We ought never
to underestimate the importance of youth.
People are most
impressionable in their early days and that which influences them has a lasting
effect, for good or bad.
That’s not to
say, of course, that those who have lived in sin for many years can never be
Manasseh is a
good example. He became King of Judah when he was twelve. For a long time he
lived in open defiance of God encouraging the people in idolatry. He erected
altars to Baal. He worshipped the stars. He filled Jerusalem with innocent blood.
Yet God was
captivity in Babylon to bring him to his senses, but when he cried to God for
forgiveness his sins were pardoned, he was granted repentance, and the last
years of his life were spent for the Lord (2 Chronicles 33:12-16).
Manaseh’s late conversion did not reverse the influence of his sin upon Amon
his son. Amon forsook God and never repented. God cut him off in his
twenty-fifth year (2 Chronicles 33:22,23).
Youth, then, is
the most impressionable age. This being so, early conversion is most
desirable. It means not only a soul saved, but a life saved too. It means
that one’s best days can be dedicated to the glory of God, and that all through
life His grace can be proved.
David shows this
very clearly in Psalm 71. God was his trust from his youth (v5).
Time and time
again he learned by experience that God was faithful. When his enemies
inferred from his sufferings that the Lord had forsaken him he could expect
that they would be confounded (v13). In old age, he was sure that because God
was immutable He would not abandon him (v18).
God was his
teacher from his youth (v17). The Jesuits are credited the proverb: “Give me a
child until he is nine and he will be mine for life”. They hope, by their
discipline and teaching, to have young Catholics to be Catholics all their
But if a child
is taught not merely by godly parents, but by God Himself, he will belong to
the true Christ for good.
God teaches the
young by His Word, not only on the pages of the Bible, but written by His love
on their heart. This keeps from the grievous influence of sin and makes the
young believer happy in holiness (2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:9-12).
God was his
testimony from his youth (v17). “Hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.”
There couldn’t be a better use of life than this. This is something to be
craved in prayer for the