Quite Possibly the Worst Verse in the Bible

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Many of the truths found in Scripture are hard to swallow, but those might be the truths we need to hear.

I just got back from a weekend away. We drove over the mountains and played in the snow. The Ferrin Five (as well as 11 other grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins). When we weren’t out in the snow we were playing games or eating heaps of tasty food.

And I’m bummed out.

Not because of the playing in the snow. (That was outstanding!) I’m bummed because of what I read this morning…on my first morning back! The verse is found in the second chapter of Judges. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of what has happened up to this point:

  • Moses leads the people out of slavery in Egypt.
  • God dries up the Red Sea just long enough for hundreds of thousands of Israelites to get across.
  • Maybe a year or two later (the Bible doesn’t say exactly), they send 12 spies into the Promised Land.
  • All the spies are scared out of their sandals except Caleb and Joshua. So the Israelites end up wandering in the dessert for an unnecessary four decades.
  • As Moses is about to die, he promotes Joshua to Head Honcho and Joshua leads them into the Promised Land.
  • Seven days of marching. 1 day of marching followed by shouting. Jericho miraculously falls.
  • God helps the Israelites (still lead by Joshua) conquer 31 kings.
  • The Promised Land is broken up and distributed to the various tribes.
  • Just before taking his last breath – at the tender, young age of 110! – Joshua does a quick recap of all that God has done, calls the Israelites to serve Him wholeheartedly, and utters his famous words: But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15, NLT)

The first chapter of Judges recaps some of the battles. The first nine verses of Chapter Two recap Joshua’s death and burial.

You would think that God would let us soak for at least a few pages in the awesomeness of all that He has brought them through. All that He has done. The miracles. The rescuing. The conquering. The greatness of God’s kindness – and power – displayed in these twelve tribes.

Nope.

Here’s verse 10:

After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.

Like I said, I’m bummed.

One generation?! The faithfulness didn’t even carry over for one generation? The more I think about it, the more I think that my bummed-ness stems from two realizations:

One: This falls more on the adults than the kids.

Ouch. I hate to admit it, but how good a job did the Israelite parents do passing this faith on to their kids? It would be one thing if it only said the next generation didn’t “acknowledge.” But it also says “…or remember.”

They didn’t know. They weren’t taught it. And the society around them didn’t do anything to help them remember. Sound like the environment your kids are growing up in? Again…ouch.

Our kids won’t grow up remembering God’s faithfulness, if we adults neglect to tell them about it.

Two: We are a fickle people.

There were over a million people who entered the Promised Land. One generation later, they didn’t acknowledge or remember all that God had done for Israel.

As I gasped at the Israelites’ fickleness, I sat appalled at my own. How easy it is for me to forget. How easy it is for me to wander. How easy it is to get out of the habit of immersing myself in the presence of God. He is right here. His Holy Spirit dwells in me. I have access to His Word anytime – in multiple translations. I can worship freely, openly, publicly, and privately. And I’m still fickle.

I might be bummed. But sometimes a verse like this is the swift kick I need.

Question: What is one verse that you didn’t like when you read it, but needed to hear it nonetheless?

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