FOR RICHER OR POORER
Two texts come to mind right now. There’s Exodus 23:2 that insists we are not to “follow the crowd in doing wrong” and then there’s Deuteronomy 8:10-20 where God warns a blessed people against forgetting (8:11-14), “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God...Otherwise when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down...then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God.”
It’s hateful the way we can be seduced into the lynch-mob mentality and sometimes even justify it with verses from the Bible. And it’s both hateful and sad to see how we both create and are shaped by an evil environment so that we take evil for good.
But blessing has its awful dangers too, doesn’t it? There’s something about a “spoiled” kid that really irritates us.
[A “spoiled” adult is only a little harder to recognize because we’re shrewder and disguise it with words and acting. Though you might have noticed how some gifted Bible student swaggered or was irritated by someone who won’t agree with him just because he says it’s so. You might have had the misfortune of knowing some popular preacher who was envious if one of his colleagues was richly praised for a job well done.]
It’s often the case that the spoiled kid isn’t sufficiently aware that he’s being obnoxious so he does no acting and you don’t need to be Columbo to spot him. But his lack of hypocrisy isn’t enough to keep him or her from getting under our skin. A spoiled brat was terrorizing the people in a doctor’s waiting room and his overly indulgent mother remarked to one victim of his abuse. “I don’t know what to make of him.” The man with the hurting shin murmured, “How about a nice rug?”
That’s part of the reason that it’s marvelous to see an unspoiled child. A kid who loves life and who even at an early age has learned to live happily but not at he expense of those around him, not on the misery of others. And it’s even more striking and inspiring to see an unspoiled child grow into an unspoiled adult. I’ve come across a number of those down the years. I don’t want to come across as “too sweet to be wholesome” but I have come across such people and if there is one there can be a hundred and if there is a hundred there can be thousands and if there are thousands there can be millions and no doubt are. God is at work in the world; at work in the lives of multiplied millions who don’t as yet know the Lord Jesus, people who haven’t heard the gospel of God in Jesus Christ! We need to acknowledge loveliness when we see it, wherever we see, in whomever we see it—it’s the work of God!
For all his flaws—and there were many, some of them raw and crass—Scotland’s favorite poet remains Robert Burns. Had God not been at work in his life [as in ours] there would have been nothing of a wholesome nature in him [or us]. It’s said of him that when he became famous and courted by the lords and ladies and the cream of society that he never forgot his roots. In public, in conversation with the elite, he would immediately and sometimes abruptly end the conversation to run across the road to laugh and blather on for a long time with an old friend. Say “bah humbug” if you will but I know personally the deep pleasure of being warmly greeted and treated by those who rose in the world. If you’ve had the good fortune of such an experience, to be received as a friend by someone way out of your social position you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
In R.D. Blackmore’s book Lorna Doone Lorna was stolen away from her aristocratic family as a little girl and was raised by a community of robbers and brigands whose character matched their status. But John Ridd met her unexpectedly and finally fell in love with her and she with him. Nothing about her wicked company and environment seemed to have affected her and her love for the plain workingman was open and sincere. Later she was rescued and taken off to London, back into the highfalutin circles of the rich and powerful, away from John. The crass evil of the Doone society couldn’t destroy the fineness of her character but would her position and the power she now wielded change her?
It’s a serious question in real life because haven’t we known people who lived gloriously through tough times only to take a moral nose-dive when blessing and prosperity came their way? That’s what troubled the lonely John Ridd who finally made a trip to London, somehow managed to make his way into Lorna’s company, guarded and fawned over as she was. Had she changed? Not a bit of her! She was still the lovely girl that John Ridd had come to know and love; she was still the girl with rich character and tender loyalty. Unspoiled by harsh and immoral surroundings and unspoiled by prosperity, acclaim and luxury she could never have dreamed of earlier.
How the world needs such people. How individuals need such people. And how desperately I need such people! And, more, how desperately we need to be that kind of person.
But whether you or I are one of them and even if were true that there was no other, believers know One! As a child he grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men and he grew into a young man like no other. Believers call him the King of Kings, the Savior of humanity, the Conqueror of Sin and Death—and many other astonishing things.
His mother and his adopted father called him Jesus and his followers sing such things as:
Jesus thy name I love
All other names above
Jesus my Lord
O thou art all to me
Nothing to please I see
Nothing apart from thee
Jesus, my Lord!
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.
