Judges 1-7 is the historical transition from the sole leadership of Joshua (Hebrew name for Jesus), to the leadership of generational leaders as the twelve tribes root themselves in the land. What characterizes this chapter in Israelite history is their chronic forsaking of God. And it begins with the generation that follows Joshua's generation: the generation that crossed the Jordan River and conquered Jericho and beheld God's Mighty Right Arm...that generation failed to pass these stories on to their children. How can God be so forgettable?
In chapter two, following the death of Joshua, the author writes: "another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshipped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD's anger..."
If God is so great, so good, so glorious, so grace-full, so generous...if this God is so central to the stories of a generation...how is it that the next generation knows nothing of him? Surely God is not that impressive or memorable, that parents would forget to tell their children the stories of God's beautiful, life giving work. Why are gods carved of stone and wood, gods with four wheels and multiple horse-power, gods of green-colored paper, gods of gold, silver and silicon...why are these gods so much more attractive and interesting then Yahweh?
How can God-followers, those that live by the name of the LORD, not tell the stories of God, yet be fascinated by so many other kinds of stories/movies/novels/episodes/reality-based crap? We'll retell all sorts of urban legends, rumors, jokes and riddles - but stories of God's deliverance and help in times of dire need, as well as stories of generousity and grace...oh yeah, forgot about those...didn't think you'd want to hear about it.
A generation of children are lost because their parents do not tell God-stories. In the days of the Judges/Leaders, God would bring in oppressors by which God's people would turn to him for help. God would deliver them through a leader, the people would rejoice and be reconciled to God and enjoy shalom for forty years. But then they'd forget to tell their kids God-stories, and the next generation would infuriate the LORD with their whoring and tomfoolery. And so the cycle goes. And goes.
Why is the LORD our God so forgettable, why are his stories so stale, why do parents chronically fail to pass on their God-experiences unto their children?