By Lewis Willis
Our young people at Brown Street are among the best you can find anywhere! They especially demonstrated that last week as they participated in the Summer Bible Study. They attended and learned the truth that was taught. I certainly appreciate them, and I know the congregation does also. The future is brighter because of the devotion and dedication of these young people. Because we love and respect them so much, I thought it might be timely to consider some specific instructions for young people found in the writings of Solomon. He identified some particular areas of concern, to which he called the attention of the young. Will our youth consider these matters?
Follow the instruction given by your parents. Solomon wrote these words: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Prov. 1:8); “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (6:20); “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke” (13:1). Parents are charged by God to bring up their children in the instruction and correction outlined by the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Godly parents seek to do just that, but it is of no avail if young people ignore or reject that instruction. Wise children pay attention to that teaching, and protect them-selves from foolish mistakes.
Carefully choose your companions. Solomon gives this direction concerning the way of the wicked: “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path” (1:15). He also cautions: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (1:10). The greatest danger that be-sets the young and innocent is that of evil companionship. The Apostle Paul said these companionships corrupt good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). The only safe course is the development of the power to say “No” to those who ask you to walk with them in their wickedness. Understand, however, that some will think you “strange” and speak evil of you (1 Pet. 4:4).
Keep yourself morally pure. Solomon speaks of “the lips of a strange woman” (5:3), in talking about sexual impurity. The same could be said for the lips of “strange men.” He said the words tempting you to fornicate with such people sound sweet and good, but the end is bitterness, regret and death. He instructed that you wait for marriage to satisfy your sexual urges, and that you keep the marriage vows sacred (5:3-20). Young people, no right thinking person wants a marriage partner who has been handled by all corners.
Don’t be lazy. Solomon said, “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame” (10:5). To sleep when it is time for the harvest will leave you empty, and dependent upon others. God has always required his people to work (Eph. 4:28). And, those who are too lazy to work, “neither should he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).
Stay out of foolishness. Solomon said, “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him” (17:25). He then added, “A foolish son is the calamity of his father …” (19:13). How many young people have been ruined by participation in foolishness. By “foolishness” I mean that which God regards as foolish, wasteful, and wicked. We are talking about involvement in the ways and things of the world. Such things as drinking, drugs, smok ing, dirty movies, pornography, dancing, immodest dress like mini skirts and shorts, etc., are acts of foolishness. Solomon said such will grieve your father, be bitterness to your mother and cause your life to be a calamity. It is not necessary to prove this. There are too many examples of the fatal fruits of foolishness in too many lives. Must you make their mistakes?
Protect your heart. Solomon said, “Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way” (23:19). In another place he said that a person becomes what he thinks in his heart (23:7). Jesus spoke on this wise, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man …” (Matt. 15:18-20). In our computerized world we use the expression “garbage in, garbage out.” That’s what Solomon and the Lord are saying. You dwell on that which is wicked and corrupt, and you will begin to act in that way. You are wise, therefore, if you guard your heart.
Fear God. Solomon said, “My son, fear thou the Lord” (24:21). He later wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13). We must not only respect God, we must fear falling into his hands of wrath. It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the Lord (Heb. 10:31) because God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). Our duty is to fill our hearts with reverence for and terror of, God, so much so that we will keep his commandments. Remember, we will answer before God for our actions good or bad. Solomon said, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccl. 12:14).
Obey God. In the passages cited in the previous point, instruction is given to obey the commandments of the Lord. This is the course of wisdom. Solomon said, “Who so keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father” (28:7). Jesus taught men to do the will of the Father (Matt. 7:21). He asked why men would call him Lord, and not do the things he said (Luke 6:46). The Hebrew writer tells us that Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to those who will obey him (Heb. 5:8-9). It is wise to do like the Bible says.
Finally, the advantage of being young is stated: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Eccl. 12:1). The Creator is God. Young people are exhorted to remember God in the days of their youth. Why? Because one of these days you will be old, and you will die. You do not want age and death to come without a proper relationship with the Lord. Meanwhile, the things God requires of you, as outlined in this brief article, will assure your happiness both in youth and in age.
Solomon gave this promise to the young: “Hear, 0 my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many” (4:10). Paul said when we do right it will “be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:4). Young people, be wise and obey God!
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 19, p. 13-14
October 3, 1996