[b]Lessons On Spiritual Decline (Series 1)[/b][i]by Zac Poonen[/i]The history of Israel is given us at such length in the Bible to show us good examples in their history that we can follow and the mistakes that men made there that we should avoid.There is a significant starting point in the history of Israel as a nation:when they began as a nation in Canaan under the leadership of Joshua.Joshua was a godly man who gave excellent leadership to Israel. He was determined to follow the Lord with his whole family, even if the rest of Israel decided to forsake the Lord (Josh.24:15).Only such a man, who is willing to stand alone if necessary, can provide godly leadership to any church today. During Joshua's lifetime, Israel went forward from one victory to another.But then Joshua died.And there we can see in what followed, what happens when a man whom God has raised up at a particular time for a particular purpose in a particular country finishes his earthly course and passes on.Joshua's fellow-elders took over the leadership of Israel (Josh.24:31). These elders belonged to the next generation after Joshua. Joshua died when he was 110 years old and the new leaders were in their 60's and their 70's - for Joshua's own generation (except for Caleb) had all perished in the forty years of wandering in the wilderness.During this time - when the second generation was in leadership - things were not as good as in Joshua's time. We read in Judges 1 that during this period, there were a few victories (v.1-21), but many defeats as well (v.22-36). A slow decline had started.The second generation had no steam in themselves, but were surviving on the momentum that they had received from Joshua's leadership in the previous generation.Like a train-wagon that has been pushed by an engine, the second generation moved very fast initially, but gradually slowed down and finally came to a grinding halt!By the time we come to Judges 2:11, things become really bad. Israel now does open evil in the sight of the Lord.Thus we see how what started in a good way in one generation, gradually became evil by the time of the third generation.
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
It is easy to see the analogy of Joshua's time in our day and age.Complacency and apathy are the order of our day.There isn't anything to fight for, or so it seems.The church mingling with the world nowadays is so accepted that it seems strange if church does not follow that path.God help us.God bless.