Men of Faith Prayer Breakfast
For the Next Generation
14 May, 2016
So, I do not take lightly the privilege you afford me to speak into your lives. I always desire to inspire and to challenge. I also like positive stories that get us in the heart, excite us to believe the possible.
But not every story is like that. We also are often guilty of stopping with the exciting, the positive … and not wrestling with reality when it isn’t pretty.
We as men, fathers have a unique God given responsibility to lead our families. While our families are made up of humans who have their own minds, wills, and emotions, we must still take responsibility for what we pass along.
So, I have had these thoughts running around in my head for about a week and I didn’t put pen to it until last night … maybe because I didn’t want to …
There are some great men in scripture … men like Joshua, Gideon, King Hezekiah.
You are going to have to do some extra reading, but let me hit the high points
Judges 2:7–8 (NIV84)The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. 8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
Only two other people, David and Moses, were ever called “The Servant of the Lord”.
2 Kings 18:1 (NIV84)In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
2 Kings 18:5 (NIV84)Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.
No one like him … before or after …
You know Gideon’s story in Judges 6-8. He was used by God to defeat the Mideonites. There is even a funny along the way when some men in Succuth wouldn’t give Gideon’s 300 some bread when they were pursuing the leftovers from their enemies. So, Joshua promised to get them back for their ingratitude in 8:7 and then in 8:16 he does what I love, and perhaps you wonder where this phrase comes from … “He took the elders of the city and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them HE TAUGHT THE MEN OF SUCCUTH A LESSON … Oh yeah … he taught them a lesson …
Then they tried to make him King they said “rule over us, you and your sons”
Judges 8:23 (NIV84)But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.”
Good Answer …
These are amazing men … men of renown … men to emulate. They were generals and a king. They were leaders of men. They were victorious men. They were men who trusted and followed God
But do you know what else they had in Common?
They lost their sons …
They lost the next generation …
Judges 8:32–35 (NIV84)Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and 34 did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show kindness to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) for all the good things he had done for them.
Judges 2:8–13 (NIV84)Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
Hezekiah was sick and prayed for more time
2 Kings 20:6 (NIV84)I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’ ”
What did he do with the 15 years? Well he had a son … Manasseh
2 Kings 20:21–21:2 (NIV84) Hezekiah rested with his fathers. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king. 1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.
2 Kings 21:4–7 (NIV84)He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.” 5 In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 7 He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.
2 Kings 21:9 (NIV84)But the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.
WOW … What Happened?
When God’s men lose their families …
Guys I’m advancing with fear and trembling here …
Perhaps some of you are struggling here …
Any of our families could turn away …
satan prowls like a roaring lion … the reality is we are just a generation away from losing all we have invested …
So what happened? Well some of it is obvious, some not …
So, let me make some positive statements that are the opposite of what seems to have happened here …
- Love Your Wife / Their Mother
We get a little peek at Gideon’s problem …
We find in the story that Gideon had 70 son … for he had many wives … and he also had concubines. Gentlemen, God realized Adam needed a helpmate … and he made him ONE wife. The greatest thing you can give your children is to LOVE your wife. She is the your friend, your lover, not just the mother of your children. I never call lisa “Mom” cause she is not my mom, she is my WIFE. I always called her by her name or my nicknames for her to my boys not “Mom” because I wanted them to know she was somebody special to me. She is someone I love more than any earthly person and I will protect and love her. I stole something from Josh McDowell that I have said to my boys when i heard them talking ugly to their Mother, my precious baby. I said “Boys, you may talk to your mother that way but NO ONE talks to my WIFE that way. Are we clear?” They understood exactly what I meant. End of story, apologies followed quickly. Cause they knew that SHE came first. They knew also that they came second and my job came third.
Seek and LOVE your wife gentlemen.
- Don’t Entertain Idols in your midst
All three of these men, were committed to this … The first thing Gideon did for God was destroy the foreign altar in their midst
Joshua made them promise not to chase after idols
But we have to be careful that we don’t allow idols in our midst of the not obvious kind
What do you worship?
What do you order your lives around?
What do you give your wealth?
What is the decision maker in your house?
