Summary: From rags to riches in three generations.
A. THREE GENERATIONS DOWN
1. From rags to riches to rags in three generations.
Grandfather: poor but worked hard for money.
Son: enjoyed riches, but didn’t earn them.
Grandson: lazy and lost all.
2. From sin to salvation to sin in three generations.
Grandfather: wicked but gloriously transformed from sin.
Son: enjoyed Christianity but lived on father’s faith.
Grandson: enticed by sin, then corrupted by sin.
Children born into families of first generation Christian pioneers begin to change their church before they reach adulthood. First generation soul winners become educators to make the next generation conform to their ideals. But the second generation holds its convictions less fervently then their pioneering parents, where convictions were formed in the white-hot flames of Christian battle. The third generation has even more difficulty separating itself from the world.
Adopted from Richard Niebuhr, Sociologist
3. From slavery to the Lord to slavery in three generations.
Grandfather Caleb: Slave but great character.
Son-in-law Othniel: Attacked but survived.
Unknown grandson: Loved sin, then a slave.
4. The compromising unknown grandsons: what they forgot, what they changed, what they lost.
“And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua (and Caleb), and all they days of the elders (and Othniel) that outlived Joshua . . . there was another generation after them that knew not the Lord . . . they did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim . . . and the anger of the Lord was against them and he delivered them into the hands of the nations round about them” (Judges 2:7-13, ELT).
B. WHAT THEY FORGOT
1. They forgot they had been slaves that God delivered.
2. They forgot God guided them through the Red Sea and the desert.
3. They forgot God gave them the Promised Land.
C. WHAT THEY CHANGED
1. They changed their God for idols.
2. They changed their opinion about themselves. They no longer saw themselves as delivered slaves, but as satisfied plantation owners.
3. They changed their relationship to sin. They no longer separated from the enemy, but took them as house-servants, then intermarried with them.
D. WHAT THEY LOST
1. They lost their pioneering spirit. “They did not drive them out (Judges 1:32).
2. They lost their conviction of belief. “They forsook the Lord and served Baal” (Judges 2:13).
3. They lost their desire for separation from sin. “They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked” (Judges 2:17).
E. FIRST GENERATION: CALEB
1. Knew God had freed him from slavery in Egypt.
2. Knew God led him from Egypt through the Red Sea.
3. Knew God gave him his possessions. “Therefore, give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spoke in that day” (Joshua 14:12). “But my servant Caleb . . . hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land to possess it” (Num. 14:24).
F. SECOND GENERATION: OTHNIEL
“And he (Caleb) gave him (Othniel) Achsah his daughter to wife” (Joshua 15:17). “The children of Israel served Chu-shan-rish-a-tha-im eight years. When the children of Israel cried . . . the Lord raised up a deliver . . . Othniel” (Judges 3:8-9).