"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"
Let No One Despise Your Youth (4:12) INTRODUCTION 1. Who is useful to the Master when it comes to faithful service...? a. Is it only the elderly, those with the most experience? b. Do not the young have an important role to fulfill? 2. We can easily become guilty of looking down upon the young... a. Perhaps by not taking their obedience to the gospel seriously b. Perhaps by expecting little of them in regards to service c. Perhaps by even preventing them from service because of their age 3. In 1Ti 4:12, Paul was writing to the young evangelist Timothy... a. In which he tells him, "Let no one despise your youth..." b. Even then there was the danger of some looking down upon those who were younger 4. In this lesson, I wish to... a. Illustrate how God often used young people to carry out His purposes b. Point out the kind of young people God can use c. Remind those of us who are older of our responsibility to the young [While God often used the elderly (cf. Moses, Joshua) to fulfill His purpose, there are many examples of God using the young as well..] I. GOD'S USE OF YOUNG PEOPLE A. TO SAVE ISRAEL IN TIME OF FAMINE... 1. It was through Joseph that God provided Israel a means to survive a famine 2. He was seventeen when sold as a slave to Potiphar - cf. Gen 37:2 B. TO DELIVER ISRAEL FROM THE PHILISTINES... 1. As when God used David to defeat Goliath 2. Even though he was "but a youth", according to King Saul - 1Sa 17:33 C. TO LEAD ISRAEL TO ITS GREATEST HEIGHTS... 1. God had David appoint Solomon to succeed him 2. Who when he became king, thought of himself as but "a little child" - 1Ki 3:7 D. TO RESTORE JUDAH TO THE TRUE WORSHIP OF GOD... 1. When eight, Josiah became king, and was a good one - 2Ch 34: 1-2 2. When sixteen, he sought to serve God - 2Ch 34:3 3. When twenty, he instituted religious reforms throughout Judah - 2Ch 34:3 4. When twenty-six, he restored the temple, and the Passover - 2Ch 34:8; 35:18-19 E. TO PROPHESY TO THE NATIONS... 1. Speaking of Jeremiah, who tried to escape his prophetic call - Jer 1:4-6 2. But God told him to not say, "I am a youth", that He would be with him - Jer 1:7-8 F. TO REVEAL THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD OVER THE NATIONS... 1. This God did through Daniel, likely 12 to 15 when taken into captivity - Dan 1:3-5 2. Making him 15 to 18 when starting as Nebuchadnezzar's counselor - Dan 1:18-20 G. TO BRING THE SAVIOR INTO THE WORLD... 1. Which He did through Mary 2. Who was but a young virgin - Lk 1:26-33 H. TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL TO THE LOST... 1. Referring to Timothy, selected by Paul to join him on his journeys - Ac 16:1-3 2. Who must have been quite young, for it was about fourteen years later that Paul tells him to let no one despise his youth! - 1Ti 4:12 [It should be evident that God has often used young people to accomplish great things! I believe He can do much through young people today; but what kind of young people can He use?] II. THE KIND OF YOUNG PEOPLE GOD CAN USE A. THOSE WILLING TO FLEE IMMORALITY... 1. Like Joseph did, when it would have been so easy for him to acquiesce - Gen 39:7-12 2. As Timothy was instructed - 2Ti 2:22 -- When anyone is willing to keep their bodies pure, they can be a temple in which the Holy Spirit can abide and do much good - cf. 1Co 6:18-20 B. THOSE WILLING TO TRUST IN GOD... 1. Like David did when fighting Goliath - cf. 1Sa 17:37,45-47 2. Who later proclaimed the value of trusting in God - 2Sa 22:31 C. THOSE WHO HAVE THE PROPER PRIORITIES... 1. Like Solomon, who realized the value of wisdom - 1Ki 3:5-9 2. And later exhorted his son to seek after wisdom - Pr 3:1-6 -- If we are willing to seek the kingdom of God first, our Father will provide - Mt 6:33 D. THOSE WILLING TO SEEK THE LORD WITH HUMILITY... 1. As did Josiah, even when he was eight years old - 2Ch 34:3 2. Who later was told that he was blessed because of this - 2 Chr 34:26-28 E. THOSE WILLING TO BOLDLY DO GOD'S WILL... 1. As did Jeremiah, even though he had to be reassured at first - cf. Jer 1:6-8 2. But then began his ministry by preaching at the gate of the temple - Jer 7:1-7 F. THOSE WILLING TO BE TRUE TO THEIR CONVICTIONS... 1. As was Daniel, who refused to compromise his beliefs - Dan 1:8 2. But as a result found favor in the eyes of others - Dan 1:9 G. THOSE WILLING TO HUMBLY SUBMIT TO GOD'S WILL... 1. As did Mary - Lk 1:38 2. Who accepted the premise that with God nothing is impossible! - Lk 1:34-37 H. THOSE WILLING TO BE AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS... 1. As Paul instructed Timothy - 1Ti 4:12-16 2. An example in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity -- For then can one save not only themselves, but others as well! - 1Ti 4:16 [Certainly young people who are willing to emulate the examples of Joseph, David, etc., can be of great service today! But we who are older can encourage them when we remember...] III. OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE YOUNG A. RECEIVE THEM... 1. As Jesus emphasized when young children were brought to him - Mt 18:5; 19:14 2. For in receiving them in Christ's name, we receive Christ Himself! B. DON'T PLACE STUMBLING BLOCKS IN THEIR WAY... 1. We should be very careful in this regard - Mt 18:6-7 2. The Father is very concerned about their spiritual well-being - Mt 18:10,14 C. ENCOURAGE THEM... 1. As Paul instructed the church at Corinth to do for Timothy - 1Co 16:10 2. When young people are involved in the work of the Lord, the last thing they need is for the people of God to discourage them! D. DESPISE THEM NOT... 1. As Paul admonished the church regarding young Timothy - 1Co 16:11 2. As Paul admonished Timothy himself in our text - 1Ti 4:12 CONCLUSION 1. Yes, the young can and should be very active in doing the work of the Lord! a. We certainly have many examples of God using the young b. And we have the example of Jesus Himself, at age twelve - cf. Lk 2:41-49 2. We who are older should always be careful to encourage the desire of the young to serve, and let no one despise their youth! In closing, we might all ask ourselves: "Are we about our Father's business?" Whether young or old, we should be!
