Joshua sent the people away, and the Israelites went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. The people worshiped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua. They had seen all the Lord’s great works He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:6-7)
What a legacy!
Yet it was short-lived:
After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10b)
Proverbs 22:6 says, Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Indeed, this is what we should do, but it is not a guaranteed promise that generations will follow the example set for them. Because (1) every generation that teaches the next is flawed and imperfect, and (2) every generation that follows must wrestle through and learn some things for themselves. It is how we grow.
These are the nations the Lord left in order to test Israel, since the Israelites had fought none of these in any of the wars with Canaan. This was to teach the future generations of the Israelites how to fight in battle, especially those who had not fought before. (Judges 3:1-2)
Each generation must learn to fight, not just in physical battle but in spiritual, relationship, and emotional battle. They need to learn how to fight well, not just with the end in mind but with valuing the process of learning and fighting. It’s not always about the declared winner but being able to claim honor and humility every step of the way.