Peninsula Community Church
Caleb: From Rags to Riches to Rags in Three Generations
October 18, 2015
Judges 2:7,10-13 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger.
The question for us today is what do we do when we have rebellion in our family? We will focus on the story of Caleb and the children of Israel to understand the power of rebellion. You will remember that Caleb was one of the young men who had been freed from slavery in Egypt. Caleb had also served at Moses’ side as they navigated the 40 years of wandering through the wilderness. From this vantage point he learned much about life and leadership because he was up close and personal to all that Moses went through. He learned why it was important to live in the presence of God. He learned the ins and outs of leading a rebellious people. He learned that he must keep pressing forward no matter what happens. He learned that God was always with him no matter what obstacles or issues they may face.
There is no doubt that Caleb was a man of faith and of integrity. If you remember this story, you will remember that Joshua and Caleb were partners in faith. It was Joshua and Caleb who took a stand against the rest the Jewish people. Remember the twelve spies who went into spy out the land on behalf of Moses and the children of Israel. Upon entering the promise land they saw the giants and they saw all of the barriers that could keep them from possessing the promised land. It is noteworthy that Joshua and Caleb saw the same giants and they saw the same issues as the other ten spies, but their trust in God superseded what they saw in the physical realm. They gave a good report and encouraged Moses to take the nation into the promise land at that moment. The other ten spies however gave a negative report. They swayed the others and together they persuaded Moses to wait. That started 40 years of roaming and wandering.
If we fast forward several years, we find that Caleb has become a father and a grandfather. He continued to live a Godly life and he honored God in all that he did. With a man like Caleb, you would think that his family would have followed God and would have willingly served Him but they did not. In fact, we find that it was not just Caleb’s family but the whole nation had turned their back on God and they had gone their own way. It is hard to understand why they would rebel especially in light all they had experienced. They saw the hand of God move on their behalf and they experienced the blessing of God in awesome ways. And yet they rebelled!
How did this happen? To begin with they forgot where they had come from. They forgot they had been slaves and that God had delivered them from Egypt. The problem is that it is so easy to forget where we have come from and all that God has done for us. We can forget the blessing that has been given to us and the work that has been done on our behalf. We can forget what it is like not to have God on our side. You see, they had forgotten that God had guided them through the Red Sea and through the wilderness. They forgot that God had provided nourishment when they needed it. They forgot that God had kept their clothes from wearing out. And they forgot all that God had given them, the promise land.
A second issue that must be addressed is “What changed?” Well, first they stopped worshipping God and they began to worship the idols that represented other gods. It is a sad commentary when people begin to turn from God to ways that are empty and of no value. It is sad when people turn to gods that have no power to bring healing or bring fulfillment in their life. In Isaiah 44, Isaiah sarcastically pokes fun at those who would worship idols. He questions why someone would worship something that does not have hands, no eyes, or no mouth. How personal could the idol be if it cannot speak, see, or touch? It is not personal at all and to top it off the idols were made by human hands.
Secondly, they changed the way they viewed what God had given them. They stopped saying “God’s land” and started saying “their land.” They took credit for what God had done. They became self motivated and selfish. From a Scriptural standpoint, it is clear that God does not share His glory with others. Listen to God’s own words in Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. I love how the New English Translation reads “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.
They lost the perspective that you cannot be friends with sin because you will become married to it before you know it. The problem with sin is that if we mess with sin we cannot help but get marred by it. Where we attach our emotions and our feelings, we end up giving our heart to those things and we will be ensnared. We do not tend to get trapped, but we do. We don’t intend to drift away from God, but we do.
The application of this is two fold. First, it is applicable to our family but it is also representative of our nation. It does not take much to realize how our nation has gone astray. But our focus will be on our children and our grandchildren. So how do we respond? First of all, we can not take the actions of our adult children or grandchildren personally. This is a tough one because we love our children and we do tend to take it personal when they fail. We are called to Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). But that does not take away the pain we experience when our children fail to live up to the way they have been raised.
Too often the result is that we become quagmired in the mindset of quilt and failure. When this is the mindset, our judgment is off. The result is we end up saying and doing things that we regret or we just add to the guilt and feelings of failure we already have. Now granted we may not have always done the right thing and we ourselves may have fallen short of the glory of God in our lives but we cannot and should not be loaded with the guilt that we are responsible for the decisions that our kids and grandkids make. They are responsible for their decisions and their actions. By making it personal, we begin to look for outcomes that bless us and satisfy us rather than those outcomes that honor and please God.
Secondly, become an intercessor on their behalf. When it comes to the behaviors of our children and grandchildren one of the greatest things we can do is to stand in the gap by way of intercession. Ezekiel understood this when he stated And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none (Ezekiel 22:30). God is looking for people to fill the gap. Will he find you faithful and standing in the gap for your children? Prayer is essential and it is a powerful tool to change the life of those we love because God can do more in minutes than we can do in a lifetime. We can and must stand in the gap for our kids and our grandkids. It is a necessity.
As we consider this there are four keys aspects to prayer. When we pray we must pray regularly. We must be consistent in our prayers. We must pray offensively. We must pray that God would place them in contact with those who love God. We pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers. We must pray defensively. We must pray that those things and those people that do not honor God would be removed from their life. We must pray intensely. We must be intense about praying for our children and our grandchildren.
Thirdly, be honest with your children and grandchildren about your struggles and shortcomings. Too often, we can present ourselves to our children as if we had no problems or concerns. We can sanitize our lives and the way we live so that others think that we are perfect and have no issues. As they get older share with them your struggles and shortcomings. But also share how you have overcome these things and the stand you took to make better choices.
Fourthly, remind them of God’s past works in them. Sometimes the problem exists that we forget what God has done in us and we need to be reminded of that. Sometimes we need to help others to be reminded of the graciousness and power of God in them. Speak prophetically over their lives. Speak words that encourage and point them in the direction of hope and life. Regardless of the child and the person, we can always find things to point to the work of God in their life.
Fifth, we keep hope because change will come. We can become discouraged because we do not feel much is happening in their life. We must have hope and we must look forward to what God has for our children and for our families. We must remember that God can do more in a moment than we can in years of worry. In verse 16, we find this encouraging verse Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. While the judges came and went, they were there and God used them to bring change. There was hope and as we know while Israel went through a season of difficulty and a season of backsliding we also see that God interviewed and they began to follow and honor God again.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
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