The World English Bible
Gen 4:1 The man knew Eve his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Cain, and said, "I have gotten a man with Yahweh's help."
Gen 4:2 Again she gave birth, to Cain's brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Gen 4:3 As time passed, it happened that Cain brought an offering to Yahweh from the fruit of the ground.
Gen 4:4 Abel also brought some of the firstborn of his flock and of its fat. Yahweh respected Abel and his offering,
Gen 4:5 but he didn't respect Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry, and the expression on his face fell.
Gen 4:6 Yahweh said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen?
Gen 4:7 If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you don't do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it."
Gen 4:8 Cain said to Abel, his brother, "Let's go into the field." It happened when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him.
Gen 4:9 Yahweh said to Cain, "Where is Abel, your brother?" He said, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?"
Gen 4:10 Yahweh said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries to me from the ground.
Gen 4:11 Now you are cursed because of the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
Gen 4:12 From now on, when you till the ground, it won't yield its strength to you. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth."
Gen 4:13 Cain said to Yahweh, "My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Gen 4:14 Behold, you have driven me out this day from the surface of the ground. I will be hidden from your face, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. It will happen that whoever finds me will kill me."
Gen 4:15 Yahweh said to him, "Therefore whoever slays Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold." Yahweh appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should strike him.
Gen 4:16 Cain went out from Yahweh's presence, and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Gen 4:17 Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
Gen 4:18 To Enoch was born Irad. Irad became the father of Mehujael. Mehujael became the father of Methushael. Methushael became the father of Lamech.
Gen 4:19 Lamech took two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
Gen 4:20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.
Gen 4:21 His brother's name was Jubal, who was the father of all who handle the harp and pipe.
Gen 4:22 Zillah also gave birth to Tubal Cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron. Tubal Cain's sister was Naamah.
Gen 4:23 Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, hear my voice. You wives of Lamech, listen to my speech, for I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for bruising me.
Gen 4:24 If Cain will be avenged seven times, truly Lamech seventy-seven times."
Gen 4:25 Adam knew his wife again. She gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, "for God has appointed me another child instead of Abel, for Cain killed him."
Gen 4:26 There was also born a son to Seth, and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on Yahweh's name.
Mat 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,
Mat 2:2 "Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him."
Mat 2:3 When Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Mat 2:4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born.
Mat 2:5 They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written through the prophet,
Mat 2:6 'You Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come forth a governor, who shall shepherd my people, Israel.' "
Mat 2:7 Then Herod secretly called the wise men, and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared.
Mat 2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, "Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him."
Mat 2:9 They, having heard the king, went their way; and behold, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was.
Mat 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
Mat 2:11 They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Mat 2:12 Being warned in a dream that they shouldn't return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way.
Mat 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."
Mat 2:14 He arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt,
Mat 2:15 and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called my son."
Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent out, and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had learned from the wise men.
Mat 2:17 Then that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,
Mat 2:18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; she wouldn't be comforted, because they are no more."
Mat 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying,
Mat 2:20 "Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the young child's life are dead."
Mat 2:21 He arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
Mat 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in the place of his father, Herod, he was afraid to go there. Being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee,
Mat 2:23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."