There is pretty good evidence in scripture of a pattern that shows that by the third generation a spiritual forgetfulness has emerged. First a person, or a group of people, are called out from unbelief to belief, many times due to suffering. This first generation is thrilled and genuinely grateful to know God. The second generation, is caught up in the zeal of their parents, but suffer less conviction, because they experience God in a different way, by second-hand news. The third generation is disconnected from the original story, treating their grandparent’s beliefs as inconsequential and myth-like. They lack their own identity and most turn from God to worship the gods of sensuality. Now re-read this paragraph in context of 2016.
I heard a Bible scholar refer to this phenomenon as the law of the third generation.
The cycle moves as such: DESERTION OF GOD – SUFFERING – FAITH – PEACE – DISCONTENTMENT – DESERTION OF GOD and so on.
Tragically, based on Biblical evidence, humanity seems to lose our next generations during the peaceful times. Do we talk less about God during these times? Do we cry out to Him less when life is smooth sailing? Do we fail to remember the family stories of deliverance, and that peace comes out of struggle? Do we remain silent before our children to spare them, when in reality we damage them?
I personally have a gory history that I would love to spare my granddaughter, but which I won’t. When she is old enough, she will hear from an eyewitness (me) about the graciousness of God and the faithfulness of my mother. I will explain how hard it was to forgive by showing her my heart and the aftermath of confronting evil. She will hear the countless struggles I have had with my faith, and she will be shown how God has been compassionate to me and all those I love.
I plan to accomplish these goals by leaving behind my journals to the generations to come, and by adding to my gratitude corner so each answered prayer of anguish and trust will become part of our family history. And, most importantly, as long as I have breath, I plan to speak the name of my faithful Father, worship the Son with enthusiasm, and be a living example of keeping in step with the Spirit, even when it’s hard. The important idea is to not let the generations to come fall into the desertion cycle. I reject this thought.
A perfect example in scripture comes from Deuteronomy 11. Moses points out to the people, the first generation, that their children did not see the wonders and miracles. The second generation did not see how the Lord cared for His people in the wilderness, but that THEY have seen these things with their own eyes. vs. 1-7 Moses warns the first generation to be careful because consequences will follow those who forget Him. vs. 16-17 Moses explains the ONLY way to keep our children faithful…
“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 11:18-20 NLT
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