There’s nothing like first-hand experience to energise the soul and motivate the heart! When we have seen something for ourselves we are transformed by what we have been able to share in. Nobody can ever take away from us the blessing of watching God at work.
So, as long as Joshua, and the elders who had walked with him through all the pilgrimages of the Children of Israel, were leading the nation, the people were happy to serve the Lord – they knew that God was real, because He had been real to those who were leading them. But as soon as that generation had passed, on and there were no longer any witnesses to what God had done left alive, the people soon forgot the stories and started going their own way.
There are many things I have seen God do in people’s lives across the years of the ministry. Those experiences are as precious to me today as they were on the day they happened – and I often tell the stories to encourage and inspire people. They were unmistakeable evidence of a living God and of His hand upon the work that God has given us to do.
But what will happen when the generation who saw all these things has passed away? My prayer is that each generation will have their own experiences to talk about, but that will never happen if they are solely depending on second-hand stories. People have to gain their own experience of God at work, so it is always fresh in the memory of the present generation.
I pray that while you may rejoice in what God has done in the past through others, that you will never be satisfied with second-hand accounts of what God used to do – otherwise the next generation will have no living evidence on which to base their trust in Him.
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