Y is for Youth


“And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28

In lieu of this passage, I find an attitude within the church of Jesus Christ to be very problematic and personally upsetting.  It spawns from the relatively obscure story of Rehoboam, the son and heir of Solomon’s Empire, when he rejected the advice of the elders and instead listened to his young friends.  There is a distrust or sense of not taking young people seriously that I find disturbing, given how many examples there are in the Bible of young people doing the work of God or speaking the words of God.

If you start at the beginning and work your way through it, you’ll discover that Enoch was relatively young when he was taken (365 is to 969 what 30 is to 80).  Joseph was 30 when he became the second in command of all of Egypt (Remember he was as young as 17 when he became overseer of Potiphar’s entire house).  Samuel was only a boy when the Lord first spoke to him concerning Eli’s sons.  Joash, one of Judah’s godly kings took the throne at age 7.  Hezekiah was 25; Josiah was 8 and at 26, he conducted the first renovation of the temple in years and then held the greatest Passover feast since the days of the judges.  2 Kings 23:25 says that there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with his whole heart.  Uzziah, the good king of Judah that Isaiah mourned before his famous vision of the temple, was 16 when he became king and he also did what was right in the sight of God.  Esther is described as “young”.  Jesus was twelve when He wowed the teachers of the law in the temple after the Feast of the Passover in Luke 2:41-50.  Of the 12 disciples, only Peter was old enough to be required to pay the temple tax in Matt 17:24-27, which implies that they were younger than 20 (Exodus 30:13)

Yet we forget it was the older generation that God killed off in the Wilderness, because they did not believe Him.  Countless kings apostatized in their old age, where when they were young they followed God but somewhere along the line they rejected Him.

Somehow, we’ve equated age with maturity level or ability to hear from God.  While it can be an indicator, I think it behooves us to take even the youngest of speakers seriously.  It would be a shame if we miss out on what God wants to teach us because we can’t see past the fact that His messenger was wet behind the ears.  What kind of mess would we have if people hadn’t followed Samuel after God told him about the death of Eli’s wicked sons?  Or if everyone wrote off Peter when he stood up to address the crowd at Pentecost?  So then, why do we write off anyone who is a third of our age as someone who can’t speak into our lives, who has nothing to offer us in our pursuit of God?

“Let no one despise your youth but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Tim 4:12

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