BEFORE GOING FURTHER WITH OUR SUBJECT FROM YESTERDAY,LET’S TAKE A JOURNEY through the Bible and see what is outstanding about successful Bible youth. We will find:
Isaac – What a model of submission! We hear of Abraham’s great faith, but what about Isaac. Could he not have taken his old father, Abraham, down and bound him rather than submitting to being bound and laid on the altar? I wonder if Isaac had faith in his father – perhaps, he just didn’t believe his father would do it! Or, perhaps, the faith of Abraham had been instilled into Isaac so that Isaac himself also believed God would deliver – God would supply! I guess Isaac was blessed by his submission to an arranged marriage also!
Joseph – Joseph’s positive characteristics are lauded making him a model of perfection but he was not born that way! His braggadocio as a youth substituted his coat of fine colors for a cloak of drudgery and humility! He paid a fine price as God elevated him to the second place in the kingdom.
Samuel – A protégé of Eli who surpassed his teacher. This is one of the few men about whom no negative incident is recorded. Well done, indeed!
David – David had seven brothers about whom little is said except that they looked good and they harassed David. We have no reason to think Jesse spoiled David even though David was the youngest (as Jacob did Joseph). Jesse may have even been a bit hard on David. So how did he achieve his status with God? Perhaps it was the long hours alone on the hillsides. Perhaps we overload our children with activities. It seems that God himself was David’s mentor.
Maid to Naaman’s wife – Young Hebrew slave girl who directed Naaman to Elisha.
Joash (Jehoash) – Mentored by Jehoiada the priest. Repaired temple and did good while Jehoiada, his mentor, lived, then he fell into idolatry.
Josiah – Became king at 8 years old. He was a good king. No mention of who taught him right. His father, Amon, and grandfather, Manasseh, were evil; however, Manasseh did repent and corrected his evil deeds as much as possible. Josiah’s mother was mentioned. Did she influence him? We are not told. Since Amon only reigned two years, Josiah would have been under Manasseh, his grandfather, during Manasseh’s good years. That would have meant Josiah’s first six years would have been during Manasseh’s good years. Perhaps that was crucial to his loving God.
Esther – Bold, courageous, and obedient protégé of uncle, Mordecai.
Jeremiah – Father was a priest named Hilkiah under good king Josiah. Jeremiah said of himself that he was “just a child” so he was a young man when God called him. It is likely that his early years were productive and blessed since he ministered for eighteen years while Josiah was king.
Daniel – Daniel and his three comrades are spoken of very highly in a positive way. They were pure, upright, and intelligent. We do not know the names of the people who influenced them, but they were raised as royalty.
Rhoda – Rhoda was a young maid who was present at a meeting where prayer was being made for Peter when he was in prison. She had faith enough to believe it was Peter at the door, in spite of the adults telling her it must be his ghost!
Timothy – Paul’s protégé who was from a “mixed” marriage (Jewish mother and Greek father); he was taught the scriptures by his mother and grandmother.
A SURVEY OF THE BIBLE YOUTH NOTED ABOVE will be encouraging to youth in almost any circumstance of life. Almost all were from what we might call problem situations. Joseph had a group of jealous brothers ready to kill him. Samuel was not raised in the home of his father and mother. David’s brothers belittled him and his dad more or less had to be reminded that he was around! Maid to Naaman’s wife taken captive to a foreign land. Joash escaped an evil aunt who was out for his blood. Josiah’s grandfather was noted for his evil in spite of his Godly change. Esther was an orphan. Rhoda may have been a poor girl, at least some translators call her a servant girl. Timothy’s father was a foreigner.
WHAT DID THESE SUCCESSFUL KIDS GET IN COMMON? ALMOST ALL HAD GODLY PARENTS OR GODLY MENTORS FROM WHOM THEY TOOK INSTRUCTION!