I have been reading through Joshua these last couple of weeks and came to the very end of the book where I saw this verse (24:32): “And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This (the land) became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendents.”
To be buried in the Promised Land had been Joseph’s request recorded four hundred years earlier in Genesis 50:25. That means Israel had been carrying around this guy’s ancient bones for at least forty one years in the desert; one year at Mt Sinai after the Exodus and forty years wandering around before Joshua led them into the Promised Land. In other words, if a generation is defined as a thirty year span, it means Joseph’s request was remembered and acted upon by the thirteenth and fourteenth generation from his death.
What an amazing commitment that one generation had to another! Do a word study on “generation” in the Psalms and meditate on the awesome privilege and responsibility that one generation has for another- especially the older to the younger. “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts” (Ps. 145:4). “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord (Ps.102:18). “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation” (Ps. 71:18).
Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon in 1888 entitled, Holding Fast the Faith, in which he said: “Look you, Sirs, there are ages yet to come. If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation and another and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His Truth today. We have come to a turning point in the road. If we turn to the right, maybe our children and our children’s children will go that way. But if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to His Word.” (The whole text can be found at www.spurgeongems.org/vols34-36/chs2007.pdf)
Who are the young folks in your life: children, grandchildren, associates, kids at church or in the neigborhood? Are you taking initiatives to build relationships with them or do you fall for the cultural assumption that they don’t want to hang out with you because you’re old? Do you pray for them, encourage them in their faith, and take opportunities to declare to them God’s faithfulness in your life? You may not like their music, but if you love them their music will not be an issue. Have you ever thought of volunteering in the nursery or the youth program at church? Let us commit ourselves to being a blessing to the next generation and not a curse.
By the way, who are the older folks in your life: parents, grandparents, associates, neighbors? Do you realize how much wisdom and experience are rattling around in those old brain, even though the retrieval systems have slowed down? Do you take the time to ask them questions and then take some more time to listen to their stories? You will not have them for much longer. Soon you’ll become the old one and someone will be carrying your bones to their rest.