July 02, 2019

What the First Generation Saw

Judges 2:6-10; Acts 9:1-19

The Lord . . . has sent me so that you may see again...

—  Acts 9:17

Paul (also known as Saul) had seen amazing church growth but could not accept it as God’s work. Then, on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, Paul had a blinding vision of the Lord Jesus. And later, when “something like scales fell from his eyes,” Paul couldn’t hold back from proclaiming “all the great things the Lord had done.” He had seen the Lord (see Acts 26:15-18).

Centuries earlier, after a long journey to the promised land, God’s people had seen the Jordan River stop flowing so they could cross it on dry ground. They had also seen Jericho’s walls tumble down (Joshua 3-6). And all they had done was to follow the ark of God, as their leader Joshua had told them to.

Would you have believed if your own eyes had seen the waters of the Jordan stop flowing or the walls of Jericho crumble? The people who followed Joshua did. But after that generation died, another generation grew up and didn’t know the Lord or all the great things he had done.

According to the book of Judges, God’s people “turned from the ways of their ancestors” and refused to believe in what God had done (see 2:17- 19). They were satisfied with doing “what was right in their own eyes” (17:6).

“Blessed are those,” said Jesus, “who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Lord, even though we have not seen the great things you did long ago, please bless us, that we may believe what you reveal in your Word, the Bible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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