Anything besides the Lord is an IDOL
- Don’t Make An Idol Out of Your Past Glory
Gideon had done great things for the Lord. He had served as a Judge for them people
He rejected their offer to make him King …
But he took little trinkets … oh just some little gold from the camels necks, just the ear rings from the men’s ears, and he turned them into a remembrance of what God had done … just a remembrance … but they began to worship the remembrance instead of the maker of the memory … they worshiped the deliverance and not the deliverer
Celebrate God … not just that one great thing you participated in. God is bigger than that. If you celebrate that moment, it becomes about you … it becomes about the event … that’s an idol
- Be Present
I don’t know what happened between Hezekiah and Manasseh … but I can guess … Oh he was older … we was busy, he was the King … someone will take care of Manasseh … Have the priests teach him, have his mother teach him to pray, I’ll take him to church, but others are going to have to invest in him.
Think about it Manasseh became the exact opposite of everything his Father stood for. Why? Resentment perhaps. Dad wasn’t there.
I know it is hard … but presence isn’t always about GPS Coordinates
Invest yourself in them whatever way possible
Let them see you fail as well as succeed.
Celebrate with them, Cry with them
Then they will do the same with you …
- Set Your Hopes on the Eternal …
Don’t just focus on what affects YOU … Joshua said “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” But was he focused on the coming houses of his house?
Isaiah brought a message of coming Judgment on Israel by Babylon in Isaiah 39. And do you know what Hezekiah’s response was?
Isaiah 39:8 (NIV84)“The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”
Gentlemen let us not be satisfied with peace in our lifetime if we are selling out the future for our children.
Gideon was only worried about himself in the end
He started out tearing down an altar and ended with creating an object of worship leading the next generation away
You want an image of focused on future generations? When Joseph died he said “don’t bury me here, when God delivers you from this place, take my bones and bury them in the land of promise.” for 500 years they had to care for his bones. The next generation had to be told. These are Joseph’s bones. His dad was Jacob, his dad was Isaac, his dad was Abraham. God promised Abraham that though his people would leave the land of promise, they would return and God would give it to them. So for 500 years the story was told and when they buried Joshua, they buried Joseph in the Promised Land. That is an eye on the next generation.
- Keep Proclaiming the Story.
There is a common denominator that the generations that followed … FORGOT what the Generation before had known …
Whose fault is it if they don’t know?
Judges 2:10 (NIV84) After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.
One of the great chapters in Scripture is Joshua 24.
Joshua assembled the people and they presented themselves before God
Somewhere along the way they stopped presenting themselves to the Lord …
Then Joshua told them everything God had done for them
God’s story is the greatest story ever told
When people hear God’s story, when our children hear what God has done for us …
They more often than not, will follow
He even told them what to do with the information
24:14 NOW fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness … throw away the gods for your forefathers … in Egypt
24:15 choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household we will serve the Lord …
They said far be it from us to forsake the Lord …
Somewhere Gideon had stopped giving God the credit and it became … Look what I did …
Hezekiah wasn’t passing it on to Manasseh …
Keep on telling the Story …
Passing It On
Gentlemen … the way to pass it on and the hope for the next generation is NOT a secret … and we don’t have to try and figure out HOW … God has told us … in one of the Oldest Commands and Parenting How To Advice ever given …
Deuteronomy 11:18–22 (NIV84)Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. 22 If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him—
>FIX – in your hearts and minds – it means to PUT it IN LAY it up like treasure … Commit to … in YOUR … It won’t be theirs until it is yours … Read it, Study It, Be Taught it, Receive It, Memorize it
>Tie them as Symbols … oh you don’t have to where a headband or wristband … but what is the symbol that defines you? God’s word and ways or someone elses?
>Teach them to your children
>Talk about them
- When you sit with them
- When you walk with them
- When you lie down with them
- When you get up with them
- Have real conversations … SIT, WALK, LIE, RISE … WITH THEM …
>Write them on the doorframes of your houses/gates … Is your house permeated with God’s presence
>So that … days may be many … this IS the Hope of the Next Generation
>IF YOU are CAREFUL to OBSERVE – DO … don’t just SAY …
- Love the Lord
- Walk his way
- Hold Fast – keep on doing it …
For the Next Generation