Saturday, November 24, 2012
Have you ever observed an average modern day teenager? What are your conclusions? What is your first impression? Some might say 'cool' or 'rowdy' and some might say 'busy', and depending on who is observing the judgment can vary significantly. But what would a God fearing teenager, public or home educated, discern if he were to do the observing? The conclusion is generally the same accurate one: Lost. Today's teens are lost because they have not been taught discipline, they do not have the desire to do what is right. Doing what is right is never easy, especially when it involves personal sacrifice; which it generally does. As much as the parents want their teens to do what is right and make wise choices, these teens have been thrust into and saturated by a sinful feel-good culture, where they are more inclined to feel good than to do what is right. These results are only inevitable when the slogan 'Have it your way' is written on everything we get from Burger King. What kind of a generation would we have if it were willing to choose discipline? What if the young men in our society actually sacrificed their comfort and did what is right? It requires a simple but not easy choice. Several thousand years ago there was a young man who had one great desire in his heart, to do what is right. As a youth and eventually a man, he loved writing about his passions and desires for the Lord, much like a person would journal. One of his greatest entries can be found in Psalm 1:1-3, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law me meditates day and night, and he will be like a tree planted firmly by the water..." This young man's name was David (Pronounced Da-veed in Hebrew) son of Jesse. One thing he was perfectly familiar with was God's Law, or his Torah (Hebrew for 'teaching and instruction'), and as he mentioned in the Psalm, he also knew by education and experience that a man walks in strict faithfulness to God's Torah would be as a 'tree planted firmly by the water', never to be uprooted. David was a strong keeper of Torah, this was evident not only by his love for God but because he knew and lived the blessings of the Lord that came to those who kept God's Torah, as it is written, "If you keep my decrees and laws and are careful to obey my commands, I will send rain in its season..." (Lev. 26) The whole chapter of 26 is filled with just a glimpse of the blessings that come to those who keep Torah. All throughout the Old Testament God implores his people to keep his Torah that life may go well with them (Jo. 1:8), and one major fact displayed in Israel's history is that Torah is an example of God's grace given to man. Many times has Israel been placed into bondage by other kingdoms, such as Egypt and Babylon, due to lack of faith and obedience to God and his Torah. David understood from both history and experience that strict attention had to be given to to keeping in line with the way of life God had wrote out in Torah. One could not just 'keep' Torah as some sort of tradition without their heart being sincere and sensitive to the strong spiritual forces behind Torah. The Lord commanded, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength" (Deut. 6:5 ). Torah was and is a heart matter, if a man is to keep Torah he must love God and his Law with all his heart, just as David said in Ps.1 "...but his delight is in the Law (Torah) of the Lord..." Man's sinful desire resents anything holy, thus he must make a constant effort to sacrifice his flesh, sinful desires, to do what God has commanded. Only the valiant have the will and courage to overcome such obstacles. In 1st Sam. 17 David confronted a giant named Goliath, a colossus over 9 feet tall. David did not have to do what he did, he didn't have to challenge Goliath. David very well could have stayed in the ranks of the Israeli army wetting his pants from fear like everyone else. But out of his reverence for the Lord he was willing to destroy the Philistine blasphemer. Great courage in the face of danger. This is the valor that this generation is called for, the courage to keep and uphold God's Torah even in the face of danger, to remember the faith in which we invest and the Word of God we defend. As is written in 2 Ch. 16:9 "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are committed to him..." The Lord is constantly searching all over the earth for those who will do his will and when he finds a heart that is committed to him he strengthens that heart to be valiant. What do you think? Can we raise this generation up to love God so much that they would valiantly defend not only God's name but their faith and God's Torah in both simple and great challenges of everyday life? Or are we just another people of the church, passing through, filling the pues, here one day and gone the next, just hoping that sometime God will randomly step in and make something happen? Or can we count this generation among the valiant?