Is the Young Man Safe?
by David Lemmons
When we read 2 Samuel 18 we read the question of this title twice, specifically addressed with regard to the SAFETY of ABSALOM (vv., 29, 32). David is the one doing the inquiring in this context. He had given strict orders to his commanding generals that they were to “deal gently for my sake with the young man” (v. 5). David’s woes have been compounded by the rebellion of this son, yet he loves him dearly and evidently feels partly responsible for the sad state of affairs that now exist between the two of them. David is finding out, day by day, about the burden of sin’s consequences. He had committed terrible sins and was reaping the whirlwind, but he desperately wanted his son spared from death. Thus, the major news that David sought when two messengers came back from the fighting lines was: IS THE YOUNG MAN SAFE?
As with many great questions asked in the Bible, this question also is an interesting one to apply to others besides that single one mentioned in the text. What of young men today? What about our young people today? How is it with them? Are they safe? Time spent contemplating these questions surely is time well spent, both for the young and for those who love them.
Temptations of Satan are strong in every phase of life on this planet. Yet, who would argue with the fact that life as a young person has its particular and powerful threats to true safety? In this instance we are not so interested in physical safety (as David was about his son Absalom), but rather safety in the long run. Solomon talks about the LONG HOME or the eternal home in Ecclesiastes 12:5. For Bible-believing and wise people any thought of SAFETY for young people would involve the spiritual aspect of their lives.
Satan is so successful in implanting into the minds of young people the idea that they have plenty of time to settle down SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE. The concept used to be expressed: “Go ahead and sow a few wild oats; then pray for a crop failure.”
This concept is one that will endanger the young people–KEEP THEM FROM SAFETY–and one that will give Satan great glee as they accept it in great numbers. The Apostle Paul teaches us plainly that this concept is dangerous and can only be accepted by those who are DECEIVED. We will reap what we sow–“Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal 6:7-8).
So then, what shall those of us who are older do to help our young people be SAFE and to help them avoid the common idea that there are yet many years ahead for settling down and living a life which involves preparation for eternity? Let me propose a list of items that should be useful in seeking that worthy goal.
1. Let us show interest in their lives and the things that are important to them. You might be surprised just how much such interest from an older member of the Lord’s church might encourage them to do what is right. They may begin to think of you as someone to whom they might turn for a different perspective from that which they receive daily from their peers.
2. Let us set the right example before them. So many poor examples are out there from among those who are older that it is no wonder they often follow those poor examples. We have a great responsibility as older Christians properly to model the Christian life before those younger in the faith. Let us say to them as Paul said to the Corinthian saints: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1).
3. Let us speak freely and often to them of the heavenly reward toward which we are headed. As Christians grow older we tend to think more about heaven. We love to sing the songs about the eternal reward. We love to read the passages which attempt to picture heaven for us. The world is telling our young people that they must JUST DO IT. Grab all the gusto of this life. The emphasis they hear from others is get all the pleasure there is in life. That emphasis is upon THIS LIFE and totally absent is any mention of life after death. What if we can help the young man or young lady see the beauty of heaven? Will that not make a strong contribution toward securing the SAFETY of the young man or woman?
Yes, this short list is only a starter and I know that YOU can continue it for a few more pages without any great effort. Is it not a worthy effort to contemplate the question: IS THE YOUNG MAN SAFE? Whenever we begin to do more of this kind of thinking, as those who are older, then we will see a great impact on young lives! Of that I am extremely confident.