FROM MY YOUTH UP
The Bible is a book of challenge for youth! It has the word which no man ever spoke, nor ever can speak and which can penetrate into your bone marrow, the manufacturing centre of young blood! When God speaks, the dimensions are many and the Spirit enables us to dig into this multi-dimensional treasure!
So, we shall see now quickly ten people in His book who have used the phrase ‘From My Youth Up’ in multidimensionality over a remarkable period of more than a millennium. We must listen to them as they speak unto us, 2000 years and more after, the keen message of the Most High God for our profit through doctrine, through reproof, through correction, through instruction in righteousness that the young man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
They spoke these words when they were older, of course; some proudly, some humbly and some when they had to bear shame for the Omnipotent, yet men who matter.
We see first Obadiah in 1 Kings 18:12 crying out in sincerity ‘…I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.’ If we compare the situation in which this governor of one of the wicked kings of Israel – and this is precious Providence at work, to put His best to confound the worst! – I daresay that many of us would find ourselves in similar positions today when the government is apparently on religious shoulders. But the Holy Spirit records in v.3 of the same chapter, that he feared the LORD greatly! How important it is to begin at the beginning, i.e., the fear of the LORD! Moses wrote in Deut 17:19 that the king ‘shall read therein (of the law) all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God,…’ The fear of God and the LORD stems from the reading of His Word. The Word now is Jesus and as you read Him, He grows in stature and understanding in you. This is the first dimension of the phrase ‘From my youth’.
In this timeless righteous man’s last assertion of his integrity, in chapter 31:18, Job talks about his charity. (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father,…) We know the famous trio – faith, hope and charity and the greatest is charity, love! We know also of no greater love that a man can have than to lay down his life for his friends. The first one to do that was Jesus Himself. Many others followed down the ages.
We too have an opportunity to do so – in our families, society and community, village, town, district, city, state and nation. Frame I Cor 13 and put it up in a prominent place.
The man after God’s own heart has a double story to tell it with reference to his own life in Psalm 71:5 and 17. He declares ‘….thou art my trust from my youth.’ Experiences in his loneliness where he had nothing else but a harp to face lions and bears, he lifted up his eyes unto the hills from where his LORD shone on his face, and reassured him. God loves to see the unseen elements faith and trust; rather he is fascinated, as I often say. The trustworthy God never ever failed him who trusted in him.
He goes on to say ‘O God, thou has taught me from my youth;…’ The Rabbi God is unparalleled in his expositions. Practical and uplifting in his approach, the youth who dares to sit at His feet, will eventually stand before kings, if not become kings! David added that he continually declares the wondrous works of God. Worship interspersed his speech.
then joins the chorus, remembering ‘….I am afflicted and ready to die, from my youth up’ in 88:15. The psalm however begins with cries of prayer, day and night! Affliction brought Heman to his knees. Troubled, worn, forgotten, in darkness, in the deeps, receiving wrath and in loneliness, Heman cried in prayer to the LORD, ‘…and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.’ The prayer of the youth by reason of affliction brings depth in the understanding of the Highest.
The Unknown Psalmist…
then adds his dimension of the subject phrase, twice with reference to the kingdom he belonged to in 129: 1,2, with which he identifies himself gladly. Continuing on the theme of suffering: ‘Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth,…’ Israel draws similes to one of the worst forms of suffering, plowing on the back: scourging. We know the greatest suffering was endured by the son of man. Out of that suffering raised the greatest song – the Song of the Lamb, as much greater than the Song of Ascents, as the Lamb is greater than Moses. It is the Song from someone who forgives those who are crucifying him. This is the fifth dimension.
In Jeremiah 3: 4, the prophet transmits the longing heart-cry of God to the spiritual adulteress Judah. Husband and father are the two most endearing of ties. Guilty of adultery, Judah receives the mercy call from Jehovah. The response never came but God’s mercy is committed in spite of Judah’s vileness. Judah will be restored in the last days. Here we see the covenant-keeping God coping with his righteousness and demonstrating his love – all because of his word with Abraham! Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever. In the same book, in chapter 22: 21, the call for obedience rejected by Judah is touched upon. Summing up, the answers to the questions of allegiance and obedience are keys to the eternal success of everlasting youthful life.
When called upon by the Lord to carry out an unthinkable unclean act in order to convey a strong message to his brethren, in Ezekiel 4:14, he cries out in protest. Ezekiel declares that his life was unpolluted from his youth up. This one cry represents the holy and chosen vessel which the Lord anointed for the ministry of prophecy and who was asked to follow such discipline that he would have easily qualified for endurance tougher than the highest armies in most nations. He accomplished all twelve of them as his body was gradually subjected to His spirit. The key takeaway: Discipline means doing what you know you should do rather than what you feel like doing.
The Unknown Cattleman
The Old Testament does not end without drawing our attention to the Cleansing Fountain – pointing to the Life in the blood of Lord Jesus Christ. Zechariah 13: 5 refers to Purification Drive – a much superior one when compared to the various Swachh Nation initiatives. There will be a complete elimination of idolatry and false prophecy – the banes of any nation upon this earth – that there will be a terror among those who purport them. What’s in it for us? Simply that we guard ourselves from being preyed upon by these two evils.
The Unknown Ruler
Matt 19: 20; Mark 10: 20; Luke 18: 21 talk about a man who had excellent accomplishment from his youth in terms of his religion. He had eagerness, humility, respect and concern for eternity when he approached the Son of God in the midst of the ‘congregation’, so to say. He went away sad, which proved four facts:
- To praise Christ is not enough;
- To be respectful is not enough;
- To be love by Jesus is not enough;
- To give everything is required!
That’s called Victory through Surrender!
Acts 26: 4. He, the one who dared to say ‘Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ’, is standing before a king. How he lived from his youth was public knowledge -impeccable and complete. Would you for a moment consider how this vessel was being prepared to be an evangelist of the world, even from his youth? His education, influences of the cities he lived in and the teachers he sat at the feet of were all under the watchful eyes of The Master. At the right time, he was given a tap on his shoulder and offered a chance to turn his direction of passion. He did and lo, behold! What a transformation to the world he brought about! It surpasses our understanding how we are being prepared for the role we have to play in the spiritual kingdom. He chose us for that and the secret is sincerity. To be one, united person; pure and clean in intention; earnest at every stage is the preparation which makes ready for the Master Potter’s skillful and loving hands.
Ten people. That’s quite the complete diversity of testimonies which you can keep track of in your journey! Take your lessons from them. And run your race with endurance.
Article contributed by Bro.Isaac Immanuel.