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The Danger of Forgetting God By Randy Bell

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If you read the Old Testament enough you start to see the horrible pattern of generation after generation of God’s people forget Him. Oh, they have a form of religious tradition and shallow faith but they blur the lines of obedience and copy and become like their ungodly neighbors. It is the same today in the church, Christians have forgotten much over the 2000 years since the church was formed.

What is the church in danger of forgetting today? The Apostle Paul asks, “Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.” Romans 3:31 (NLT)

Let’s look back on the timeline of God’s dealings with Israel.

After God sent Moses to Egypt to bring His people to the Promised Land, things got rough and many of the people quickly forgot God’s will and wanted to go back to slavery. They ran straight back to idolatry when Moses was on the mountain receiving God’s Laws. They resisted and fought against God in every trial of faith. They ended up stuck in the wilderness for their sins.

But the children were spared and remembered all God’s powerful miracles. They followed and honored God by following Joshua into the Promised  Land and experiencing God’s power. But they failed to raise their children and teach them as God intended.  They were to wholeheartedly immerse their children with the truth. They were told to talk about His law and teach His ways all day long. Their “God” conversations were needed constantly to raise up their children to love God.

They were instructed to focus on the education of their children. “Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again 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. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as remindersWrite them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NLT) 

But they failed to wholeheartedly obey and their children grew up and forgot God. As it explains in Judges,  “Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110. They buried him in the land he had been allocated, at Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.”

“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight and served the images of Baal. They abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the LORD.” Judges 2:8-12 (NLT)

And we are told the ungodly neighbors would be a constant test and trial for Israel because they turned from God. The prevailing culture of the people who lived there before they got into the land would ruin them. All the spectacular festivals of the heathen gods, the food, and the fun would capture their kid’s hearts. Diversity and tolerance wedded the children together in mind and spirit.

They were warned in Judges 2:19-23 (NLT), “But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. So the LORD burned with anger against Israel. He said, ‘Because these people have violated my covenant, which I made with their ancestors, and have ignored my commandsI will no longer drive out the nations that Joshua left unconquered when he died. I did this to test Israel—to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the LORD as their ancestors did’.”

“That is why the LORD left those nations in place. He did not quickly drive them out or allow Joshua to conquer them all.”

Well since they forgot God’s ways in the days of the new generation they did not feel guilty about the evil they were doing and were not even aware that God was angry with them. They lived their lives absorbed with the culture and adventures of the “today”. Darkness and spiritual ignorance reigned.

In the 21st century, many Americans see the recent past with any God stuff and label it old fashioned. As if time erases God’s standards each new generation feels natural with new depths of sin and then condemn the old-fashioned preachers who call them to repentance. They see those old religious extremists as out of touch with reality and the new generation of “Christians” are pulled down with the spiritual darkness.

After Joshua and before Israel had kings they were led by judges. But Israel so forgot God they did whatever they decided was right and wrong. Oh, they still had the Law of God, they just did not bother to obey God. As it is written, “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Judges 17:6 (NLT)

Somehow God and His commands were not good enough for the people, they needed to be forced to obey Him by the sword of a king.

Well not really, even after hundreds of years and many kings later, they still forgot God. Even the spiritual leaders did not read the book! They so neglected God inside their temple, sacrifices, and worship they finally found the lost Bible. In 2 Kings 22:8 (NLT) we find this sad story, “Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the LORD’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.”

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