Youthful Servants in Bible Times
THE Bible tells of many fine young people who took their service to God seriously and who were richly blessed for doing so. Whether we are young or old and gray, these fine Biblical examples can provide great encouragement.
Joseph was only 17 years old when he was sold into slavery down in Egypt. There, far from his family and out of sight of those who knew him, Joseph proved his integrity. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, he said: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” Even in front of mighty Pharaoh, the most powerful king of his day, Joseph seized the opportunity to give credit to God for the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams. He was richly blessed. God used him to save both the Egyptians and his family from death by famine and to bring his father, Jacob, and his household down into Egypt.—Genesis 37:2; 39:7-9; 41:15, 16, 32.
Moses and Others Faithful in Youth
Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses as her own child, but Moses’ mother and father were able to teach him about the true God. The Bible says that when grown up, Moses “refused to be called the son of the daughter of Pharaoh, choosing to be ill-treated with the people of God rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin.” God used Moses to bring his people out of Egypt, to receive the Law at Sinai, and to write a major part of the Bible. Whatever your age, are you developing a determination to serve God as Moses did?—Hebrews 11:23-29; Exodus 2:1-10.
The Scriptures tell us of “little ones” who listened along with the rest of the nation when God’s Law was read to Israel. (Deuteronomy 31:10-13) “All intelligent enough to listen” stood “from daybreak till midday” to hear the Law in the days of Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 8:1-8) Even if the little ones did not understand everything, they could appreciate that they were to love, worship, and obey Jehovah God. Whatever your age, have you listened at conventions and assemblies where God’s Word was discussed? Have you learned the importance of obeying him, as those young Israelites did?
David, Josiah, and Jeremiah
God chose David, the youngest of eight brothers, for special service and said of him: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man agreeable to my heart, who will do all the things I desire.” God chose him to be “a shepherd” of his people, and David performed that service, while proving his love for Jehovah over many years. He wrote more than 70 of the Psalms and became an ancestor of Jesus Christ. Whether young or old, do you appreciate God’s ways, and do you do the things he desires, as David did?—Acts 13:22; Psalm 78:70, 71; 1 Samuel 16:10, 11; Luke 3:23, 31.
Josiah became king when he was only eight years old. When about 15, “while he was still a boy, he started to search for the God of David his forefather.” Before he was 20, Josiah began a campaign against false worship. Later, he had the temple repaired, and he restored pure worship in the land. We read: “All his days they did not turn aside from following Jehovah the God of their forefathers.” All of us cannot be a king like Josiah, but we can serve God and stand firm against false worship, no matter what our age.—2 Chronicles 34:3, 8, 33.
The almighty God told Jeremiah: “Before I was forming you in the belly I knew you, and before you proceeded to come forth from the womb I sanctified you. Prophet to the nations I made you.” Jeremiah protested that he was too young to be a prophet: “Alas, O Sovereign Lord Jehovah! Here I actually do not know how to speak, for I am but a boy.” Jehovah responded: “Do not say, ‘I am but a boy.’ But to all those to whom I shall send you, you should go; and everything that I shall command you, you should speak.” For more than 40 years Jeremiah did just that, and even when he wanted to give up, he could not stop. God’s word “proved to be like a burning fire shut up in [his] bones.” He just had to speak! Whatever your age, are you developing the kind of faith that Jeremiah had, moving ahead in God’s service the way he did?—Jeremiah 1:4-8; 20:9.
Daniel, Jesus, and Timothy
Have you not heard of Daniel? He may have been well under 20 when he was taken along with other “children” as captives to the court of mighty Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Despite Daniel’s youth, he was determined to obey God. Daniel and his companions refused to pollute themselves with foods that might have violated God’s Law or been defiled by pagan rituals. For more than 80 years, Daniel never wavered, maintaining his integrity to the point of refusing to stop praying to God, even though this would result in his being thrown to the lions. Do you consider your service to God and your prayers to be that serious? You should.—Daniel 1:3, 4, 8; 6:10, 16, 22.
At the age of 12, Jesus was found sitting in the midst of the religious teachers at the temple in Jerusalem, “listening to them and questioning them. But all those listening to [young Jesus] were in constant amazement at his understanding and his answers.” Would a Scriptural discussion by older men at the temple have interested you as it did Jesus? Would others have been amazed by your understanding and your answers? Today, many young Witnesses who study, listen carefully, and participate in Christian meetings have a Scriptural knowledge that surprises older ones.—Luke 2:42, 46, 47.
Are you like Timothy, who as a child was taught “the holy writings”? When he was a young man, Timothy “was well reported on by the brothers” in at least two congregations. The apostle Paul chose Timothy to travel with him, not to be a mere porter, but to help Paul in teaching others. Would you be chosen for such privileges? Is your activity “well reported on,” not just in your own congregation but also in others?—2 Timothy 3:15; Acts 16:1-4.
What Kind of Future Do You Want?
Is it possible for young people today to be as faithful as were Joseph, Moses, David, and others? Yes, it is. True, many youths are interested only in having a good time. But others are using their youth wisely, getting to know God and his will for them. These fulfill the Bible prophecy: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. . . . You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.”—Psalm 110:3.
Such fine young people show wisdom beyond their years, since God can help them to make a success of their present life as well as give them a glorious future in the coming new world. (1 Timothy 4:8) How, though, can a modern youth develop a faith like those youngsters mentioned in the Bible? If you would like to know, we invite you to read the article “Happy Youths in Jehovah’s Service,” starting on page 10 of this magazine.
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Young Moses was not seduced by the wealth of Egypt
Youthful David was agreeable to Jehovah’s heart
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Although Jeremiah felt he was “but a boy,” he courageously preached an unpopular message
At 12 years of age, Jesus amazed his elders with his understanding of God’s Word
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In Israel even the little ones listened when God’s Law was read. Do you?