close with a question. Which chair are Now, by the way, godly parents have ungodly you sitting in? Are you first generation or are you children who will refuse to follow. We cannot second generation? I trust that we are all in the first guarantee that they will obey; that they will adopt the chair, even though we may be the second, or third, or values and the faith. Whether they do or not, fourth, or fifth generation. I trust that we are sharing however, the responsibility is still ours to share it. in the passion and the vision and that this will One of the ways we can share is to pull little challenge us because a generation will follow who Johnny aside, or that new believer, or that one you are need to know that God is alive; that God is powerful; discipling and say, “I want you to know I appreciate This manuscript is from a sermon preached on 2/2/1992 by Stephen Davey.

Source: http://www.wisdomonline.org/files/313/Cycles%20of%20Sin%20Stories%20of%20Grace%20Part%20I.pdf


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