The Challenge of Youth

Roy Hill, Bristol, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]

Precious Seed

The scriptures that are referred to in this article use the word ‘child’ but readers of YPS should not be put off by that because in the Old Testament the meaning of the word is usually ‘youth’ or ‘young man’. It may also refer to a ‘young woman’ as well.

1 Israel - salvation

‘When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt’,Hos. 11. 1.

Hosea, the prophet, was writing his book about 750 years after the nation of Israel had been delivered out of Egypt. He is giving the background to that escape and showing why God determined to take His people from that country to a better land that He would give to them. He refers to the nation at that point as ‘a child’ and certainly it was so politically as its history had been swamped by the captivity. But it was soon to re-emerge and would flourish in a land of its own. Hosea describes his understanding of God’s motives in pointing out the childhood aspect. This would suggest weakness and vulnerability as well as immaturity and, perhaps, wilfulness. Yet in spite of that God says, ‘I loved him’. This was an unequivocal expres-sion of love, and though not always appreciated by the nation in its vicissitudes and suffer-ing it was ever true.Using this love as a launching pad God next ‘called’ the people out. This was a tough call for some for though in slavery they were nevertheless secure and enjoyed a reasonable lifestyle with good accommodation and excellent food. Water, too, was freely available. A venture into the wilderness would put all of these blessings in jeopardy.

God also says,‘I taught Ephraim also to go, holding them by their arms’. This shows God’s care for them in the wilderness journey. It is like teaching a child to walk. One holds their arms to support them and then as progress is made and lessons learned so one would hold them by the hands, and then maybe by a finger only. Soon they are able to walk unaided. Moreover, God says, ‘I drew them with cords . . . with bands of love’. Now able to walk the child needed guidance and direction. This was done carefully and in love.God also fed them,‘I gave meat unto them’, v. 4. Indeed so much progress had been made and such blessing bestowed on the child that the question is posed, ‘How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?’ v. 8. Though tempted to do so God never did . . . He brought them right through. These words should make us think of God’s dealings with us. We have been loved, even when we had no love to God.We have been called out of Egypt, which is a type of the world, and tenderly led throughout our lives. We have developed as young Christians so that now we can walk the walk. We have been spiritually fed and nourished. He will not give us up and we shall not go back to Egypt, see v. 5.

2 Timothy - education

‘From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise’, 2 Tim. 3. 15.

Here, the word ‘child’ does mean ‘infant’ but then when we were first born again we all were infants in the things of the Lord and in particular in the holy scriptures. Timothy had a great advantage and blessing in his homelife as a child in that he had a mother, Lois, and a grandmother, Eunice, both of whom loved the Lord and His word. It was their exercise that the young Timothy should learn the word thoroughly as that would become his guide and standard throughout his life.They would be able to make him wise not only as to how to be saved but also how to walk and to please God. It is incumbent on every young believer to read the scriptures daily, to study their teaching as time permits and to avail oneself of the opportunity of teaching in the assembly, at conferences, Bible readings or on a one-to-one basis or small groups meeting in a home.Many older brethren today can look back to such opportunities and thank God for their mentors who led by example as well as precept.

An understanding of the scriptures will warm and rejoice your heart. It will preserve your life and testimony. It will bring you close to God and to Christ. You will better understand God’s purpose and plans and you in turn will be able to teach others also and be a blessing to them and your local assembly. So, as Paul counselled Timothy, ‘Give attention to reading’!

3 Ephraim - reformation

‘Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child?’, Jer. 31. 20.

Jeremiah chapter 31 deals with the promise of God to His people as they return to the land in restoration to undertake rebuilding work on all that had been broken down. The beautiful words of verse 3 correspond with our first section above. ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee’. Verse 9 would suggest our second section, ‘I will cause them to walk by the rivers of water in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble’,and, ‘Their soul shall be as a watered garden’, v. 12. With these and many other blessings the questions God now asks about Ephraim are i) Is Ephraim my son? and, ii) Is he a pleasant child? The answer to the first is a most definite ‘Yes’ but the answer to the second may be in some doubt. Salvation and sonship should produce pleasant children. Pleasantness suggests enjoyment and delight. Of the Son of God it was said,‘in whom is all my delight’. In the Old Testament Jonathan is described by David as being ‘lovely and pleasant in his ways’. There is nothing so attractive as a young person who is pleasant. It is not in the nature of Christlikeness to be impatient, arrogant or unthankful and every Christian young person has a responsibility to cultivate a pleasant attitude and demeanour. It is honouring to the Lord. It is the Lord’s purpose to change sinful lives and unlikeable people into those who are ‘lovely and pleasant’. Has he succeeded with you?

