A simple cultural shift changed the destiny of an entire nation from complete losers to amazing winners in one generation. How can we make such a shift?
The Israelites in the wilderness were so rebellious that both God and Moses disowned them. The priests were so mutinous that the ground opened up and swallowed them. Complaining was the national way of life. Friends and family encouraged each other to gripe about everything, and they taught it to their children too. The generation that came through the Red Sea were so rotten that they could not be fixed and all had to die in the wilderness. Joshua and Caleb were the only two who chose a different spirit.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had ‘died in faith’, not having received the promises so that these Israelites could possess the promised land – but they made themselves unfit for it.
How did their kids feel? I suppose they honoured their parents because Moses had instructed them to, but at the same time, the main lesson they got from their parents was how to complain against God and rebel against their leaders. They didn’t swallow that cool aid but began to hate the mindset of their parent’s generation. They hated the ‘let’s return to Egypt’ attitude, they wanted the Promised Land. When Joshua took over, this new generation said, “We will obey you just as we have obeyed Moses in all things.” Sounds a bit dubious after all the previous stories of rebellion, but these are not the rebels talking here, these are their children. They swore to Joshua, “If you command, we will go. And if anyone of us does not obey, we will kill him ourselves!” And they did obey! They followed Joshua into victory after victory.
The 180 degree turn from extreme disobedience to a zero tolerance for negativity was a cultural shift that happened in the hearts of the new generation. It was a global shift – the entire population shifted to a core value of obedience. Where did they learn this? They learned it from Joshua and they were no doubt convinced of it by all they suffered from of their parent’s disobedience. These kids spent their growing up years in the wilderness when they could have been in the promised land. They honoured their parents but hated what their parents had done to them.
This drastic cultural shift launched the new generation straight into the promised land. The new culture didn’t just correct the direction of the nation, it immediately broke through and restored Israel to what could have been their’s all along – as if their parents had never sinned. All was regained, the promised land had been waiting for them all along.
What’s the difference between being rightly content and wrongly compromising our future?