He will … turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for Adonai a people prepared."
Until the age of machinery and industrialization, life in the world was the same from generation to generation. Julius Caesar and Georges Washington travelled at the same speed: on a horse or on something pulled by an animal. Agricultural techniques didn't change very much either. Older folks had more experience than the younger generation and children needed the advice of their elders. How different it is today when parents sometimes need the help of their children to just use a telephone!
As they readied to conquer the Promised Land, Moses pointed the generation that had not seen Pharaoh, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the voices and the thunders at Mt Horeb, the Golden Calf, and the retributions for complaining, to their elders: Joshua and Caleb. Being the only ones still alive who witnessed these awesome events, Moses was charging these two old warriors of the faith with the commission to teach these important lessons to the next generation. He says, "consider today (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), and consider the discipline of Adonai your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm ..." then he goes on with the Exodus events (Deuteronomy 11:2). It is still the norm in religious Judaism to refer back to Mt Horeb as the signature events of the faith.
As a generation who has not seen 'Egypt', we today should also look back to these events as they do not only teach us about the nature and character of the Father, but also about His universal redemption plan and about Messiah. Without the story of the Exodus, we do not understand divine redemption and without a working knowledge of Leviticus we do not understand Yeshua whom the apostles compared to every type of Levitical offering.
As it happened with technology, so it happened with faith. Religions today always try to 'repackage' themselves to fit their current culture. As a result, children feel like they know better than their more experienced parents. No wonder we talk of 'generation gap' and the world is going backwards in its moral values. Children feel that they do not need to look back to their elders anymore so as the apostle foresaw, the generation that sees Yeshua's return shall be disobedient to parents (2 Timothy 3:2)'.
As Moses was doing in exhortation to Joshua and Caleb, part of John the Immerser ministry of repentance was to provoke a return of the hearts of the fathers (meaning 'elders', 'teachers' and 'rabbis' in Talmudic language) to the children. May we, as children, remember the second part of the verse: and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, and follow the wise counsel we inherited from King Solomon, Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set (Luke 1:17; Proverbs 22:28).