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Remember Now Thy Creator in the Days of Thy Youth

There is a slogan which a certain company has promoted and which accurately reflects the spirit of the age and the lifestyle of the worldly youths today. “Just do it.” It is a simple phrase, yet packed with much meaning. This phrase could rightly be called the creed of the worldly youth because in it is found summarized their beliefs concerning everything necessary for their satisfaction and happiness in this life. This is the creed of the moral relativist. This is the creed of the person who says that there is no such thing as truth. Truth is what you want it to be, whatever happens to fit into your pattern of thought. No one has a monopoly on what is right and wrong. The logical conclusion of this kind of thinking is that every man does that which is right in his own eyes.

The Reformed young person immediately recognizes this relativist creed as opposed to God’s Word. There is truth. God is truth and He reveals Himself through Christ in Scriptures as the One Truth. No man can set up his own system of truth. All men will one day stand before the Judge to answer for everything they did contrary to His will. God will not allow any disobedience to go unpunished. We read in Answer 10 of the Heidelberg Catechism that God “is terribly displeased with our original as well as actual sins; and will punish them in his just judgment temporally and eternally, as he hath declared, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’” We confess this to be truth and oppose the creed of the world, “Just do it.”

Yet oppose this worldly creed as we might, we find that we still have that old man of sin within us which delights in that creed. Especially as young people, it can be difficult submitting to God’s will in all things and obeying His law. It is appealing to set up our own system of truth, our own set of standards. Two areas in which Reformed young people are especially tempted to follow the “just do it” creed of the world are with regards to the proper use of their time and money. It is not uncommon to hear young people and parents in our churches espousing worldly wisdom when it comes to the proper management of the time and money of the young people of the church. “I am young yet, let me have fun now, because when I get older the good times will come to an end,” says the young man. “Don’t worry about it,” says the parent, ”he’ll grow up soon enough, let him have his fun now.” “Youth is the time to be enjoyed without cares, responsibility will come in its own time.” This is properly called worldly wisdom. It is not rooted in God’s Word. God’s Word has much to say about the proper attitude covenant youth ought to have towards things spiritual and the proper use of time and money. God’s Word opposes completely the notion that we ourselves determine what is good for us concerning how we use what God has given us. In that Word we find principles set forth regarding the proper use of what God has given to us.

Ecclesiastes 11: 9 begins, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth.” The preacher addresses the young man and continues, “and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” The preacher warns, live as you please, do as you want, but remember that God weighs your every action. The young man is not excused for walking in his own selfish ways because he is but a youth. The young man may not say before God, “but I was young, I cannot be held accountable for that.” David cried in Psalm 25:7, “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions.” The sins that David had committed in his youthful days anguished him when he became older and more aware of his sinful nature.

In Ecclesiastes 11:10 the young man is admonished to “remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh.” Matthew Henry describes this “sorrow” as anger. He comments, “Young people are apt to be impatient of check and control, to vex and fret at anything that is humbling and mortifying to them, and their proud hearts rise against everything that crosses and contradicts them.” What it means to “put away evil from thy flesh” we easily understand. In other words, the young person is admonished not to live in the “ways of thine heart” or by the “sight of thine eyes”, but according to the ways of the Creator (chapter 12:1).

”Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,” reads the beginning of the next chapter. This is positively how covenant youth are to walk. “Remember now thy Creator” when it comes to how you spend the time God has given you. “Remember” when it comes to how you spend the money God has given you. We note what the preacher does not say also. He doesn’t say, “Wait until you grow up, and then remember.” Nor does he say, “There will be time enough to put away the evil of your flesh when you get older.” Remember now, when you are teenager, thy Creator.

God’s Word has recorded for us the lives of three of His faithful servants: Samuel, David, and Daniel. All three of these men, from their youngest days remembered their Creator. We begin with Samuel. In I Samuel 2:18 it is written that “Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.” This service of Samuel is even more striking when we consider that at this time Hophni and Phinehas (Eli’s sons) were profaning the true worship of God. Samuel was surrounded by disobedience, yet he did not use this as an occasion to sin. One cannot read the history of Samuel and not be struck by the amazing devotion of his mother, Hannah. Hannah, fulfilling a vow she had made, “lent” Samuel to the Lord as long as he lived. We can be assured that every bit of time and every piece of instruction that Samuel received from his mother was devoted to preparing him for His lifelong service to God.

David also is a remarkable example of a young man who remembered his Creator in His youth. When reviewing the history of David and Goliath we recall that when David told Saul that he would go fight Goliath, Saul replied, “Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth” (I Sam. 17:33). David’s reply to Saul indicates how God had used his younger days as a time of preparation for the future. We read, “Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock; And I went after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God” (I Sam. 17:34-37). God used the lowly job of shepherding his father’s sheep to prepare him for the great task of leading God’s people.

Finally, Daniel provides for us another example of a young man who remembered God in the days of his youth. Shortly after he had been taken into captivity it is recorded of him that he “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat” (Daniel 1:8). Even as a very young man, and away from the authority of his parents, Daniel purposed in his heart that he would serve God. Before Daniel was placed a very great temptation to eat the king’s portion, yet Daniel submitted to the will of God, seemingly to his own hurt. From the exploits of Daniel and his three friends in their adult years we see how God used the instruction and preparation in their youth.

From the lives of these three men we are reminded of the great blessings of God upon those who use their youth as a time of preparation for the service of God. Samuel, David, and Daniel all were used by God in special ways during very important times during the history of the church. None of them would have been prepared had they lived their younger days in the service of themselves. None of them would have been ready had they not lived the confession, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” By God’s grace they did confess this and so do Godly young people today.