Several months ago we surveyed the boldness and effective ministry of Billy Sunday. Once known as “the most spectacular evangelist since John the Baptist,” he had a fervent and fruitful ministry just a little over one hundred years ago. Revival historians recall how God mightily used him to reach thousands of souls, if not millions, for Christ. Estimates indicate that over 1000 million heard him preach in person.
While he was mightily used of God, no doubt one of his biggest heartbreaks was the lives of his children. All of his children died before the age of 40 and only his daughter was thought to be a Christian. All three of his sons lived immoral lives and were each killed in separate violent accidents. While some may be tempted to label Sunday as a failure in the role of father, such a label may be unjust. Undoubtedly Sunday wished there were things that he would have done differently as a parent. However, one lesson we can observe is that each of us is individually accountable to God. Someone once stated “God has no grandchildren.”
Similarly, in the days following Joshua’s death, the children of Israel forsook God and His holy direction. Despite the previous generation’s faithfulness to the Lord, the new generation forsook the Lord and incurred chastening. May God help us to learn this valuable lesson. We can never rest on the heels of another’s spiritual accomplishments. We must love and serve the Lord ourselves.
Judges 2:7; 11-12
And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.