What Legacy Will You Leave?

October 21, 2011

But Manasseh did not take possession….  Israel did not drive them out completely…
Zebulun, Asher and Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants…
“Therefore, I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.”  Judges 1:27-2:3

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This could be the last generation... are they worth a Godly legacy?

They had had a pretty good run.  After crossing the Jordan and living the good life as conquerors the generation of Joshua began to hand the reigns over to the next generation.  In other words, they began to die.

The result is the end of the book of Joshua and the beginning of the book of Judges which follows the conquering of Canaan with government and order.  The problem was that instead of driving out the enemy they made friends with them.
Yahweh’s  instructions had been abundantly clear.

  • Make no covenant with them…
  • Show no favor to them…
  • Do not intermarry with them…
  • Tear down their altars…
  • Smash their sacred pillars…
  • Burn their graven images with fire…

Why?  Because God knew that the sin of the land would swallow them if they did not.  They were not chosen for their sober-minded discipline or because they were better than everyone else after all. God had simply chosen to love them, redeem them and call them His own out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth (See Deuteronomy 7:1-11).  Why God chooses any of us remains the defining mystery of His love, but He does.  And it is unconditional, unwavering and unrelenting.

They wasted their moment. They squandered their season and chose to make water-downed deals instead of obeying God.  The results were frightening but before I go there, allow me to simplify and apply.

Every generation has a privilege and a responsibility to the next generation.  If we obey God and do not waste the moment we have to complete our mission, the seed of obedience grows into the fruit of a godly endowment, one of the greatest legacies a person can receive. If we disobey God and waste the time given then the seeds of those choices will hinder the work of God in the next generation.  Instead of moving ahead in the Kingdom mission, the next generation will first have to overcome the fleshly thorns and thistles of the past.

I know a church that thirty years ago was a great blessing to the Body of Christ. In fact, God used that church in my generation as a launching pad for revival and training that scattered ministry all over the world.  Thousands of young people were discipled and trained, myself included, and the gospel was spread in that season of blessing all over the world.

Yet there was a sin in the leadership of the church.  Without giving details, it was a common failure that was never dealt with which soon spread through the church.  And now?  The magnificent campus that welcomed thousands of young people is now home to a homosexual church.  The ministry that was so powerfully used by God in such an explosion of grace has little left but regrets of what could have been.

  • They made covenants instead of war…
  • They looked away from sin instead of dealing with it…
  • They were fascinated by the attraction of worldly trinkets…
  • They allowed altars to remain instead of destroying them…
  • They ignored the idols in their midst…
  • They did not allow the fire of holiness near to their hearts.

What today could be a watershed of revival history instead is a shell of former glory.

It is the same wastefulness that happened to Joshua’s generation, so much so that the bible records the sobering legacy of half-hearted commitment in Judges 2:10…

‘There arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.”

Half-hearted commitments result in half-baked lives, useless to feed the gospel to a new generation hungry for the true God.

Every generation has a time-line it is living out until the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed.  What legacy will this generation leave for the next?  What report will be given before the throne of God on that Day?

  • We have squandered the wealth that God has given.
  • We have made a mockery of marriage and the unborn.
  • We have neglected our children to worship at the altar of Mammon.
  • We have substituted holiness for the gospel of me-ism.

And yet it is not too late to change.  It is never to late to change.  Our children and grandchildren are being handed a legacy and it is our right and responsibility to fashion and form it to our choosing.   But, mind you, it will take battle and not appeasement, victories and not truces, single focused choices and not convenient concessions to turn the tide.

The tragedy of the next generation beyond Joshua was that they knew the religion but did not desire a heart relationship with God.  It is frighteningly similar to a generation that claims today that they do not believe in God yet are “very spiritual” in their lives.  Translation?  They live to serve themselves.  Like the generation that arose that “knew not the Lord”, today a generation has arisen that only desires to know the god of self.

Appeasement never conquers evil so don’t look the other way.   It’s not to late to hand the next generation a model of holiness and today’s church is the only one that can do it.  After all, this next generation could certainly be the last. That alone is reason enough to give them our best.
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I am writing this while in India teaching church planters and evangelists who will lead the greatest revival in the history of this country.  Pray for them, won’t you?



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