Walking Before God From Childhood

1 Samuel 12:1-4

Andy Robison

Samuel, the stellar prophet and judge of Israel who anointed its first two kings, claimed this truth in his address at that first king’s coronation: “I have walked before you from my childhood to this day” (1 Sam. 12:2). His integrity before Israel was a reflection of his faithfulness to God from the days his godly mother Hannah had offered him, as a freshly weaned young child, in service to the Lord (1 Sam. 1-2).

Walking before God from childhood days is a need immortalized by Solomon (Eccl. 12:1). Perverse generations (Acts 2:40; Phil. 2:15) seek to steal precious young souls from the loving folds of the Creator’s arms (cf. Matt. 18:1-4; 2 Cor. 4:4). When the devil wins and lives are wasted, eternal regret ensues. Even when penitence takes place in old age, remorse over badly spent youthful energies haunts. 

Parents need to recognize the blessing of children as “a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3) and not dismiss them as accidental, unwanted, burdensome responsibilities. Parenting is full-time employment in a world-shaping occupation. Children desperately need the loving guidance, tender nurture, and appropriate discipline from caring fathers and mothers (Deut. 6:4-9; Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 22:6, 15; 29:15; Eph. 6:4). Children deserve parents who are godly examples and teachers. When parents fill these roles according to God’s instructions, they serve their children well. 

Children serve themselves well by heeding godly instruction (Eph. 6:1-3; cf. Prov. 10:27). Children are a blessing to godly parents when they heed wise advice (Prov. 10:1; 15:20); but, when godly instruction from parents is absent, young people of accountable age still do well to walk before God. They may suffer persecution from blood relatives for it (Luke 12:51-53), but their godliness has far-reaching ramifications. Being a light to the world (Matt. 5:14-16) may not be a life of ease, but it is a life that blesses others and is promised a reward. 

The Father who shows true goodness to children (cf. Matt. 7:7-11) has instructed with pertinent warnings on godliness from childhood, in that aforementioned passage of the Preacher (Eccl. 12:1ff.). Before difficult days come (12:2)—when physical strength and mental faculties fail (12:3-7)—this is the time for service to God. As young people search for the meaning of life in every generation, they do well to heed what was long ago discovered by wise (1 Kings 3) but wandering (1 Kings 11; Eccl. 2) Solomon: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: “Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil” (12:13-14). 

Oh, that precious children would never have to know sin! Reason and revelation teach, though, that as they age to accountability they shall (Rom. 3:23). In that case, may they soon seek redemption and early commit themselves to a faithful walk before the Lord. –327 Suzanne St., Washington, WV 26181. andyrobison@juno.com

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