4 Jeremiah - commission

‘Say not, ‘I am a child’: for thou shalt go to all that I send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak’, Jer. 1. 7.

The prophet was not a child but as an excuse claimed to be one! He did not want to go on the mission God had planned for him. God told Jeremiah that He had before his birth, indeed even before his conception, marked him out as one to serve. God had set him apart and ordained he should be a prophet unto the nations, see 1. 3. Jeremiah, however, had other ideas.He did not want to go and said, ‘Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child’, v. 7. God replied to Jeremiah in terms that he would have found difficult to resist. God knew that fear was a big thing in Jeremiah’s statement so He said, ‘Be not afraid’.That fear of opposition from men was accompanied probably by a fear of loneliness and isolation in the service of the Lord, so God said, ‘I am with thee’. The third element of Jeremiah’s refusal was a fear of not knowing quite what to say in certain circumstances.God says,‘I have put my words in thy mouth’. So, all of Jeremiah’s excuses for not serving were dealt with and he was reassured. We know of course that he went on to be an outstanding and effective prophet for God. The Lord is still equipping young people to serve him. What is your excuse? Do you think the Lord can handle your problem? Or is He not up to it? Of course He is. So, don’t be afraid to go forth to fulfil His great commission, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel’,Mark 16. 15. ‘And, lo, I am with you alway’, Matt. 28. 20.You will never regret it.

Found written in the inside cover of an old Bible

This book will keep you from sin – or sin will keep you from this book.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Chairman of the Precious Seed Committee

There are 33 articles in
ISSUE (2006, Volume 61 Issue 1)

1 Corinthians 8 (2)

Behaving ourselves in the house of God

Bethesda Gospel Hall, Colombo, Sri-Lanka

Caring for those who find themselves left to cope on their own

The Challenge of Youth

Christian Websites

Danger in interpreting Scripture

Day by Day Divine Titles

Dwelling in the Secret Place

Editorial

Faith for the Work

Forgive me Lord, for I have lied

The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness

The Glories of Christ

Gospel Work and other Activities

I have learned to be content

In the Year 2026

Incarnation

Is it possible to be a Christian, believe God and still be a thinking person?

The Isle of Patmos

Leaving the Comfort Zone

Living Water

The One Gospel and its Terms

Paul’s view of the Person of Christ

The Precious Seed Web Site

Ruth’s love for Naomi (2)

Scriptures Sevens

Souding out the word of truth

The assemblies Address Book - Sixth Edition

Using the Internet as a Christian

Western Counties and South Wales Evangelisation Trust

William Kelly - The Irish Saint and Scholar

Wise words from the book of Proverbs

This article is not part of a series

There are 50 articles by this author

Effective And Attractive Bible Study

Seven Sights For Sore Eyes

Christian Year Publications

Many Mansions?

A Pastor in New York

Excuses, Excuses

Where do we go from now?

Reports from By-gone Days

The Isle of Patmos

The Challenge of Youth

Concerning Joseph

These Things the Soldiers Did

The Hour is Come

Do We Look for Another?

The assemblies Address Book - Sixth Edition

The Ground

The Race

An Alert Assembly

Obedience to Parents

Evangelical Mission Press, South Africa

The Fleeing Prophet - Chapter 1 (running away from God)

The Polished Shaft

Bethany

Not under Grace But under Law

The Frightened Prophet - Chapter 2 (running back to God)

The Polished Shaft

The True Vine

Its Foundation

The Faithful Prophet - Chapter 3 (running for God)

The Church at Laodicea

The Faithful Prophet - Chapter 4 (running behind God)

A Wonderful Heritage

Missionary Interest - Sending Money

Missionary Interest - Sending Men

Problems, Spiritual and Personal

The Lord Stood with Me

Giving

Introduction vv. 1-3

Partners, vv. 17-25

The Great Throne of Ivory Overlaid with Gold (1 Kings 10. 17-20)

Golden Censers and Vials; Revelation 5. 8; 8. 3-5; 15. 7.

The Gifts of the Spirit

The War in Yugoslavia

Editorial

The Mistery of Godliness

Editorial

Correction

Trip to Israel - March 6 -16, 2012

Tour to Israel, May 2013

The Messianic Psalms - Psalm 16