Summary: From rags to riches in three generations.


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.

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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).


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.


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.


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).


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).


“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).

1. Othniel’s generation lost their pioneering spirit. “The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites” (Judges 3:5).

2. Othniel’s generation lost their beliefs. “Forgot the Lord their God” (Judges 3:7).

3. Othniel’s generation lost their separation from sin. “Took their daughters to be their wives” (Judges 3:6).


1. Must be wise to recognize sin. “The Lord left to prove Israel . . . even as many as had not known the wars of Canaan” (Judges 3:3-5, ELT).

2. Must be strong to fight sin. “These nations . . . the Lord allows to stay . . . to teach Israel to fight” (Judges 3:1, ELT).

3. Must have conviction to follow the Lord. “They were to prove Israel . . . to know whether they (Israel) would harken unto the commandments of the Lord” (Judges 3:4).

If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:

Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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