Joshua’s days were glorious ones. He was a minister to Moses, servant to God, captain of the host of Israel and conqueror of Canaan. The people were faithful during his time (Judges. 2:7). Then there arose an unfaithful generation (Judges. 2:10). Things can change very quickly. If children are allowed to grow up without God's word, the same thing will occur in the Twentieth Century. Apostasy can and does happen. It happened to the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 2:1; Revelation 2:4) Also see Galatians 5.4 and I Timothy 5:12. But in Judges 2 we find certain things which brought about apostasy.
From our text we see that the first step to apostasy was their SPIRITUAL ILLITERACY (vs. 10). This ignorance of God's word has and will bring a great fall to many people. It is said that the Bible is the best selling book of all time. The American Bible Society sold 70 million Bibles last year. I wonder just how many are read and studied. Of course we know that there is no way to know God without the word, and one cannot please God without knowing Him (Hebrews 11:6; II Thessalonians 1:8). Someone has said, and rightfully so, “We have never before gone to worship so often and studied so little.” Spiritual illiteracy is rampant today. The word must be studied so as to be “furnished unto every good work” (II Timothy 3:15-17). If we are not really careful, we, too, will raise a generation which know not the Lord and His word. Keep your Bibles open and we will not find the doors of heaven closed.
From Judges 2 we also find that apostasy came because they ABANDONED GOD. They “forsook the God of their fathers” (vs. 12). When we raise a generation of children without the word we have serious problems because they will abandon the God made known therein. Safety is found when we stay near to God. James 4:8 states that we are to “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” God never abandons us; it is our decision to move away from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2). We can help save a generation by teaching and showing our allegiance to our Father in heaven.
The people went into apostasy also because they DEGENERATED INTO IDOLATRY (vs. 12-13). Notice that they “followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them” (vs. 12). Sin is progressive. It begins with thought and progresses into action. As Israel began to fellowship the people around them, they began to act like those idolatrous nations. We are warned against such (Romans 12:1-2; I Thessalonians 5:22; I Peter 2:11). A generation can be saved if we will practice the age old principle of running from all evil circumstances (Proverbs 4:27; 14:16).
Apostasy brings about the anger of the Lord (vs. 14-15). It happened to Israel when there arose a generation that knew not God. We face the same problem today. We must not raise a generation that rebels against God and His word. It can be overcome with the disposition of Joshua when he said, “As for me and my house we will serve God” (Joshua 24:15). Apostasy must be avoided because there is a heaven to gain and a hell to avoid. May God be our guide as we raise our families. If we will allow Him to rule in our lives, generations will be saved.